Saudi Arabia is currently hosting two emergency summits in the holy city of Mecca. Arab and Gulf nation leaders are joining the Saudi king to discuss regional issues.
Saudi King Salman has called on his fellow leaders in the Gulf and Arab worlds to unite in condemnation of the Iranian regime’s belligerent behaviour. He emphasised that the malign acts that the regime instigates are a threat, not just to oil supplies and other practical matters, but especially to global security.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) regularly convenes and Iran is often one of the main concerns that is discussed. Many of the leaders have raised major concerns about Iran, especially over the past few years, and they have discussed measures that aim to counterbalance Iranian influence in the Middle East and beyond.
A few weeks ago, a Saudi oil pumping station was sabotaged and there were attacks on a number of oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Iran has denied being behind these attacks, as well as the one in the Baghdad Green Zone in Iraq, very close to the U.S. embassy. King Salman said that “serious efforts” need to be taken to “protect the security and the gains” of the energy-rich Arab countries.
King Salman said that the international community should work together to confront Iran. Saudi Arabia is taking the lead in the aftermath of increased tensions in the region between Iran and the United States.
The Saudi king also reiterated that the kingdom does not want to go to war and that the preference for a peaceful solution prevails.
Saudi Arabia has been a main rival to Iran and tensions have spiked between the two nations on a number of occasions in the past few years. They have been on opposing sides to the most recent conflicts in the Middle East and Iran has accused Saudi Arabia of being the United States’ regional “agent”.
Under the Trump administration, Saudi Arabia has been very supportive of the U.S. sanctions and maximum pressure campaign. However, this has not always been the case, especially when much more lenient U.S. administrations appeased the Iranian regime. A decade ago, Saudi Prince Faisal warned that the Iranian regime is very dangerous and poses a threat that require firm action and more than just sanctions.
Yesterday, Ibrahim al-Assaf, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, also urged leaders and officials to ensure that Iran’s actions are met with “all means of force and firmness” and said that they all have a responsibility to “make more efforts” in ensuring that “the terrorist acts of extremist and terrorist groups” are countered.
The Iranian regime is under immense pressure from the United States and because of the oil sanctions it is unable to fund its proxy groups and militias that are scattered across the whole region. Just its inability to finance the Lebanese Hezbollah to the same levels as it has in the past has impeded the Iranian regime. The precise aim of the United States.
Putting on a joint front around the world will further impede the Iranian regime’s quest to expand further throughout the region.