Iranian Diplomacy- In their rhetoric over the recent years, Saudi Arabia leaders have made it clear that they do not want peaceful relations with Iran, and certainly do not intend to bring Tehran-Riyadh ties to a normal level expected from two Muslim neighbors. The death of a local Iranian fisherman by Saudi coastguard is not just an incident, it reveals a larger pattern in Saudi Arabia’s ties with Iran.
Report by domestic and international news agencies on Sunday that Saudi Arabia’s coastguard had opened fire on two Iranian fishing boats has received a variety of responses. According to the reports, the boats were pushed off their course by waves in the Persian Gulf, driven toward Saudi Arabian coasts when the guards shot fishermen, killing one.
Iranian interior ministry’s director-general for border affairs has told media he would not confirm if the boats had entered Saudi Arabia border. As a result of the gunfire, an Iranian fisherman, shot in the waist, died, Iranian media have quoted him as saying. Aghababaei called the Saudi move inconsistent with human principles, saying the coastguards should not have had the permission to shoot Iranian boats, even if they were swept into their borders.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi confirmed the incident on Saturday night and stressed that the case is being investigated by Iran’s border guard and other related authorities, PressTV reported. “This subject is currently under investigation… and after the results become apparent, this bitter incident will be seriously followed up,” he said.
Regardless of the backlashes or how the results of the probe would end up, the Saudi coastguard’s measure is clearly indicative of the state of Tehran-Riyadh relations. For one thing, one could safely guess that direct gunfire is on the table for Saudi security and military forces when it comes to Iranian entities.
Saudi Arabia and subscribers to its policy in the Persian Gulf, as well as the United States, have repeatedly accused Iran of shipping arms and military equipment to militant groups in the region. While failing to provide transparent, reliable evidence for their baseless claims, they have evaluated and responded to every normal move by Iran through their own misperception.
It could be expected that Saudi Arabia will explain and justify its non-conventional, non-humane act with the same reasons again, repeating its baseless accusations of Iran’s destabilizing moves in neighboring countries.
However, this is only a simple framing of the story. The truth is that there is a latent but full-fledged war going on between Iran and Saudi Arabia. No direct military confrontation is seen, but its nature is no different with one of a full-blown war.
Notwithstanding all efforts by Iran for normalization and peace-making over the recent years, Tehran-Riyadh relations have moved in a direction that makes a confrontation inevitable because of the Saudis’ misconception of regional dynamics. Issues including purchase of arms, Yemen, Qatar, Syria, Iraq, and even Egyptian islands are all part of a bigger puzzle, which indicates a scheme when put together: a Saudi war on Iran in every dimension and capacity.
The shooting toward Iranian fishermen is not out of the puzzle, even though it might seem a minor part. Saudi Arabia has shown, in action and words, that it not only considers Iran its main enemy in the region, but also implements the approach in practice, using the slightest opportunity to demonstrate its full-fledged war in Iran, as evidently as possible.
There needs to be a reason for the fact that we see a close alliance between Israel and Saudi Arabia in recent months, particularly after the beginning of the Qatari crisis. Arab and Israeli media are in a strange coordination, following the same line of thought, which is introducing Iran as their main regional enemy: that years of hostility between Muslims and Israel was futile, leading to negligence over the main enemy, i.e. Iran.
The line of thought is not just propaganda based on intimidating Iran or a psychological warfare for regional pressure on the country. It is caused by facts on the ground seen in the region.
The shooting on the Iranian fisherman by Saudi soldiers aptly reveals the real, ongoing behind-the-scene war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Saudi confrontation with Iran does not stop at proxy wars or regional sabotage. Saudi military have targeted their guns directly at Iran, to fire as soon as possible.
The recent episode proves that there is no sign of normal ties between two neighbors when it comes to Iran and Saudi Arabia. No sober and sharp-sighted mind mistakes the unstable links between the two countries for neutral ties. Saudi Arabia has long started a war on Iran, sparing no effort to dent Iran’s identity and national interests.