Saudi Arabia vs Iran: Is this conflict heading into a war?

Recently, Qatar’s foreign ministry expressed displeasure at the attack on the Saudi Arabia embassy in Iran and recalled its ambassador to Iran. By so doing, Qatar has shown that its loyalty lies with Saudi Arabia, even though they were not always on friendly terms.

What led to the Saudi Arabia – Iran conflict?

Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a Muslim and an Ayatollah of the Shia sect, was executed by the Saudi Arabian government. Nimr often criticized the Saudi Arabia government and was a strong advocate for the rights of the people in the Shia community. Prior to his death, he had been pronounced guilty of “seeking foreign meddling in country, disobeying its leaders and taking up arms against the security forces.” He was finally executed after 2 years of imprisonment and several trials.

The execution, which was been internationally condemned, was also protested in Iran, home to a large population of Shia Muslims. In the course of the protests by the Iranians, the Saudi Arabian embassy in the country was set ablaze.

Saudi Arabia Coalition

A group of Sunni Muslim countries have pledged their support and allegiance to the Arabic kingdom, Bahrain, Sudan, Djibouti, Turkey and Jordan by severing ties with Iran. The United Arab Emirates has downplayed its associations with the country as well.

Will there be a war?

Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, the Defense Minister and the son of King of Saudi Arabia, was recently questioned on the possibility of a war between the two countries.  He said “We hope not. Because a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran is the beginning of a major catastrophe in the region. For sure we will not allow any such thing.”

Also, at a meeting with Iranian foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, Iraq’s foreign minister, Ibrahim Jaafari offered to mediate in the row. Jaafari believes that if tensions were allowed to escalate, the entire region could be affected.

Hopefully, with the involvement of other peacemakers and the United Nations, the pending conflict will not degenerate into a full scale war.

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