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The Middle East has always been a region where world powers jockeyed for power and influence. More recently, regional middle-sized powers have started to also attempt to carve out influence for themselves, at the expense of one another. The country in the Middle East that has always enjoyed sizeable influence in the region is Saudi Arabia. This is due to the fact that it has significant natural resources, vast wealth and that the King of Saudi Arabia is also the custodian of Mecca and Medina, the two holiest sites in Islam. Thus, the rest of the muslim world, both near and far, saw Saudi Arabia as the voice of the islamic world. In the aftermath of the 1979 Iranian revolution, as Iran underwest a theocratic revolution towards Islam as a form of governance, Saudi Arabia began to feel threatened.
Additionally, Iran’s own natural resources and possible wealth from these resources, made it an even bigger possible threat. Over the years, the possible threat has played itself out in the form of a self-fulfilling prophecy, with both of these countries engaging in proxy warfare and diplomatic tit-for-tat to reach regional hegemony. As Saudi Arabia is a majority sunni muslim country and Iran is a majority Shia muslim country, these tensions and proxy warfare began to take a religious/sectarian frame in the eyes of the wider world. However, it is only minimally a matter of religion and is actually a matter of regional influence, trade, waterways and oil markets.
Saudi Arabia and Iran have never declared war on each other. Instead they fight indirectly by supporting opposing sides in conflicts in other countries and by inciting conflicts in other countries. This proxy war is currently being played out in significant conflicts in Yemen, Syria and Lebanon, although the proxy war does spill into many other Middle Eastern nations. Tensions have been on an upward trajectory in the last decade, and exacerbated by the Arab Spring, the blockade on Qatar, the war on Yemen and the Syrian Civil War. The two countries appears unlikely to resolve their issues in the near future as these two states continue to battle for dominance as the most influential Islamic nation in the Middle East.
Ongoing since 1979
Syrian Civil War
Ongoing since March 15 2011
Deaths – 500,000
Refugees – 5.6 million (March 2018, United Nations)
Internally displaced people – 6.1 million (March 2018 – United Nations)
In need of humanitarian assistance – 13 million (March 2018 – United Nations)
Yemen Civil War
Ongoing since March 19 2015
Deaths – 91,600 (June 2019, Associated Press)
Refugees – 3 million (UNCHR)
At risk of starvation – 15+ million (UNHCR)
With Cholera – 1.1 million (UNHCR)
Iraq Civil War
Ongoing since January 1 2014
Deaths – 100,000
Refugees – 5.6 million
Ongoing since April 27 1978
Deaths – 1.5 to 2 million
Countries also involved:
Pakistan, Nigeria, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon
Heavily backed by the United States, this coalition which includes the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait (as well as supporting nations such as Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, and Morocco) is currently playing a significant role in the Yemeni civil war.
An Islamic religious and political movement that emerged from Yemen in the 1990’s. In 2014/2015 they took over the Yemeni government run by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and since that time they have gained control of most of the northern part of Yemen. They are allegedly supported by Iran.
Has been one of the major fronts in the conflict as a result of its revolution and subsequent civil war. Yemen has traditionally been under the influence of Saudi Arabia. The Houthi insurgence in Yemen caused an increase of tensions between Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iran. This is due to Iran’s alleged support of the Houthis. As a result of the conflict and support from Saudi Arabia and Iran of opposing sides of the conflict the UN is predicting that we may see one of the worst humanitarian crises in history.
The ongoing civil war which began in 2011 has been a significant battleground for Saudi Arabia and Iran. Syria has historically played an important role for Iran to assert its influence. The civil war threatened this and created an opportunity for Saudi Arabia to increase its influence. Iran backs the government while Saudi Arabia back rebel militants
Under Saddam Hussein’s rule Iraq was hostile to Iran and Saudi Arabia. Following the American-led invasion in 2003 and subsequent power vacuum, Iran sought friendship with Iraq and still maintains that to this day being particularly influential in Iraqi government
Being historically close to Iran and strategically important to Saudi Arabia, the proxy conflict between the two countries has contributed to Afghanistan’s continuing instability. Iran and Saudi continue to fight for influence over Afghanistan.
