But the council made no mention of the event that set off the crisis – Saudi Arabia’s execution on Saturday of Nimr, a cleric and activist whose death sparked widespread protests among Shiites.
This action was “by far the most assertive foreign policy move in the kingdom’s recent history”, Mr. Riedel said in an essay written for the Brookings Institution in September.
As a result, experts warn, Washington has suffered a loss of influence at a time when it needs to implement the nuclear accord and work with both Tehran and Riyadh to end the Syrian war.
Though the Saudis have thus far had their way, this unbending stance has been financially painful for the 13 OPEC nations, including Algeria, Venezuela and Nigeria, which draw most of their revenues from black gold.
Tehran denies interfering in Arab lands.
What does it portend, then, that these key allies in a strategically critical region have rejected Obama’s attempts to engage Iran?
MP Abdullah Maayouf said recalling the Kuwaiti ambassador is not enough and the Kuwaiti government should take a tougher stance like that of Bahrain which cut off relations with Iran.
“If our partners Saudi Arabia and Iran show they are ready and willing (to meet), our initiative will remain on the table”, the source said. Even if we are not directly involved, we’ll certainly look like we’re participating.
“The Guard will not respond directly”, said Hilal Khashan, a professor of political science at the American University of Beirut.
“Both sides are loath to see tensions spiral out of control”.
Although Riyadh has no intention to escalate, Alani argued that the crisis will “harden the Saudis’ attitude in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen“.
The IRGC has also established intelligence networks among the Shi’ite populations in the Gulf states. And while Nimr may have been close to Iran politically – and one of the most vocal critics of the Saudi government – his identification with the poor and disaffected among the Shia brought him considerable popular acclaim in the Shia heartland of eastern Saudi Arabia.
Bahrain, a tiny island off the coast of Saudi Arabia, is predominantly Shiite, but ruled by Sunnis. Jarallah asserted Kuwait’s supportive stance with Saudi Arabia in all measures taken in this regard to safeguard its security and stability.
Iranian officials of all stripes condemned the attacks, and over 40 people have been arrested in connection with them.
“What’s happening at the moment between Iran and Saudi Arabia makes searching for a compromise even more hard”, said Francis Perrin, president of Strategy and Energy Policy publications. You could say that Saudi Arabia has become the George W. Bush of the Middle East.
It is unlikely the Guards would do much to hit Saudi interests in Syria or Iraq.
Defending the rage of the Iranian public, he said, “It is only natural that a crime against Islamic and human rights will be met with reaction from public opinion”.
According to a Western diplomat, Iran is “not going to enter a war with Saudi Arabia“. “There’s always the risk of that kind of escalation”.
The Government has said it “regrets” Saudi Arabia’s mass execution of 47 people, including a dissident Shia cleric and a man convicted of the murder of Irish journalist Simon Cumbers.
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