Is Riyadh trying to resurrect oil prices by provoking wars?
On Saturday, Gulf Cooperation Council states met in extraordinary Riyadh session, discussing Saudi/Iranian relations.
Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE support the kingdom’s anti-Iranian agenda. Oman alone urges resolving differences diplomatically, maintaining its longstanding tradition of cooperation with Tehran, saying it poses no threat to other regional states.
Following the session, Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said “(w)e are looking at additional measures to be taken if (Tehran) continues with its current policies” – without further elaboration.
He irresponsibly blamed Tehran for Saudi regional destabilization efforts, adding moves Riyadh intends making “will be clearer in the near future.”
Riyadh cut diplomatic and commercial ties with Iran. Other GCC states largely followed suit, Oman the lone exception.
Jubeir got other Gulf states to condemn what he called Iranian interference in Saudi and regional affairs. He urged the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to convene an extraordinary session to discuss Iranian “aggression” against its embassy.
Will its provocative actions escalate regional war? Is Washington complicit with its anti-Iranian agenda?
Saudi defense minister Muhammad bin Salman said he foresees no war with Iran. “Whoever is pushing towards that is somebody who is not in their right mind.”
“Because a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran is the beginning of a major catastrophe in the region, and it will reflect very strongly on the rest of the world. For sure we will not allow any such thing.”
At the same time, he recklessly accused Tehran of “escalating” things to “very high levels.” He downplayed the notion of Iran being Riyadh’s biggest enemy.
Russia and China urged both sides to show restraint and resolve differences diplomatically. Tass reported Moscow’s willingness to “extend mediator services to restore mutual understanding on all issues.”
China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming with visit Riyadh and Tehran, aiming to reduce tensions between both nations. Its Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying urged “mov(ing) in the direction of amelioration.”
“We hope that all parties can remain calm and exercise restraint and appropriately resolve relevant issues via dialogue and consultation,” she added.
Not easily any time soon for sure with Riyadh escalating regional tensions recklessly. Tehran responded by cutting diplomatic and commercial ties.
A government statement said “(t)he cabinet has banned the entry of all Saudi products. Last year, Tehran suspended Hajj pilgrimages “until further notice” after Saudi airport guards sexually assaulted two Iranian men.
Air travel between both nations is in limbo. Riyadh now prohibits its citizens from traveling to Iran. Around 600,000 Iranians attend Hajj pilgrimages annually.
The kingdom earns billions of dollars annually from religious tourism – lower revenues ahead with Iranians not coming, not while tensions flare between both countries, risking belligerent confrontation.