Saudi Arabia has called for urgent meetings of the regional Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League to discuss growing tensions in the Middle East.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on May 18 King Salman had invited Gulf leaders and Arab states to emergency summits in Mecca on May 25 and May 30. The declared goal is to discuss recent “aggressions and their consequences” in the region.
“Out of Keenness of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to consult and coordinate with the leaders of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states as well as the leaders of Arab League countries, in all matters that would enhance the security and stability in the region and due to attacking commercial maritime ships, in the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates, in addition to the Iran-backed terrorist Houthi Militias attacks on two pumping stations, within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and due to the grave consequences of such attacks on the regional and international peace as well as security, in addition to the supply routes and the stability of the world oil markets, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has invited the leaders of the GCC member states and the leaders of the Arab countries to hold two extraordinary summits, in Makkah, on Thursday 25th of Ramadan 1440 H, corresponding to May 30, 2019, to discuss these aggressions and their consequences, on the region, an official source, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced here tonight,” the SPA reported.
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince discussed regional situation in a phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Saudi Media Ministry tweeted on May 19. According to experts, the US “directed” its regional “ally” ahead of the summits regarding the situation in the region.
Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of the State for Foreign Affairs and Member of the Cabinet came with a statement describing the Saudi stance on the developing crisis in the region, the SPA reported on May 19.
He said that Riyadh “does not want a war, is not looking for it and will do everything to prevent it”. He continued by saying that “if the other side chooses war, the Kingdom will respond firmly and decisively and will defend itself and its interests.”
As Saudi officials always do, the foreign minister blamed Iran for the escalation and welcomed the US actions in the region.
“Al-Jubeir explained that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hopes that wisdom will prevail and that the Iranian regime and its proxies will distance themselves from reckless behaviors, and will avert danger in the region, and that the Iranian regime will not lead the region to dangerous consequences.
Al-Jubeir said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia calls upon the international community to take a firm stance against this regime in order to stop and prevent it from spreading destruction and chaos throughout the world.
This came during a press conference held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riyadh today, where Al-Jubeir said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is following with great concern the latest developments at the regional and international arenas, which are escalating because of the actions of the Iranian regime and its hostile proxies in the region.
With regard to the Saudi and GCC stance on deployment of US troops in the Gulf, the Minister of the State for Foreign Affairs said that the GCC states have agreements with the United States, which is an ally and friendly state, stressing the importance of maintaining the security and stability of this very important and sensitive region, which is the main source of oil, to the international economy,” the SPA reported.
Tensions have soared in the Middle East with the US deploying an aircraft carrier and strategic bombers to deter Iran and speculations that Teheran may have been involved in a sabotage attack on four ships including two Saudi oil tankers off the UAE’s Fujairah. Meanwhile, Yemen’s Houthis carried out a successful attack on a major Saudi oil pipeline, which provided an alternative export route if the Strait of Hormuz closed.
It’s interesting to note that the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said the his country is not pursuing war.
“The difference between us and them is that they are afraid of war and don’t have the will for it,” Major General Hossein Salami said.
Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE understand that a hot war in the region would lead to a large-scale crisis. In the case of Saudi Arabia, this crissi may even lead to the destruction of the country’s statehood. Therefore, both the UAE and Saudi Arabia prefer to focus their efforts on political and media pressure on Iran.
While it seems that the Middle East is on the brink of the new hot war, it seems unlikely that such a development may occur in the coming days. One carrier strike group and a strategic bomber task force are not enough to defeat Iran avoiding a deveastating response from its forces. Therefore, if Washington is set to wage a war, it would likely need up to a month to concentrate the needed forces.
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