Saudi Arabia vs. Iran and the Role of the USA

Negotiations_about_Iranian_Nuclear_Program_-_Foreign_Ministers_and_other_Officials_of_P5+1_Iran_and_EU_in_LausanneThe  success  of  the  Geneva  talks  between  the  P5+1 and  Iran  is  widely  reported  as  being  opposed  by Israel  and  by  the  Gulf  States,  especially  Saudi  Arabia.  Three  important  princes1have  leveled  much criticism against US policy in the Middle East, especially as regards Syria and Iran. However, it seems that no  open  criticism  has  been  coming  from  the  inner  circle  of  major  decision-makers  in  the  Saudi Kingdom. In fact on November 25, the Saudi government issued a low-key statement of support to the Geneva   agreement.  Undoubtedly,  Saudi  Arabia  feels  threatened  bywhat  it  perceives  as  Iran’s hegemonic tendencies, which from the Saudi point of view include the development of nuclear weapons and the establishment of a Shi’a crescent composed of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. This crescent is perceived  as  threatening by  the  Gulf  monarchies.  For  Saudi  Arabia,  the  Shi’a  crescent  and  the development of nuclear weapons in Iran are the two faces of the same coin: the Iranian threat.

I explore these thoughts more for the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Link here.

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