Saudi Arabia has denied claims of seeking any mediation with Iran and termed the reports suggesting the same, as “baseless”. The denial, however, remains overshadowed by Saudis discomfort over regional conflicts, that they tend to shy away from.
The Saudi Press Agency quoted a Saudi official stressing that the“Kingdom adheres to its firm position that rejects any rapprochement with the Iranian regime.”
“Iran is spreading terrorism and extremism in the region and the world, and is interfering in the affairs of other countries,” the official said.
Renewing accusations against Iran of causing regional instability, the Saudi official also called upon the world countries to “deter the Iranian regime from its hostile actions and compel it to comply with the international law, United Nations resolutions, and diplomatic norms and regulations.”
The diplomatic ties between the two countries remain severed since last year after Saudi diplomatic mission was attacked by protesters, following Saudi’s execution of a prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
The countries, however, share a historical hostility and compete for regional domination. Both have engaged in nothing more than bend-the-knee diplomacy and remain in a perennial state of brinkmanship.
War in Yemen
A strong ally of the US, Saudi has also accused Iran of backing Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The Saudis, now want an exit from the war it waged on Yemen since last two years, revealed reports based on leaked emails between the Emirati ambassador to Washington Yousef al-Otaiba and three former key US officials.
The war in Yemen has cost thousands of lives, including those of the civilians and has sparked a deadly cholera outbreak, costing thousands of lives more. After the Saudis waged war against Yemeni Shia fighters, the campaign turned out to be “Vietnam” for the Kingdom, that is now looking for a dignified withdrawal.
Even after two years, many argue that the Saudis never achieved any regional goals that it apparently envisaged. On the other hand, they came under regular rocket fire on the frontiers, which still continue. The Saudi border towards Yemen in the south remains largely vulnerable. It has turned out to be a war that the Saudis are neither able to win nor afford to call off unless they have any strategic manoeuvres.
The Saudi kingdom has said it will reopen its border with Iraq first time in the last 27 years. According to reports, Abdul Aziz al-Shammari, Saudi’s charge d'affaires in Baghdad has said that the move will allow transportation of goods and pave way for future cooperation between the two countries.
The border was closed after former President of Iraq Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait leading to first Gulf War in 1990.
The region has turned increasingly polarized in the aftermath of the war in Syria and by the more recent economic siege laid by several countries, including Saudi and UAE against Qatar since June.
Fresh ties between Iraq and Saudi, however, don’t point-out towards an immediate change of political positioning in the region. Iran wields most of the influence over neighbouring Iraq as compared to Saudi. Iran’s backing of rebels fighting against the Islamic State (IS) and more recently its role in the Mosul liberation campaign, would stand out as a key factor for Iraq to build regional relationships.
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