Posted by Curt on 7 May, 2015 at 4:39 pm. 1 comment.


Noah Rothman:

The Saudis have not been coy about their intention to address the threat posed by a revisionist and potentially nuclearizing Iran.

While the West and the Obama administration, in particular, have been pursuing a deal with Iran that critics say ensures that the Islamic Republic will eventually develop an atomic weapon, Iran has been expanding its influence across the region. In Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen, pro-Iranian proxies command the levers of power.

In response to this shift in the regional balance of power, Saudi Arabia and its predominantly Sunni Arab allies are pushing back militarily. In Yemen, a Saudi-led Arab military coalition is executing airstrikes against the Iranian funded and trained Houthi militia. On Thursday, reports indicated that the Saudis agreed to a deal with NATO-allied Turkey to support the rebels fighting against the Bashar al-Assad government, another Iran-backed proxy. And the rebel groups these two regional powers are supporting are anything but pro-Western secularists.

“The coordination between Turkey and Saudi Arabia reflects renewed urgency and impatience with the Obama administration’s policy in the region,” read a report in Today’s Zaman. “Saudi Arabia previously kept its distance and funding from some anti-Assad Islamist groups at Washington’s urging, according to Turkish officials. Saudi Arabia and Turkey also differed about the role of the international Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, in the Syrian opposition. Turkey supports the group, while the Saudi monarchy considers it a threat to its rule at home; that has translated into differences on the ground – until recently.”

Both the Saudis and the Turks have been signaling their intention to secure their own nuclear futures as it becomes increasingly clear that the deal pursued by the P5+1 with Iran will only facilitate the eventual development of a bomb. On Thursday, Riyadh made its intention to participate in a nuclear arms race in the Arab world clear.

“While Saudi Arabia has long advocated a nuclear-free Middle East, its leaders are doubtful that the completed accord on limiting Tehran’s nuclear program will stop Iran from becoming a threshold nuclear-weapons power when proposed restrictions on is number of centrifuges and uranium stockpiles expire in 10 years,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. “They also aren’t willing to bet that the regime in Tehran will somehow become more moderate and responsible by then, a hope entertained by many in the West.”

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