World Bulletin / News Desk
During the recent talks over Iran’s nuclear program – which along with Iran featured the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany – France’s foreign minister Laurent Fabius demonstrated the sternest stance against Iran.
Many believe that in is because of France’s negative attitude to the talks that no deal could be reached, forcing the talks to recommence at a later date this month.
However, an article by Sarah Khan on the LUBPAK website claims that France is intentionally playing an obstructive role in the negotiations in return for new, stronger ties with states like Saudi Arabia, who have expressed their disappointment in the talks.
Although Israel and Saudi Arabia are usually at opposite ends of the political spectrum, they have been united in their animosity to Iran and its allies like the Assad regime in Syria.
Middle-East expert and analyst Robert Fisk detailed how differences that have emerged between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have led to the distancing of the two nations. Saudi Arabia has shown increasing frustration towards its traditional ally, the United States, for not attacking Syria and Iran.
As an ultra-orthodox Sunni Muslim state, Saudi Arabia has long been involved in a financial, political and propaganda battle with the stronghold of Shi’ite Islam, Iran. Both have supported separatists and rebel groups to fight against each other’s interests and allies in the Middle-East, with Saudi Arabia as well as other ultra-orthodox Sunni states, kingdoms and sheikhdoms like Qatar, Bahrain and Yemen accusing Iran of funding Shi’ite insurgencies. Likewise, Iran accuses Saudi Arabia of supporting foreign al-Qaeda linked rebels in Syria against their key ally President Bashar al-Assad.
Iran is also guilty of sending foreign troops into Syria, but this time to defend the Assad regime. The Iran-backed Lebanese paramilitary group Hezbollah is also participating in the fighting. As well as, Saudi Arabia, this also makes Israel uncomfortable. Israel has long shown enmity to Iran for supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon in addition to Hamas in Gaza, two groups both deemed as threats to Israel.
Therefore, both Israel and Saudi Arabia have protested against the U.S. for entering negotiations with Iran. Saudi Arabia particularly expressed its disgust by rejecting a seat on the UN Security Council. They also accused the U.S. for facilitating the ousting of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, only to be replaced by Mohamed Morsi, who both the Saudis and the Israelis deemed to be a hostile element and potential ally of Iran. Moreover, Saudi is also upset with the U.S. for not being able to broker a deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Meanwhile, pro-Israel groups in the U.S. are attempting to sabotage the negotiations by pushing for further sanctions against Iran.
It is in this climate that France is taking advantage of these strained relations. According to Sarah Khan’s report, France has told Saudi Arabia that they will hijack the peace talks if Saudi Arabia agrees to purchase weapons from them. This will be a continuation of increasing co-operation between France and Arabian Gulf states in terms of weapons deals.Last Mod: 13 Kasım 2013, 12:05