If there is one thing the diplomats posted to Riyadh agree upon, it is that the Saudi leadership analyses the entire regional situation in terms of “the Iranian menace.” “They see the hand of Iran everywhere and take seriously the declarations in the Iranian press, bragging about how Iran now controls four Arab capitals—Baghdad, Sanaa, Beirut and Damascus,” one of them explains. “They are obsessed with Iran,” another chimes in. “They end up forgetting that country is their neighbour and that, however, they may feel about its policies, it’s not going to disappear overnight.” All see this obsession as the main reason for the Saudi intervention in Yemen.“We had no choice, it was an obligation.” This conviction, voiced by a Saudi diplomat, is shared by most of the officials met in Riyadh. “As we see it,” he went on, “Yemen is a domestic problem: we need a stable, friendly regime on our doorstep. It’s a matter of national security.” And he reminded us that the population of Yemen is as large as that of Arabia.
Saudi Arabia mired in the quicksand of the Middle East