Adopt a Country: Saudi Arabia - Research Paper Example

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While reading about the recent emergence of ISIS and subsequent regional responses on the internet, it seems that the threat posed by the group has resulted in dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran. However, The Guardian (p.1) cautions that in spite of the possibility of a thaw…
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Saudi-Iran Relations While reading about the recent emergence of ISIS and subsequent regional responses on the internet, it seems that the threat posed by the group has resulted in dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran. However, The Guardian (p.1) cautions that in spite of the possibility of a thaw in relations and diplomatic progress, ongoing proxy wars in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq look like they will continue to define the relationship between the Saudi Arabia and Iran. This relationship continues to be constrained by differences in ideology, questions about the right to nuclear armament, and proxy conflicts. With the rise of the IS in Syria and Iraq, it seems that there is a new platform for the two countries to initiate bilateral dialogue, particularly with regards to regional security. While diplomatic cooperation over the threat posed by IS does provides a chance for improved relations between the two countries, their ideological differences are still a serious barrier to any meaningful rapprochement (The Guardian 1).
Adler (p.1) notes that the moderate approach taken by current Iranian president Rouhani has re-opened potential for improved diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, especially in comparison with his predecessor the hard-line President Mahmood Ahmedinejad. The current ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Hossein Sadegh, who officially took up residence in Riyadh in September, has a history of good rapport with the leadership in Saudi Arabia. In addition, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister also met the Deputy FM of Iran in the United States to discuss IS and the threat it poses to the Middle East. However, in spite of these talks, Shi’a-Sunni proxy wars continued over the last month, for example, with Iran sending in more Revolutionary Guards to Syria in support of President Assad, while Saudi Arabia made a pledge of additional funding for the Free Syrian Army. In addition, Saudi Arabia made a grant to the Lebanese Army of $3billion to buy military supplies from France, which has widely been interpreted as an attempt to counter the dominance of Hezbollah that is backed by Iran (Adler 1).
From Reardon’s (p.1) perspective, as far as Saudi Arabia is concerned, the regional hegemony objective pursued by Iran is a threat to the Persian Gulf’s geo-political order. The progress made by the talks between the two countries and positive statements made by their leaders in the last month are also in danger of being overshadowed by the siege laid on Sana’a in Yemen by Iranian-backed Houthi Shi’a militia. Despite signing a cease-fire agreement under the auspices of Saudi Arabia and the GCC, the Houthi have continued to attack government installations in Yemen with the backing of Iran, recently pushing into the center of the capital. For Saudi Arabia, the emboldened Iranian-backed rebels pose critical strategic threats for the security of their Southern border. If the Houthi, the Sunni Islamist Party, and Al-Qaeda descend into further sectarian violence and conflict, destabilization of the Arabian Peninsula threatens to result in irreversible hostilities between Saudi Arabia and Iran (Reardon 1).
Reading an artcile by Saab (p.1), it is evident that another threat to improved relations between the two countries is the outcome of the recent Lebanese national elections. The elections pit the March 14 Alliance and the March 8 Alliance backed by Saudi Arabia and Iran respectively. While a positive outcome for these elections could improve chances of rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the involvement of Hezbollah and the Islamic Group in Lebanon leaves such an outcome in further doubt. The website has argued that Iran will most likely not concede its proxy efforts with Saudi Arabia, especially with the Iranian Right Wing politicians already showing discomfort with the moderate and integrated approach taken by President Rouhani. How they respond to ISIS and the Yemeni situation will undoubtedly define how the two countries will relate diplomatically in the future.
Works Cited
Adler, Stephen. Irans Rouhani says ties with Saudis deserve to be warmer. 23 September 2014. Web. 7 October 2014 . Islamic State Alone Won’t Bring Iran, Saudi Arabia Together. 27 September 2014. Web. 7 October 2014 .
Reardon, Martin. Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Great Game in Yemen. 30 September 2014. Web. 7 October 2014 .
Saab, Antoine Ghattas. Iran-Saudi tension freezes presidential deliberations. 17 September 2014. Web. 7 October 2014 .
The Guardian. Iranian talks with Saudi Arabia may signal thaw in relations. 22 September 2014. Web. 7 October 2014 . Read More
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