Pakistan is an economic partner for Iran but has close political, economic, and strategic ties to Saudi Arabia. It is increasingly finding it more and more difficult to balance its relationship with both countries.
Qatar was a strategic ally for Saudi Arabia and a fellow member of the Gulf Cooperation Council. In 2017, Saudi Arabia and its allies imposed a land, air and sea blockade on Qatar for fear of its possible close relationship with Iran – as they share the world’s largest Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) field. Iran & Qatar enjoy a relationship of convenience and necessity, as Qatar now relies on Iran for certain agricultural products and air routes.
Has had a strained relationship with Saudi Arabia for some time. The resignation of Prime Minister Hariri whilst in Saudi Arabia further strained the relationship. The resignation has been viewed as a power play by Saudi Arabia to increase its influence in Yemen and counterbalance Iran’s victories in Iraq and Syria.
Has developed closer ties with the Saudis as a result of both countries’ shared antipathy towards Iran and their growing influence across the Middle East.
Regional intergovernmental political and economic union consisting of the the Arab states in the Persian Gulf excluding Iraq. Includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, UAE. A proposal to transform the GCC into a ‘Gulf Union” with tighter economic, political and military coordination has been advanced by Saudi Arabia. This formation of such is meant to counterbalance Iran’s influence in the region.
The United States is a major supporter and ally of Saudi Arabia, and is an enemy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Not only has the US provided material, logistical, military, and surveillance but is also openly hostile to Iran, inching towards a conflict that might involve the US and Iran. The US, under President Obama tried to negotiate a settlement, the JCPOA, known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, but President Trump left the deal and implemented a policy of maximum pressure on Iran.
The EU, and all of its Member states, are a party to the to the JCPOA, and hope to balance their ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as the United States and Iran. Despite its attempt at walking a fine line between all states, the EU is still an ally of the US.
China is a major trading partner for Iran and an export destination for its oil. It opposes the US’ efforts to enforce a policy of maximum pressure with Iran, but also remains very friendly with Saudi Arabia.
India is a major trading partner for Iran and an export destination for its oil. India also enjoys long-standing cultural and historical ties to Iran. It has also increasingly been an economic partner for Saudi Arabia and a close ally of the US.
Saudi Arabia was the dominant Islamic state in the Middle East. The Iranian revolution of ‘79 threatened the status quo.
Relations strained throughout the decade as Saudi Arabia quietly supported Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war. Saudi Arabia publicly claims neutrality but makes three of its ports available to Iraq’s military
Iranians in Mecca and Medina clash with Saudi police after chanting political slogans. Iran accused Saudi authorities of discrimination towards Iranian pilgrims
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain form the Gulf Cooperation Council as part of a security response to the Iranian revolution and Iran-Iraq war.
Saudi Arabia reportedly supplies Iraq with $1bn per month in aid
Iran attacks a Saudi oil tanker in Saudi waters in retaliation to Iraq’s attempts to interfere with Iran’s oil shipping. Saudi Arabia retaliates by shooting down an Iranian Phantom jet over Saudi waters.
Shiite pilgrims clash with Saudi police during the hajj, which resulted in a stampede. At least 400 are killed including more than 200 Iranians. Iranian protesters respond by attacking the Saudi and Kuwaiti embassies in Tehran
Saudi Arabia severs ties with Iran as a result of the hajj clash
Iran boycotts the hajj following Saudi Arabia reducing the number of pilgrim visas in response to the 1987 clashes
Tensions eased to some degree under President Akbar-Hashemi Rafsanjani who sought to improve Iran’s relations with its neighbors including Saudi Arabia. Trade and direct flights between the two increase.
Saudi Arabia sends aid to Iran after an earthquake kills 40,000
Riyadh (Saudi Arabia’s Capital city) and Tehran (Iran’s Capital city) restore diplomatic tie.
Following the Gulf War, Iraq was weakened and Saudi Arabia and Iran became the major regional powers.
