Saudi Arabia seeks to ratchet up pressure against Iran

by Antonio Miles November 21, 2017, 0:54
Saudi Arabia seeks to ratchet up pressure against Iran

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil refused to attend an emergency Arab League summit on Sunday which was requested by Saudi Arabia to discuss "confronting" Iran and Hezbollah, a Lebanese Foreign Ministry source told the French news agency.

The Lebanese envoy to the Arab League, Antoine Azzam, made carefully weighed comments at the meeting that reflected his country's delicate religious and ethnic balance. He further said, "Any leniency in dealing with their policies would only encourage them more, so we must stand together", Jubeir said, referring to Iran.

During the meeting Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa was quite vocal against Hezbollah saying it was "in total control" of Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia ramped up its campaign against Iran's growing influence in the Arab World Sunday by persuading most of the 22 member states of the Arab League to condemn Iran's Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, as a "terrorist organization".

"We say it in clear terms that Iranian threats have exceeded all boundaries and are pushing the region toward the abyss".

Mr Hariri said this month in Riyadh that he was resigning as Lebanon's prime minister because of Iran's "grip" on his country and fears of assassination.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sharply criticized Saudi Arabia on Monday, accusing his country's regional rival of fanning the flames of conflict.

Despite being Sunni, Hamas has always been seen as an ally of Iran.

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Saudi Arabia has accused the heavily armed Shia Hezbollah of helping the Houthis in Yemen and militants in Bahrain.

Unsurprisingly, any Saudi-penned proposals are likely to fall on deaf ears in Tehran, with the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accusing Saudi Arabia of "warmongering" and "sowing discord" during a different summit with Turkey and Russian Federation in Antalya.

The Cairo meeting was not attended by Lebanese foreign minister Gerban Basil.

A leader in Hariri's Future Movement had earlier told Reuters Hariri would visit Egypt on Monday.

Iran has been helping Iraq and Syria with military advisors in their fight against Daesh (IS) and other terrorist groups.

While the Cairo meeting produced a display of unity, Saudi Arabia was largely preaching to the choir. U.S. weapons drop to terrorists was also caught in camera in Iraq.

They also demanded Hezbollah stop intervening in regional conflicts and spreading extremism and sectarianism.

According to Marwan Bishara, a senior political analyst has said that Saudi Arabia had convened the Cairo meeting in a bid to "consolidate its position in a divided Arab region". "(Iran's) missile program poses a danger to the region", said Aboul-Gheit.


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