Sufian Qazi |
A long time ago, a wild dog visited a city to meet his urban dog friend. The wild dog was skinny, weak, and sapless as he had to ramble all over the forest to deal with his hunger. However, the urban dog, usually fed by his master, was robust, healthy, and in fine fettle. Wild dog asked his friend, what made him so healthy and fresh? He said, “I look out my master’s house and in return, he feeds me with delicious food. But for this, he ties me up in the house all day.’’ The wild dog, free from such shackles, replied, “I cannot compromise my freedom over lavish food; I am happy with my hunger.”
In simple words, it is a tradeoff. Saudis understand their vulnerabilities, however, on the other hand, the US is highly dependent on Saudi Oil.
Many people on social media criticized the King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Shah Salman, for shaking hands with Melina Trump, reckoning it as anti-Islamic in a country where Sharia Laws are practiced at the state level. Ostensibly, it was just a handshake on a sacred land for Muslims; but in fact, it depicted the underlying historical context based on strategic and economic bilateral relations between the two countries.
The two nations, that relish favorite nation status from both sides, have long historical relations. In simple words, it is a tradeoff. Saudis understand their vulnerabilities – like countering Iranian influence in the region, protection of oil fields and securing pilgrimage routes – however, on the other hand, the US is highly dependent on Saudi Oil. The ties between two countries skyrocketed during WWII when axis powers wrecked Saudi oil fields in Dhahran, and in the Cold War era when the US realized the imperativeness of profound relations with the Kingdom to counter the spreading out of Soviet communism in the Middle East.
Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, the founder and first ruler of modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, seized Arabian Peninsula from the Turks in 1932. The Britain abetted Ibn Saud against the Turks after WWI and became the first country to recognize Saudi Arabia as an independent state. The US president Roosevelt took the two-pronged relations above the peaks of Himalayas and put it as: ‘Saudi Arabia’s defense is vital for the defense of the United States’.
Both historical belligerents – Saudi Arabia and Iran – along with their master(s), mainly the US, have made the region a depiction of melancholy.
Amidst all this chaos, one reality that is extensively ignored: how the Western powers are playing ‘divide and rule’ in the Middle East to shelter their agendas at the cost of instability in the Muslim World. Following this regional uncertainty, today Saudi Arabia has become the largest arms shopper from the United States. Hours after landing in Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, the President’s first stop on his foreign trip, Donald Trump and Saudi King Salman signed a series of agreements that included a military sales agreement of about $110bn, effective immediately, plus another $350bn over the next decade.
The hassled Saudi-Iran relations have injected sectarian-venom in the Muslim Ummah. As a consequence, today ample Sunnis and Shias around the globe perceive Saudi Arabia and Iran as a representation of their sect respectively. Moreover, it has also invited foreign antagonistic powers to intrude and further exploit the weaknesses of the Muslim world. The West would never want Saudi Arabia and Iran to come closer overlooking their grudges. But instead, they had always puffed the flashes of hatred.
What have the divisions of Iran-Saudi Arabia lost for the Muslim world
Today, the children of Saud (Aal-e-Saud) have the delicious food, gigantic mansions, and luxurious lifestyle but they have compromised their dignity, self-respect, and freedom. On the other side, Iran, due to its rigid stances and anti-Saudi proxies, is sponsoring militant groups in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria in the starvation of regional dominance. Both historical belligerents – Saudi Arabia and Iran – along with their master(s), mainly the US, have made the region a depiction of melancholy. The West realized, after fighting for centuries amid internal disputes, that war is not a solution. But Saudi Arabia-Iran learned a bit neither from the West nor from their own history. So far, no one is the loser in this murky game but the Muslims of the Middle East and the whole Ummah.
Ultimately, the master wins!
Sufian Qazi is a student of politics and international relations at SZABIST, Islamabad. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.