Iran Threatens Use of Force Over Haj Pilgrimage Dispute

A senior Saudi official, responding to Iran’s criticism of Riyadh’s management of the haj pilgrimage, urged Iran to end what he called wrong attitudes toward Arabs and warned it against any use of force in its rivalry with the kingdom.

  • SPA quoted Prince Khaled as telling journalists his message to the Iranian leadership was “I pray to God Almighty to guide them and to deter them from their transgression and their wrong attitudes toward their fellow Muslim among the Arabs in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and around the world”. Continue reading

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Delivers a Warning to Saudi Arabia

BEIRUT/DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was quick to condemn the execution of Saudi cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, stating: “Without a doubt, the hated Saudi regime will pay a price for this shameful act.”

For an organization deeply involved in wars in Syria and Iraq this looks no idle threat, at least in the eyes of Sunni Gulf Arab states like Saudi Arabia who say Shi’ite rival Tehran is bent on undermining their security.

The Guard’s furious comment is not a call for direct conflict with Riyadh, something neither country wants. But it is a reminder to Gulf Arabs that the IRGC, with connections in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the region, has many ways to wage the long cold war between Tehran and its Arab foes.

Tehran denies interfering in Arab lands. But the Quds Force, the arm of the Guards that operates abroad, has contributed fighters, weapons and military supplies to back Iran’s interests and policies across the region. Continue reading

Coming Soon: Gulf War III?

Concerning the contretemps between Saudi Arabia and Iran, a few observations:

• David Goldman thinks Saudi Arabia’s execution of the Shite cleric Nimr al-Nimr and others is a sign of panic among Saudi leadership, and perhaps this is correct. On the other hand, the sacking of the Saudi embassy in Tehran can’t have taken place without the connivance or tacit approval of the Iranian regime (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?), who probably welcomed the provocation of Nimr al-Nimr’s execution.

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