The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman has been engaged in a number of misadventures in the region. His reckless and fast changing moves related to Saudi foreign policy is largely with an aim of squaring off Iran’s influence in the region. A proxy war is brewing between KSA and Iran to such an extent that it has the potential of destabilizing the entire geographical vicinity including the two nations leading their respective coalitions.
The recent event of the Iran backed Houthi rebels firing ballistic missiles on Saudi capital Riyadh has put the Saudi authorities on the edge of their seats. The retaliation followed with Saudi airstrikes on Yemen killing 16 civilians and injuring many more. The northern Yemen, including its capital Sanaa, is in tatters. The outbreak of cholera with 500,000 being infected by the disease is the biggest epidemic in the world today. Over 8,000 civilians have been killed because of the war, with no infrastructure for social and economic support to its population.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, “KSA bombs Yemen to smithereens, killing 1000s of innocents including babies, spreads cholera and famine, but of course blames Iran. KSA is engaged in wars of aggression, regional bullying, destabilising behaviour & risky provocations. It blames Iran for the consequences.”
In statement countering Iran’s claim, Prince Salman explained British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, “The involvement of Iran in supplying missiles to the Huthis is a direct military aggression by the Iranian regime.”
The cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran continues in Syria as well, where Saudis funded and supplied arms and ammunition to the Syrian rebels, but could not defeat the coalition of Iran and Assad’s forces.
In Qatar, the Saudi coalition imposed economic blockade in retaliation to the former’s increasing ties with Iran. However, the blockade has very little impact on Qatar’s economy, which is the third largest oil producer and the richest in the world.
The meaningless cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran is spilling the beans in Middle East. These kind of destabilizing moves are bound to create greater instability and chaos in an already very chaotic region. Prince Salman’s over aggressive posture is not likely to be taken kindly by its detractors, some of whom have been detained and sacked from their posts last week. The religious community is unhappy with the monarchy as well, as Prince Salman is forcing them to endorse the social reforms he is hurriedly trying to enforce. Over all, the reforms he is trying bring in have been implemented at a rapid pace putting every one into a tizzy. This has the potential for an intra clan conflict and culminating into disintegration of KSA and some of its allies. The process has already started with several royal princes and ministers being kept in the captivity with no sign of redressing. It is threatening situation for not only the Middle East, but also for the entire Muslim world. Some good advices are needed in the Saudi monarchy as an Arab Spring like situation is transpiring in KSA for fault of no one but themselves.