The Economist: The Saudis May Be Stretching Out Hand of Peace to Old Foes

The protracted hostility between Saudi Arabia and Iran’s Arab allies may be cooling. The Economist observes that historically “the [Saudi] kingdom has been [on the] front of Sunni Islam’s anti-Shia dogma.” Following his ascension to the throne in 2015, “King Salman bin Abdelaziz and his young son and defence minister, Muhammad, set their sights on rolling back Iran’s influence from the region by force.” This rollback strategy included a war against an insurgent Houthi force backed by Iran in northern Yemen, the severing of diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and the execution of prominent Saudi Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr. Crown Prince Muhammad may have shifted his approach on the Sunni-Shia divide by wooing Iran’s “various satellites”: renewing ties with Iraq by way of a consulate in Najar, “the spiritual capital of Shia Islam in southern Iraq,” and allowing “direct flights for thousands of Saudi Shias to visit its Imam Ali shrine.” Still, while Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir affirms that “sectarianism has to wane,” he characterizes the prospects for rapprochement between Iran and the Saudi kingdom as “laughable.” –YaleGlobal

The Economist: The Saudis May Be Stretching Out Hand of Peace to Old Foes

While the Saudi kingdom changes its approach with regard to the Sunni-Shia divide, employing more soft power, rapprochement with Iran remains unlikely
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Copyright The Economist Newspaper Limited 2017

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