Mediating between Saudi Arabia and Iran


Diffusing tensions

All political parties represented in parliament have demanded that the government pursue a non-partisan policy in the current Saudi-Iran dispute. Some have demanded the government to undertake mediation between the two. Sensing the public mood, the parliament opposed military support sought by Riyadh when it initiated attacks against the Houthis in Yemen. While the government agreed to be a party to the Saudi-led military alliance against the terrorists, it sought clarification about the alliance’s scope while limiting Pakistan’s role to training security forces of member countries, providing military hardware and sharing intelligence. It was clarified that Pakistan would not deploy its troops on foreign soil.

Sartaj Aziz had entertained the possibility of Pakistan defusing the standoff through mediation at an “appropriate” time in future. Presumably Islamabad thought that with President Xi Jinping also trying to end the confrontation, this was the best time to join the exercise thus adding a force multiplier. China being the biggest importer of oil from Gulf is keen to see a peaceful region. There is a likelihood of the joint efforts by China and Pakistan bringing dividends.

Saudi Arabia is facing numerous internal problems. Oil revenues continue to shrink while the Yemen misadventure is costing in money and human casualties. On the other hand, the end of the UN sanctions provides an opportunity to Iran to expand its exports and build its economy. To address their peculiar concerns both countries need peace. The mediation by Pakistan and China offers Saudi Arabia and Iran a way out of the present confrontation. To start with, the two sides should be persuaded to restore diplomatic relations and end hostile propaganda against each other. Other issues that divide them like the Saudi interference in Yemen and accusations of the use of sectarian card by Iran in the Gulf can be dealt with once the two are on speaking terms.


  1. Wish them all the best. It was a wise decision to reduce tension between two Gulf countries, an area which has been a battleground for the interest of the 'destroyers'. The Arms suppliers are interested to keep trouble and fighting continue among the Gulf Oil rich countries. This is the best market for them. Also because the US and West are less dependable on Gulf Oil. But China is playing a positive role and will do everything possible to keep the area trouble free. China is big importer of Oil from this area. Now, since sanctions on Iran are partly and conditionally removed and Iran going to add five million more barrels per day in the market, those who purchase oil from these countries will benefit. But peace between two Gulf countries are most welcomed. The people of Yemen will also feel relieved.

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