Saudi Vows to End Crisis as US-Iran Fight Jeopardizes Regional Peace

Peace in the Middle East – a statement quoted hundreds of times once again – became the topic of discussion, as Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman, met with the US President Donald Trump, in the White House on Monday. The diplomatic meetup came after a US drone-strike killed Iranian General Qassem Suleimani in Iraq, which saw regional conflicts escalate once more.

However, no details of the meeting were made public. The White House faced criticism over its actions and the only information available was the photos released by Saudi Arabia. Khalid bin Salman, who is the younger brother of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, tweeted Tuesday morning that during the meeting he and Trump “reviewed aspects of our bilateral cooperation, including efforts to confront regional an international challenge.”

On Wednesday, Trump showed a glimpse of improvement to his understanding of the situation, but simultaneously issued threats to Iran, stoking the situation yet again. The plan for peace in the Middle East has been a policy in many ways given by the US, keeping in mind the list of its friends and foes. However, what exactly is the sequence of events to reach the penultimate goal, is still to be revealed.

While speaking on Wednesday, the President also mentioned that he had no plans to respond to the missile attacks on two of US’ bases in Iraq, but did not forget to shed light on his idea to double down on sanctions against Iran. Maximum pressure policy has been in cards since the day US asked Iran to re-arrange the terms of the nuclear deal, which the Gulf nation has taken no notice of.

United States “is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it,” President Trump said boasting about his idea, however, presented no path forward for settlement between two adversaries fighting for 40 years.

“It certainly sent mixed messages to Iran,” said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iranian-American strategist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The harvesting jeopardy in the Middle East is not a good sign, and even with assurance to not retaliate, certainty under such circumstances seems all, but a white lie. The risk now is that an uneasy halt after Iran fired as many as 16 missiles, will prove temporary.

Meanwhile, for Saudi Arabia, which has played nexus to resolving the conflict, it has been a mixture of celebration and apprehension, where US is the key ally, while Iran a major rival.

Also, as Khalid bin Salman informed over his Twitter: “The Kingdom and its leadership always stand with brotherly Iraq and will do everything in its power to spare it the danger of war and conflict between external parties, and for its generous people to live in prosperity after what they have endured in the past,” he said in support to the Iraqis. However, the US army has faced ousting calls from Iraq, which Trump has said, if true, will pave way to sanctions on the nation.

In this fight of who holds the upper hand, Iran maybe an underdog, but it certainly isn’t powerless, especially after what it did in retaliation against US. Consequently, if for the US, applying pressure can pay dividends; for Iran, producing nuclear material – whilst peeling Europe, China and Russia for support against the common enemy – can more than balance the situation.

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