Up in arms over prospect of Iran N-deal

Up in arms over prospect of Iran N-deal

It has never been easy to navigate the labyrinth of the Middle East's ever-changing politics, but it is becoming even more challenging with the growing confusion over shifting alliances.

However, the Saudi-led military action in Yemen and agreement among various Arab nations to form a combined military command have defined the battle lines more clearly.

The moves are aimed at stopping Houthi militants - said to be backed by Iran - and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh from winning control of Yemen, and at reinstating Saudi-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, Reuters reported.

The prospect of a chronic cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran turning hot has thrown geopolitics into a whirl.

Although the conflict has long been building, particularly with their proxies involved in civil wars in Syria and Iraq, it is the looming Iranian nuclear deal that has triggered the panic button.

'THE MOST DANGEROUS ADVERSARY'

The Yemen crisis has provided Saudi Arabia with an opportunity to consolidate an anti-Iran coalition. The decision to form a joint military command is also seen as a way of telling Washington that it cannot be depended upon.

It is surely no coincidence that the Saudi show of military muscle in Yemen has happened so close to an Iranian nuclear deal.

The United States, Iran and five other world powers missed a deadline on Tuesday to reach an agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme, said Reuters.

Saudi Arabia has publicly expressed its displeasure over the prospect of a deal, as have the Gulf countries that have long feared the spectre of Iranian regional hegemony.

The growing Iranian role in Iraq with the tacit backing of the Obama administration seems to have further reinforced a sense of insecurity among these countries.

Speaking to a former top Saudi intelligence official and an important member of the royal family at an international conference last week gave me a clear insight into Saudi concerns over the Iranian nuclear deal and increasing distrust of the Obama administration.

He made little attempt to hide his disdain for US President Barack Obama, describing him as "a naive American president being driven by shrewd Iranian mullahs".

The Saudis also do not mince their words when it comes to Iran, labelling it as "the most dangerous adversary".

In fact, Saudi views on an Iranian nuclear deal do not appear dissimilar to that of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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