Monday, November 06, 2017

Three Dimensional Chess: Iran, Lebanon & Saudi Arabia Dance

Saad Hariri resigns during visit to Saudi Arabia

Lebanese Prime Minister Resigns Citing Iranian Meddling

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation on Saturday and implicitly blamed Iran and its ally, Hizbullah, for his decision.

He said he suspected there were covert plans to target his life. Hariri said Iran planted "disorder and destruction" in the country and meddled in the internal issues of Lebanon as well as other Arab countries. Referring to Hizbullah, Hariri said, "Iran's arm...has managed to impose a fait accompli on Lebanon through the power of its weapons....They have built a state within a state." 
(Al Jazeera

Yemen's Houthis Fire Missile at Saudi Capital Riyadh - Tim Lister 

Yemeni rebels on Saturday targeted an airport in Saudi Arabia's capital with a ballistic missile, Yemen's Houthi-controlled Defense Ministry claimed.

But the missile was intercepted by a Patriot missile over Riyadh, the Saudi Ministry of Defense said.

President Trump accused Iran of being responsible for the missile attack intercepted in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday.
(The Week)

A cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, fought with proxies, is sharply escalating as the two powers jockey to shape a Middle East regional order devoid of Islamic State.
(Wall Street Journal)


- Dov Zakheim

It is said of Donald Trump that he has undermined America’s credibility with its allies. That may be the case in Europe, and perhaps in parts of Asia, though not in Japan or India. But it is certainly not the case in the Middle East

Relations with Israel are better than they have been since the day former President Barack Obama took office. The same can be said of U.S. relations with both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates or, for that matter, Bahrain and Morocco. The force that unites them all is Iran, whose support for instability throughout the region received a financial fillip from the Iran nuclear deal.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may or may not be a true reformer. His record on that score is not unequivocal. But he is determined to halt the expansion of Iranian influence, which now really does manifest itself as the Shiite crescent...

[T]here is little doubt that he has authorized ever closer relations with the Israelis, who view the Iranian threat exactly as he does. And the crown prince is not the only one Jared Kushner has been speaking to: Trump has given his son-in-law overall leadership on the peace process between Israel and the Arabs, and he is reportedly a welcome guest in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.

[H]ow far will Washington, or more precisely, the White House, go to back up the Saudis if their confrontation with Iran gets hot? With this president, this crown prince, and the current prime minister of Israel, anything is possible.
[Foreign Policy]

Is the Saudi Throne Shaking? - Col. Dr. Jacques Neriah 

It remains to be seen whether Mohammed Bin Salman will succeed in his quest to remodel Saudi Arabia, or will inexperience and hasty decisions destabilize Saudi Arabia.
The writer, a special analyst for the Middle East at the Jerusalem Center, was Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence. 

(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

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