Tehran-Riyadh crisis not to turn into military confrontation, says expert

Tehran-Riyadh crisis not to turn into military confrontation, says expert

Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 7

By Anakhanum Hidayatova - Trend:

Saudi Arabia is hardly interested in a full-scale war with Iran, and leading Western players won't allow direct clash between Riyadh and Tehran, says Nadana Fridrikhson, political analyst, journalist and expert of the 'Cube' analytical center.

"By aggravating relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia probably tries to draw the attention of the Western countries," she told Trend Jan. 6.

"I think that Saudi Arabia didn't accidentally choose the beginning of 2016, this is an attempt to restore the status quo - Iran would be under sanctions, as Moscow-Tehran-Damascus axis would get defused," she said.

The expert doesn't rule out that the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia is aimed at the results of the presidential election in the United States.

"A presidential race is underway in the US. Many believe that the Republicans will win, and they criticized Obama's decision to remove sanctions from Iran," she added.

"The conflict will be protracted, but the 'red line' won't be crossed," the expert said. "The Saudis will try to discredit Iran in the eyes of international community."

"Despite the harsh statements of Tehran over the Shia cleric's execution, Iran is limited in actions. Removing the sanctions is a higher priority for Iran, but the Saudis are adding fuel to the flame. The termination of the truce in Yemen was announced again, and the Saudi King had met with Turkish president. It is obvious that Riyadh intends seriously to disarm Iran and its allies in the region, making a path to Syria for itself (and its coalition)," said Fridrikhson.

"Saudi Arabia will not back down, because too much is at stake, and Riyadh is concerned that the Syrian crisis will be controlled by Russia and Iran," noted the expert.

"The West may act as a mediator in normalization of relations between the parties, but Saudi Arabia will agree with the West's conditions if it promises to leave Tehran under sanctions," said Fridrikhson.

As for Russia's actions in Syria, Fridrikhson believes that Riyadh has a trump card against Moscow.

"This includes both financial 'hook', and Saudi Arabia's ability to have a destructive impact on Russia's North Caucasus region," she added. "In principle, this was announced by Saudis on the eve of the Sochi Olympics."

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran soured after execution of Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shia cleric, by the Kingdom along with other 46 people, which was followed by a strong protest from Iran.

Mass protests took place in Iran following the execution. In particular, the Saudi embassy in the capital Tehran and the consulate in the city of Mashhad were attacked, after which Riyadh broke off diplomatic ties with Tehran on Jan. 3.

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Follow the author on Twitter: @Anahanum

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