While the world is still recovering from the insecurities of functioning within the threat of Covid-19 lurking in the shadows, there is scare over a renewed threat of an arms race in the Middle East. Bringing the worry to the forefront is the United States and the Saudi governments that are now urging the United Nations Security Council to extend the 13-year- old arms embargo, especially on Iran.
Substantiating the claims, Brian Hook, President Donald Trump’s special representative on Iran during a joint press conference in Saudi Arabia said that “Iran has not earned the trust to have the embargo lifted… The last thing this region needs is more Iranian weapons.” He was supported by Adel Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs on his assertive claims.
Iran is suspected to have supported the Houthis in attacking the Kingdom repeatedly in the last few years. Ironically, the same press conference seemed to be skewed towards the Iranian support, brushing aside the fact that Saudi Arabia has been instrumental in helping UK earn huge revenues over its repeatedly hefty arms deals. There was no mention of a whopping £5.3bn ($6.5bn) worth of arms bought by the Kingdom from the UK since the Yemen war accelerated in March 2015, nor of the large number of Yemeni civilians killed by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, drawing widespread international criticism.
Additionally, the US has also been the largest supplier of weapons to the Gulf region (for many years now). Iran seems to be the sore thumb sticking out because it has managed to defy stringent sanctions by exporting both military hardware and advisers to its proxies in the region, notably Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen.
Most political analysts agree to the fact the despite being under pressure and sanctions from the US and other countries, Iran had succeeded in gaining the strategic advantage over its rival, Saudi Arabia. A recent study by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) also substantiates this conclusion.
According to Hook, there is an urgent need to extend the arms embargo on Iran or else he fears that “if the embargo were allowed to lapse then Iran would be able to export battle tanks, artillery, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, drones and missile systems to its proxies as well as upgrade the range and lethality of its weapons systems and posing what he said would be an even greater threat to shipping in the region.”
Iran continues to hold the strong ground over the US and Saudi Arabia, despite all the pressure it has been put into. It has continued to support proxy war and extend help to Iraq as well, without truly coming into focus. Saudi Arabia had become well aware of the fact that all its richness and support from the US comes to knot’s end when it comes to facing the strategy and prowess of the Iranian lot.
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