06 October, 2019
By SJA Jafri
RIYADH/ TEHRAN/ ISLAMABAD/ MELBOURNE: The US President Donald Trump has not only surprisingly refused the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA) Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS) for any military action against Iran but also advised to seek its own solution to the conflict while after this shocking refusal MBS once again requested Pakistani and Iraqi leadership for mediation and in this current scenario, both the KSA and Iran’s leadership have not only agreed to come on table but Pakistan has also arranged a meeting between both countries’ leadership in this connection, sources claimed.
According to a report flashed by a US media outlet, the Saudi Arabia and Iran have taken steps towards indirect talks to defuse tensions in the Middle East, with Riyadh asking Iraq and Pakistan to speak with the Iranian leadership about de-escalation.
The Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince MBS asked the leaders of Iraq and Pakistan to intervene in the wake of the attacks on two Saudi oil facilities on September 14.
The United States and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for the attacks, which knocked out five percent of the global crude supply, despite Yemen’s Houthi rebels claiming responsibility for them but the Times reported that US President Donald Trump’s refusal to order a military response “raised questions for the Saudis about the American commitment to Saudi security, which has underpinned the strategic layout of the Persian Gulf for decades”.
The US’s lack of action “prompted Saudi Arabia to seek its own solution to the conflict,” it added.
The Saudi government told to the said US media that Baghdad and Islamabad had offered to mediate talks, but denied the move was at MBS’ request.
Tehran has meanwhile said it is open to hold talks with Riyadh.
“Iran is open to starting a dialogue with Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region,” Ali Larijani, the speaker of Iran’s parliament has said that “an Iranian-Saudi dialogue could solve many of the region’s security and political problems.”
Sources, citing unnamed Iraqi and Pakistani officials, said MBS asked Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan to mediate during a meeting in Jeddah last month. Khan’s two-day visit ran from September 19 to 20.
Afterwards, Khan spoke to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
When Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi visited Jeddah on September 25, MBS made the same request, according to a senior Iraqi official who spoke to the Times on the condition of anonymity.
The official said Iraq had suggested its capital, Baghdad, as the venue for a potential meeting between Saudi and Iranian leaders.
Saudi Arabia and Iran have taken opposing sides on various conflicts in the Middle East, including the wars in Yemen and Syria. Riyadh has also backed Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, in which the US leader imposed punishing sanctions against Tehran after Washington abandoned a landmark deal that curbed Tehran’s nuclear program.