Tensions eased again under President Mohammad Khatami who introduces a period of outreach to the Gulf. However, Saudi officials grow wary of Iran’s growing influence in Iraq, limiting the influence of Khatami’s outreach program.
Crown Prince Abdullah attends the Organization of Islamic Conference summit in Tehran becoming the most senior Saudi official to visit Iran since 1979
Iranian President Khatami meets with Crown Prince Abdullah in Saudi Arabia becoming the first Iranian leader to visit Saudi Arabia since 1979
Saudi officials grow increasingly wary of Iran’s growing influence in Iraq. The US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003 empowered Iraq’s Shiite majority and resulted in a shift of political alignment towards Iran.
Tensions increased when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came into power as he takes a hardline stance on foreign policy.
The war between Israel and Hezbollah (Lebanese militant group who receive funding from Iran) increases Saudi suspicions that Tehran is creating new regional alliances that threaten Saudi interests
Uprisings across the Arab world known as the Arab Spring cause political instability throughout the region which Iran and Saudi Arabia exploit to expand their influence particularly in Syria, Bahrain and Yemen
Saudi officials accuse Iran of inciting protest in Bahrain against the country’s Sunni royal family. Saudi officials are concerned that Bahrain’s Shiite majority will take power and ally with Iran. Saudi troops assist in quelling the unrest at the request of Bahrain’s Sunni Royal family
The U.S. Justice Department charges two Iranians with attempting to murder Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel al Jubeir. Iran accuses the U.S. of fabrication and attempting to increase tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The Syrian Civil War begins. Iran actively backs the Syrian government while also backing the Lebanese Shiite armed group Hezbollah who also actively support the Syrian government. Saudi Arabia is a member of the U.S.-led coalition that supports a myriad of rebel groups including the Free Syrian Army and Syrian Democratic Forces
Saudi Arabia blames Iran for protest against anti-Shiite discrimination in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province
Moderate Hassan Rouhani is elected Iranian president. Rouhani amends Iran’s foreign policy to a friendlier stance. Relations between Iran and most Gulf Arab neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, improve.
Iran strikes an interim deal with big powers (US, UK, Russia, France, Germany, China) to limit its nuclear activity
Saudi authorities issue a death sentence for Nimr al Nimr a Shiite cleric involved in the 2011 protests. Iranian officials denounce the conviction
Iran increases it ground support for the Syrian Army (Russia also increases support for the Syrian Army in collaboration with Iran)
The U.S. coalition, including Saudi Arabia, begin launching airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria
The US increased efforts to curb Iran’s influence in the region after a deal saw Iran give up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief
Saudi Arabia increases its support for the rebels fighting in the Syrian civil war.
Iran and Saudi Arabia agree to participate in peace talks regarding the proxy war however these ultimately failed.
Yemen Civil War begins. It is fought between the Supreme Revolutionary Committee led by the Houthis who are supported by Iran and forces loyal to current Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi who is strongly supported by the Saudi-led coalition.
A stampede in Mina, Mecca, during the hajj kills at least 2000 people including hundreds of Iranians. Tehran accuses Riyadh of mismanagement and threatens legal action.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Saudi counterpart Adel al Jubeir allegedly get into a heated argument during Syrian peace talks in Vienna.
Saudi Arabia executes Sheikh Nimr al Nimr a prominent Shiite leader who supported anti-government demonstrations. This prompted protests or condemnation from Shiites in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Turkey, Pakistan, India, Lebanon and Yemen. Iranian protesters burn part of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and storm the compound.
Following the protests and violence at the Saudi Embassy,Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Bahrain sever diplomatic ties, the UAE downgrades its relations with Iran. All members of the Arab League except Lebanon issue a statement condemning the attacks.
Saudi-led coalition bomb strikes a funeral procession in Yemen’s capital Sana’a killing 155.
Missiles are launched by Iranian supported Houthi rebels from Yemen into Saudi territory allegedly targeting a missile in Riyadh.
