Iran, Saudi Arabia unlikely to experience physical encounter – expert
Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 20
By Temkin Jafarov, Mehdi Sepahvand -- Trend:
An expert has said that recent exchange of threats between Tehran and Riyadh are not likely to end in a harsh conflict between the two sides.
There have been threats by the officials of the two countries directed at the other regional power. These found special emphasis after the September 24 stampede in Saudi Arabia 's Mecca which killed hundreds of pilgrims, including Iranians.
In the wake of the event, top Iranian authorities directed harsh threats at Saudi Arabia for its lack of cooperation in respecting the rights of the Iranians, returning the bodies to their home country, and withholding information that could be used to discover the reason behind the incident.
"I think it's more of flexing muscles and rattling sabers. These are more of threats than indications of real engagement in war. Even if there is war, it will be very short and I do not think it would turn into a major encounter," international relations and law analyst and university professor Davod Hermidas Bavand told Trend Oct. 20.
"Such standoff however is unprecedented," he observed, adding, "Even in the time of the Iran 's Shah, then US president Richard Nixon's bipolar security policy for the region had Iran as the military side and Saudi Arabia as the economic."
"As for the post-revolution era, there were some differences regarding values. But at the time of former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami relations were friendly, so much so that the Islamic Cooperation Organization summit was held in Tehran whereas it used to be held in Saudi Arabia."
But, Bavand said, after 9/11, differences grew especially over Syria, which then grew larger to cover Iraq and Lebanon as well.
"Then there was the cases of Yemen and Bahrain, which Saudi Arabia sees as its backyard, and then Riyadh claimed Iran had a hand in developments there, which were somehow exaggerated in their implications of physical and extensive interference, but Saudi Arabia usually relates such affairs to a foreign power in order to find legitimacy to crack down on the movements."
Iran and Saudi Arabia have been following opposite policies in the said countries. For example, while Iran backs Syrian President Bashar Assad, Riyadh has been calling for his overthrow. Saudi Arabia also accuses Iran of raising opposition in Bahrain and Yemen. But Tehran has frequently denied the accusations.
The expert added that Saudi Arabia 's schemes in the wake of the Arab Spring were not materialized.
"These included the fact that Saudi Arabia pursued the overthrow of the Syrian government. Also, it failed to see the hardware strategy it expected the US to use coming true, whereas the President Barack Obama administration used soft strategy, i.e. diplomatic actions. Also, the relocation of America 's dominance to the Far East and Southeast Asia and the reduction of America 's dependence on energy were of impact," Bavand noted.
"All of these have created a situation for Saudi Arabia. The developments in Yemen, Syria , and Bahrain have created tension for Riyadh , to which was added the death of Hajj pilgrims."
Edited by CN