Saudi Arabia wants resolute anti-Iran stand from Arab League

Saul Bowman
November 20, 2017

Arab foreign ministers gathered in Cairo at Saudi Arabia's request for an extraordinary meeting to discuss alleged "violations" committed by Iran in the region.

The Arab ministers Sunday called the firing of the missile an "aggression" against Saudi Arabia and a "threat to the Arab and worldwide security".

They also tasked "the Arab group in NY to address the security council president to clarify Iranian violations" of a UN Security Council resolution on Tehran's ballistic missiles programme.

"The ballistic missile launched on my country's capital reflects the repeated Iranian attacks against the kingdom, which witnessed the launch of 80 Iranian ballistic missiles through its Houthi agent in Yemen, which was exposed to various cities in the Kingdom, and did not care about the Muslims' Qiblah by launching three ballistic missiles in a blatant attack on Islamic sanctity and a provocation to the feelings of Muslims around the world".

Eisenkot urged boosting of Saudi-Israel relations and invited other interested parties, to jointly curb the spread of "aggressive Iranian influence" in the Middle East.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been promoting the idea that his country's ties with Arab nations are improving, and some experts have said there are signs that shared concerns over Iran are indeed nudging them closer.

The Lebanese envoy to the Arab League, Antoine Azzam, made carefully weighed comments at the meeting that reflected his country's delicate religious and ethnic balance.

The House of Saud has been losing ground in the multi-religious Mediterranean state, and the Bahraini foreign minister at the Arab League summit called Lebanon's Hezbollah militia "Iran's longest arm in the region". "This is an unacceptable Iranian message", he added.

Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit said Lebanon was among the countries that voted in favour of the resolution, except for the points in which Hezbollah was mentioned.

The Saudi draft cited the bombing of an oil pipeline in Bahrain this month as an example of Iran's threat to regional security.

"When I was at a meeting of the [US] joint chiefs of staff in Washington and heard what the Saudi representative had to say, I found it identical to what I think in the need to confront Iran and its expansion in the region".

Also in September, Israel Radio reported that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had secretly met officials in Israel that month, drawing an official denial from Riyadh.

Hariri said Saturday he would return to Lebanon from France for Wednesday's Independence Day celebrations, but on Sunday he said he would first visit Egypt.

Since 2015, an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia has been fighting to defend Yemen's internationally recognized government. "Global law should be respected", he said.

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