Saudi Arabia prepares for Iran nuclear deal

Saudi Arabia is quietly preparing for an international nuclear agreement with Iran that it fears will rehabilitate its Shiite Persian rival. King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz al Saud’s approach eschews the public spectacle of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress (indeed, the Saudis don’t want any association with Israel) and instead focuses on regional alliances to contain an emergent Iran.

The Saudis publicly welcomed Secretary of State John Kerry’s assurances in Riyadh last week that Washington will not accept a bad nuclear deal with Iran and that a deal will not inaugurate a grand rapprochement between Washington and Tehran. They remain deeply skeptical about the negotiations, however, and are preparing for any outcome in the P5+1 process. Continue reading

Pentagon strengthens naval forces in Gulf

The US Navy has deployed three additional coastal patrol ships to its Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain, bolstering America’s presence in the strategic Gulf, officials said Wednesday.

The USS Tempest, the USS Squall and the USS Thunderbolt arrived Wednesday at the port of Manama, bringing the total number of patrol craft to eight, the Navy said. Continue reading