Why Saudi Arabia Stands to Lose from Trump’s JCPOA Withdrawal

      Published on Sunday, 27 May , 2018      38 Views     
Why Saudi Arabia Stands to Lose from Trump’s JCPOA Withdrawal

  • World News

President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that the United States would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was immediately condemned by many U.S. allies—particularly its European allies—but received enthusiastic support from Saudi Arabia.



Shortly after Trump’s speech, the Saudi Foreign Ministry expressed solidarity with the U.S. decision and urged the United States to impose stringent sanctions against Iran.

As Saudi Arabia remains embroiled in a struggle with Iran for regional hegemony, its support for Trump’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA is unsurprising. However, a closer examination of the implications of Trump’s decision suggests that Saudi Arabia’s jubilation will be short-lived.

Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA could exacerbate latent tensions between Saudi Arabia and its regional allies; and embolden Iran to engage in aggressive policies that undercut Saudi Arabia’s security and weaken its regional influence.

The most immediate concern for Saudi Arabia is that Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA will weaken the cohesion of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Since the outbreak of the Qatar crisis in June 2017, the GCC has been divided into two blocs over the acceptability of engagement with Iran. The GCC’s pro-isolation bloc, which includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, believes that Iran is the primary source of instability in the Middle East and that Tehran must be contained at all costs.

The GCC’s pro-engagement bloc, which consists of Kuwait and Oman, echoes Saudi Arabia’s concerns about Iranian conduct but believes that selective cooperation and trade with Iran will benefit regional stability.

The chasm in perspectives between these two blocs has been revealed by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait’s divergent public statements about Iran and contrasting reactions to the growing Qatar-Iran partnership. While Saudi Arabia has stridently condemned Iran’s contribution to Iraq’s prolonged state of political instability, Kuwait has been reluctant to make sweeping criticisms of Iranian conduct and has praised Iran’s anti-ISIS efforts in Iraq.

Regarding Qatar, Saudi Arabia has viewed Doha’s strengthened partnership with Tehran as a justification for a continued blockade against the besieged emirate. However, Kuwait has insisted that the Qatar-Iran alignment should not preclude Doha’s normalization of relations with the rest of the GCC.

The United States’ withdrawal from the JCPOA could convince Saudi Arabia to pressure Kuwait and Oman to abandon their links with Iran, as Riyadh might view Washington’s shifting policy towards Iran as an opportunity to strengthen its hegemony over the GCC. After all, Kuwait and Oman are long-standing U.S. allies that are actively involved in mediating regional crises, both countries will be confident in their ability to avoid being punished for trading with Iran and to resist Saudi pressure.

If Kuwait and Oman refuse to bow to Saudi pressure, the gap in policies towards Iran between both blocs of the GCC will continue to grow. These divisions could greatly weaken the GCC’s effectiveness as a collective security organization.

As the recently signed alternative Saudi Arabia-UAE bilateral security pact has been undercut by the UAE’s occupation of the Yemeni island of Socotra, an inter-bloc schism within the GCC over Iran could leave Riyadh diplomatically isolated in its own sphere of influence.

In addition to undermining the cohesion of the GCC, the increased unpredictability of Iranian conduct associated with a JCPOA withdrawal poses a grave threat to Saudi Arabia’s security and geopolitical aspirations.

As Trump’s policies towards Iran have fuelled anti-American sentiments amongst the Iranian public, the political influence of conservative nationalists in Iran who are nostalgic for the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad era of contestation with the West has grown in recent months.

The strengthened influence of these hardline factions could convince Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to escalate Iran’s belligerence to prevent Ahmadinejad and other hardliners from instigating mass protests, like those that broke out in late December.

An escalation of Iranian belligerence will undercut Saudi Arabia’s security, because Yemen is likely to be the first area where Iran will flex its military muscles.

Just hours after Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen fired missiles into Riyadh, which were successfully intercepted by the Saudi military.



This act of belligerence was widely interpreted as a form of retaliation from Iran for Saudi Arabia’s support for Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA.

Keywords:
Category World News | 2018/05/27 latest update at 12:00 AM
Source : Internet | Photocredit : Google
39 Views
Comments Add comment



Related Articles

The editorial staff of Saudi Arabia Today would like to give all of its readers from Gulf and Saudi Arabia and the whole world the opportunity to participate actively in the development of the website! If you have something interesting, fun, scandalous - just something worth to be seen from more people. Capture it and share it in the Saudi Arabia Today with a short text.

Do you have information you want to reach our readers?

Send article/s

You can subscribe to our Facebook, Twitter and Google pages or use our RSS feed channel to always read the most important news about Saudi Arabia, the Gulf and the world.


Sponsored Publications



Saudi Alhokair’s mall unit files for IPO, offering in second quarter: sources
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia news

Saudi Alhokair’s mall unit files for IPO, offering in second quarter: sources

Saudi Arabia’s Fawaz Alhokair Group plans to offer shares in its shopping malls business in Riyadh in the…

Saudi Arabia new rules

Property prices continue to fall in key UAE markets

UAE banks invest Dh87 billion in Saudi Arabia, Egypt

King Salman receives dignitaries in Riyadh King

King Salman receives dignitaries in Riyadh

The Kingdom’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, senior scholars, ministers and a group of citizens called on…

Saudi King Salman reshapes country’s political and security affairs council King

Saudi King Salman reshapes country’s political and security affairs council

Saudi King Salman on Thursday announced a new list of appointees to key positions in the country’s political…

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz has died King

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz has died

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz passed away on Saturday, family members and Saudi media said on Twitter.…

Bahraini crown prince meets Saudi officials in Riyadh King

Bahraini crown prince meets Saudi officials in Riyadh

Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa held talks with Saudi officials in Riyadh this week. His visit…

GULF TV

Popular in GULF TV

PIRELLI “DREAMING” – THE CAL 2019 making of Full Version | Fashion Channel

1904 Views

A photographic tale of the aspirations of four women and their determination to achieve their goals, each one…

Latest videos in GULF TV

Events

Lifestyle

Culture

Sport

Science & Technology

Government