As discussions continue on the political and security implications of establishing a no-fly zone in Libya, concerns are also increasing about another Arab country. The Day of Rage is planned in Saudi Arabia on March 11. About 40% of the global oil supplies originate from the Kingdom and any unrest there would gravely impact the world markets.
There is also concern if Iran is playing any role in inciting the uprisings in Middle East. Statements from the US Department of Defense have downplayed any responsibility for Iran, however, the State Department is less clear. Addressing the Senate Budget Committee on March 2, Hillary Clinton stated “They are doing everything they can to influence the outcomes in these places.” Her statement did not include the name of Saudi Arabia but mentioned Yemen, Egypt, Bahrain, and Palestine.
There are two contrasting perceptions originating from the Middle East regarding Saudi-Iran relations. One of these indicates Iran and Saudi Arabia have recently moved closer, while the other version depicts the ties have worsened.
During the Egyptian crisis, King Abdullah spoke against the removal of Hosni Mubarak and he reportedly had a heated discussion with President Obama, for demanding Mubarak’s resignation. Around the same time, two Iranian ships docked at Jeddah on their way to Syria via Suez Canal. This development set-off alarm bells in many countries.
More recently, statements from Iranian parliamentarian Mohammed Dehgan who is close to President Ahmadinejad, have been widely interpreted as a warning and interference in Saudi Arabia’s internal matters. In one of his statements Dehgan said “Saudi Arabia should account for the suppressions of the Shiite and Sunni people in the country for numerous years.” He further demanded that Saudi’s not launch a preventive security crackdown against about 2 million Shia population in eastern Saudi Arabia, prior to March 11.
PoliTact would be monitoring these events in Middle East closely.