Riyadh and several Sunni allies break off diplomatic relations with Qatar alleging Doha of supporting extremism that is linked with Iran (this was denied by both Iran and Qatar). This further increased tension.
Saad Hariri Lebanon’s Prime Minister who is supported by Saudi Arabia announced during a broadcast from Riyadh his resignation, blaming Iran’s “grip” on his country via Hezbollah. Iran believe this resignation was forced, they also allege Hariri is being held against his will and the Saudis are using him as a pawn in the proxy conflict.
Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of “a blatant act of military aggression” alleging that the missiles fired at Riyadh by Yemeni Houthi militias originated in Iran. Tehran denies this.
Riyadh tightens the blockade on Yemen
Yemeni officials allege that their President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has been barred from leaving Riyadh, possibly as part of a feud with the UAE who are a key player in the Saudi-led coalition against rebels in Yemen
Lebanese officials state that they fear Hariri’s resignation was part of a regional power play, with Saudi Arabia attempting to upset the delicate balance holding together Lebanon’s government. A change in the makeup of the Lebanese government could upset the Iran-linked Hezbollah who already accuse Riyadh of forcing Hariri to resign.
The U.S. gives its support to Saudi Arabia. Nikki Haley, ambassador to the UN calls for the UN to “hold the Iranian regime accountable” for allegedly providing weapons to the Houthis
The UN warns that the tightened blockage on Yemen could cause “the largest famine the world has seen for many decades with millions of victims.”
French President Emmanuel Macron announced while in Dubai that he would travel to Riyadh to meet Saudi officials. He said he wanted to meet Mohammad bin Salman the crown prince to discuss regional stability.
SPA (Saudi Press Agency) report that Saudi nationals are being told to leave Lebanon “as soon as possible.”
Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun told a Saud official that Hariri’s resignation is unacceptable.
Lebanon’s leader of Hezbollah said in a televised address that it is clear that Hariri is detained in Riyadh and the “Saudi Arabia and Saudi officials have declared war on Lebanon.”
The Saudi-led coalition reopens its land border to allow aid into the Yemen. The ports remained closed.
Former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh in a televised speech suggests a willingness to engage in peace talks with Saudi Arabia to end the conflict. This is seen as a move aimed at side-lining Houthi rebels.
Former Yemen President Saleh is assassinated by Houthi fighters.
Houthi rebels fire a ballistic missile toward an airport at the Saudi border. The Saudi defense forces report that they shot down the missile, and note that the attack demonstrates the continued support of the Houthis by Iran.
Saudi Arabia joins forces with the US, Great Britain, and France to support a UN draft resolution condemning Iran for its failure to stop Houthi rebels from gaining access to ballistics.
Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia tells CBS that Saudi Arabia will develop nuclear weapons if Iran does so.
Prince Mohammad bin Salman announces that he will be putting more economic and political pressure on Iran, and urges other nations to follow suit.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei accuses the US of using Saudi money to assist in the creation of the Islamic State.
Saudi Arabia vocally supports US President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. Iran takes advantage of the lifted sanctions to develop more ballistics and support various terrorist militias, including the Houthis.
The US reinstates sanctions against Iran.
Despite the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate, US President Trump reaffirms that the US will stand by Saudi Arabia as a staunch ally against Iran.
Iran has seized another foreign oil tanker in the Arabian Gulf and detained the ship’s seven crew members. The capture is the third such seizure in a month amid heightened tensions with the United States and its Arab allies, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels have attacked a massive oil and gas field in Saudi Arabia. This is the second such attack on the Saudi energy industry in recent days and comes amid high Middle East tensions.
This month, at his Mecca palace, Saudi King Salman took the unusual step of expressing “extreme irritation” with the UAE, his closest Arab partner, according to sources familiar with the matter. The comment appears to be evidence of a fissure in the alliance, which is led in practice by the king’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), and the UAE de facto ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (MbZ).
