Saudi action "resets geopolitical chessboard" in Middle East

Saudi action "resets geopolitical chessboard" in Middle East

Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 4

By Anakhanum Khidayatova - Trend:

Saudi Arabia and Iran have been engaged in a Cold War via proxy, in its most recent manifestation, since the Arab Spring, in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and in other countries around the world through humanitarian aid and dawa (outreach), Theodore Karasik, the Middle East analyst and senior advisor to Risk Insurance Management in Dubai, told Trend Jan. 4.

He said that the mentioned Cold War entered a dangerous, highly confrontational phase in the past few days.

"The Kingdom, in mid December, prepared the steps for today, with Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announcing a Sunni Muslim Alliance," Karasik said. "With the Saudi execution of the "terrorist extremist" Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who was the spiritual leader of Saudi Shiites in the Kingdom's Eastern Province, the sectarian divide grew immediate into a deep chasm," he said.

The expert also said that Saudi Arabia's Sunni Muslim Alliance is now fully activated with the al-Nimr execution.

"The Kingdom is throwing down the gauntlet on Iran's behavior and Riyadh seeks to expose the Islamic Republic's perfidy in the Arab lands. More importantly, Saudi Arabia, as Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is now seeing who will rush to Riyadh's side under the mantra of Sunni Islam," Karasik said.

"Immediately, the GCC states (Gulf Cooperation Council) - except Oman - came to the Kingdom's side, as did Sudan and several other countries. The coming days, and perhaps weeks, will see whether all 30 plus members of the Sunni Military Alliance will declare a so-called bayat (Islamic word for allegiance) to the Saudi Kingdom as the face off continues with Iran," he said.

The expert also said that Saudi Arabia is angry with Iran; so angry that Riyadh seeks to not only tear down the Islamic Republic's ability to re-emerge on the global economic arena with the lifting of sanctions, but also wants to guarantee that the February 2016 parliamentary elections swing 100 percent to the principalists and the IRGC.

"From Riyadh's thinking, Iran's true colors need to be shown to the world. This aggressive Saudi policy is likely to affect the region for some time to come," Karasik said.

"Thus, in the Middle East, the Saudi action, in one stunning move, reset the geopolitical chessboard on a host of negotiations, especially the future of Syria, as well as set the possibility for higher oil prices if the Cold War becomes a Hot War. A Hot War, whether asymmetric or through enhanced proxy actions up to and including bombing campaigns or targeted assassinations, will boost the price of oil in order to help Saudi Arabia's partners earn necessary income into their state coffers," he said.

However, Karasik says there is a "serious loss".

"Gone is any hope for coordination on fighting the Islamic State not only in the Levant but in other arenas. Iran is a necessary part of that fight but for Gulf Arabs, Tehran is seen as a bigger threat. That fact may be a strategic and tactical error that will give Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) a free pass until the group is dealt with in an accurate kinetic and counter-narrative approach," he said.

"Russia and Iran were on the right path while Saudi Arabia and others were supporting extremists and terrorists who bastardized their own Wahhabist creed. Thus, Saudi's aggressive stance against Iran masks the radical disturbances within the Sunni ummah itself," Karasik said.

Expert also said that its clear that Russia may benefit the most from the sectarian eruption.

The Kremlin is already offering to negotiate between the two sides, which is a good approach by Moscow, Karasik believes.

"But there is a bigger question here: the future of the Saudi Kingdom. Unlike Iran, whose cohesion is, for the most part guaranteed, the Al-Saud's Arabia is under great political and economic stress up to including internal dissent at various levels of Saudi society in various corners of the country (the south, the Hijaz, the Nejd, and the Eastern Province) up to intra-princely disputes that may now break into the open," said Karasik. "Russia sees that Saudi Arabia is in trouble, and President Putin is known to have threaten the Kingdom during various high-level meetings with Saudi rulers."

"Overall, patience will be a key here for Moscow, and given the Kremlin propensity to side more with Shiites because of their patient virtues, a Saudi over-extension of its Sunni alliance may backfire in a black hole that forces the Al-Saud from power and sees the Kingdom evaporate," he said.

Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric led to violent protests at the Saudi embassy in Tehran, which led to a breakdown of relations between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia previously cut air traffic with Iran, and said that it intends to cut all commercial ties as well.

