US Secretary of the State John Kerry was in Saudi Arabia on Thursday to brief the Gulf Arab Foreign Ministers on the nuclear talks with Iran and to ease their apprehensions over the deal.
Even as a framework nuclear agreement is expected to be formed by the end of March, Kerry faces a number of challenges in the process. The P5+1 powers are trying to reach an agreement in order to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb and Kerry has been attempting to persuade the Arab nations that deal with Tehran was the only best option to monitor and limit its nuclear program. Given the already existing political turmoil in countries like Yemen, Syria, Iraq and the threats posed by the rapidly advancing IS insurgents, the latest US move is seen by many as start of another political drama to trick Iran into American whims. The Arab countries are watching every step of the US with much skepticism and the nuclear deal talks have already compounded their anxiety. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal during the meeting has expressed concerns over the prospects of Iran’s growing influence in the region once the economic sanctions are lifted as part of the nuclear deal.
The Revolutionary Guard forces deployed by Iran led by the commander of the Quds Forces and the region’s most powerful military figures, General Qasim Sulaimani, had helped to win back control of most of Tikrit. But the news caused more anxiety than relief to the Gulf nations. The Saudi Foreign Minister has hinted at the country going into the hands of Iran which is already being held responsible for the internal and political conflicts in countries like Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. The Minister even hinted about the support of the Western powers the country has. While Israel, an important ally of the US, is at odds with the Obama administration for going ahead with the nuclear deal, the evasive stand of the US is what is baffling the GCC countries.
Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf countries have extended strong support for the Syrian rebels who are trying to topple the Iranian-linked government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The people took to the streets to demonstrate against Assad’s rule three years ago with the backing of the Arab nations. While the support extended by the US and other powers went in vain on one hand, Iran intervened in the political conflicts in Syria and Iraq on the other. The protests in Syria ultimately took shape as the Islamic State (IS) and efforts to curb it down began. The initiative was spearheaded by the Gulf countries and was hugely backed by the world powers including US. But the IS insurgents are swiftly advancing capturing swathes of Middle East and the latest instance of the militant group Boko Haram forming an alliance with IS confirms the fact. The US and Iran have come together after decades of rivalry and is now going to agree on reaching a nuclear deal with the sanctions against Iran likely to ease off. The diplomatic stance of the US of not irking its ally Israel and the long term allies like the Arab countries and trying to get a grip over Iran is likely to unveil a new political drama.