4.3-magnitude quake jolts Azerbaijan
4.3-magnitude quake jolts Azerbaijan
Detention of Mubariz Mansimov can’t serve SOCAR's commercial interests (UPDATE)
Detention of Mubariz Mansimov can’t serve SOCAR's commercial interests (UPDATE)
Azerbaijan's Parliamentary Committee: Due to changes in oil prices, state taking necessary measures (UPDATE)
Azerbaijan's Parliamentary Committee: Due to changes in oil prices, state taking necessary measures (UPDATE)
Loading Bars
Latest
Trump calls for delay in Group of 7 meeting, seeks expansion
Los Angeles declares curfew after four days of protests
Trump calls Floyd death 'grave tragedy,' decries violent protests in Florida speech
National Guard troops sent to Atlanta; city invokes curfew
Crew Dragon in orbit after historic launch
Federal officer killed guarding courthouse near protest
COVID-19 cases in Israel surpass 17,000
WHO reports single-day increase in coronavirus cases by over 116,000
Moscow registers 69 coronavirus-related deaths in past 24 hours
Coronavirus cases surpass 6 mln globally
Spain's daily coronavirus death toll drops to a handful
Two gunmen killed in counterterrorism operation in Ingushetia
Azerbaijan increases import of cars from Turkey
Turkey's daily coronavirus cases remain below 1,000 with 26 new deaths
Italy records 111 new coronavirus deaths, 416 new cases
Azerbaijan discloses number of coronavirus tests
EU urges U.S. to reconsider decision to cut ties with WHO
Britain at a very dangerous moment in the pandemic, health official says
COVID-19 deaths in Netherlands rise by 20
Magnitude-5.4 earthquake rattles southern Philippines
Iranian minister announces number of renewable energy power plants under construction
Azerbaijan Micro-finance Association supports female entrepreneurs affected by COVID-19
2,355 new COVID-19 infections detected in Qatar, total 55,262
Iran's Aghajari Oil & Gas Production Company introduces LBV technology
Azerbaijan confirms 257 new COVID-19 cases
Iran eyes to review gas export contracts
Turkmenistan decreases import of ready-made clothing from Turkey
Iran's stock market grows with inflation
Turkey's export of steel to Uzbekistan down by over half
Iran gov't to transfer shares of 20 companies to Social Security Organization
Data on cargo transshipment through Turkish port of Aliaga disclosed
Kazakhstan reduces import of cars from Turkey
Kazakhstan's import of Turkish defense products heavily down
Japan supports sustainable development of Uzbekistan
Russia’s Asian-Pacific Bank to supply its silver bullion to Kazakhstan
Volume of wheat purchased in Iran's Fars province increases
Cargo deliveries from Georgia to Turkey climb
Kazakhstan's oil extracting company opens tender for equipment overhaul
Revenue of Kazakhstan’s largest oil pipeline company plummets in 1Q2020
Turkish ministry discloses number of oil exploration wells drilled in 2019
Uzbek-Korean JV opens tender for procurement of MTR for pumps
Georgia reports 11 new coronavirus cases
Plane of Kazakhstan's private airline bursts into fire
Kazakhstan's KazTransOil to allocate entire income to pay dividends
Iranian Offshore Oil Company repairs floating processing terminal
Iran's export transportation fees tripled
Iran to sell domestically produced cars via profit-sharing scheme, lottery
Yandex registers as taxpayer in Uzbekistan
Largest in CIS solar plant commissioned in Kazakhstan's Akmola
Georgia ranks third in gas prices
Iran investing heavily in expanding national internet network
Kazakhstan adopts law on imported goods traceability mechanism
Kazakhstan’s uranium fields exploring venture to buy filters via tender
Iran cuts import of electrical goods from Turkey
Azerbaijan Mikro-Kredit NBCO's assets marginally up
Iran spends less foreign currency on car manufacturing
Iran discloses COVID-19 statistics for May 30
Azerbaijan's NBCO faces heavy drop in profit in 2019
Governor of Central Bank of Iran promises to gradually get rid of chronic inflation
Azerbaijan may introduce COVID-19 passport after resuming flights
Rouhani: It is not possible to return to pre-coronavirus conditions soon
Value of foreign trade via customs of Iran's Mazandaran Province increases
Leading Azerbaijani bank reduces payment card fees during COVID-19 pandemic
Azerbaijani oil grows in price
Azerbaijan's Azeltech eyes testing new drones
USAID interested in expanding co-op with Uzbekistan
Cargo transportation from Turkmenistan to Turkey slips
FINСA Azerbaijan NBCO's total assets triple
Turkish ministry bans engineering company from participating in ETI MADEN I.G.M.'s tenders
Iran's Esfahan Oil Refining Company announces savings due to import substitution
First Free Economic Zone of Uzbekistan talks its achievements
Georgian National Bank reveals official exchange rate of lari in April
Iran's Khodro cancels prepayment for its lottery sales
Sales value of National Iranian Copper Industry Company increases
Volume of cargo transshipment from Germany via Turkish ports revealed
Uzbekistan reports rise in coronavirus cases
Share of population under absolute poverty line slightly decreases in Georgia
Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 29 times
Iran Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale May 30
Georgia's import of electrical goods from Turkey shrinks
Uzbekistan to construct BMX track
Turkey announces volume of cargo transshipped via its ports from Italy
Iranian airlines to receive coronavirus-related relief loan in June
Cargo transshipment volumes from Belgium via Turkish ports disclosed
Iranian currency rates for May 30
Armenian architect admits: Previously, Armenians didn't live in Yerevan (VIDEO)
Uzbek holding to assemble agricultural machinery in Kazakhstan
Gazprom says price of natural gas for Georgia to remain unchanged
FAO designs projects aimed at overcoming COVID-19 consequences in Azerbaijan
Minneapolis imposes mandatory curfew amid unrest
S. Africa reports record daily increase in COVID-19 cases
China reports four new coronavirus cases for May 29
Hundreds in New York protest over George Floyd's death
Brazilian Economy Ministry predicts greater GDP decline in second quarter
5.2-magnitude quake hits Whitianga of New Zealand
Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe up by over 107,000 in past day
Trump says terminating U.S. relationship with World Health Organization over virus
Brazil sets new record for daily COVID-19 infections
Singapore reports 611 COVID-19 cases
Turkey reports 1,182 COVID-19 cases over past 24 hours
All news