Saudi Arabia charged Monday that Iranian weapons were used to attack the kingdom’s oil installations, dismissing claims of responsibility by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who threatened additional assaults amid U.S. warnings of retaliation. The Houthis’ new threat, reported Monday by the group’s al-Masirah TV, came two days after they claimed a crippling assault on facilities in the desert kingdom. U.S. officials, meanwhile, were blaming Iran and its other proxies around the region, and President Trump warned that the United States was “locked and loaded” and ready to respond.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pinned the blame on Iran for an attack at a Saudi oil field in a pair of tweets Saturday. Drone strikes on crucial Saudi Arabian oil facilities have disrupted about half of the kingdom’s oil capacity, or 5% of the daily global oil supply, CNN Business reported earlier Saturday. Yemen’s Houthi rebels took responsibility for the attacks but they are often backed by Iran.
An oil tanker belonging to the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) was hit and damaged by two missiles. The missiles were “possibly” fired from Saudi soil, Saheb Sadeghi, head of the public relations of the National Iranian Tanker Company, told state-run Press TV.
US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper says he has authorised the deployment of additional forces, including fighter jets and a defence system. He said it was in response to “threats in the region”, amid efforts to protect the kingdom from
“Iranian aggression”. The move comes after an attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities in September.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is heading for Tehran, two government officials said on Friday, weeks after the United States asked him to help mediate between long-time regional foes Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Yemen’s exiled government and southern secessionists have agreed to a preliminary deal.
The Riyadh Agreement, brokered by Saudi Arabia with support from the United Arab Emirates, is expected to be signed in the coming days. It expands the political influence of southern secessionists in return for their forces returning to the ranks of the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The United Arab Emirates has said it has completed the withdrawal of its troops from Yemen’s southern port city of Aden as part of a deal brokered with Saudi Arabia to end a power struggle between southern separatists and the internationally backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Yemen’s civil war has killed more than 100,000 people since 2015, a database project that tracks violence said Thursday. The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, or ACLED, said in a new report that this death toll includes more than 12,000 civilians that have been killed in attacks that directly targeted civilians.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has blamed the United States and its allies for spreading “insecurity and turmoil” in Iraq and Lebanon, urging anti-government protesters in both countries to seek changes in a lawful way.
At least 4,000 Sudanese soldiers have been killed in Yemen since 2015 as part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting against the Houthi rebels, a Houthi military spokesman said Saturday.
Yemen’s internationally recognised government and UAE-backed separatists have signed a power-sharing deal to halt infighting. The agreement will result in a government reshuffle to include the separatists with equal representation, and their armed forces will be placed under government control.
The U.N. envoy for Yemen has said the momentum to end the country’s devastating five-year war is building, pointing to a nearly 80 percent drop in airstrikes nationwide in the last two weeks, a strengthened cease-fire in the key port of Hodeida, and the beginning of the kind of leadership needed to restore peace to the Arab world’s poorest nation.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has helped repatriate 128 rebels from Saudi Arabia to Yemen.
It comes two days after the Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels said they would release 200 Houthi prisoners and allow medical cases to be flown out of Yemen’s rebel-held capital.
Iran acknowledged for the first time Tuesday that its security forces shot and killed protesters across the country to put down demonstrations last month over the sharply spiking price of gasoline, the deadliest unrest to hit the country since the turmoil of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
OPEC and allies led by Russia on Thursday agreed to one of the deepest output cuts this decade to prevent oversupply, in a deal that would apply for the first three months of 2020.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is meeting to discuss policy in Vienna. On Friday, OPEC will meet with Russia and other producers, a group known as OPEC+.
The Pentagon is considering sending thousands more troops to the Middle East as part of an effort to beef up air defense capabilities in the face of Iranian moves that include its recent transfer of short-range missiles into Iraq, CNN has learned from multiple defense officials.
The most realistic options include potentially sending 4,000 to 7,000 additional US troops to the region, the officials said.
Former minister Hassan Diab was named Lebanon’s new prime minister on Thursday with support from the Iran-backed group Hezbollah and its allies, a move that could complicate efforts to secure badly needed Western financial aid.
The nomination sets the stage for the formation of a cabinet that excludes allies of the United States and Sunni Gulf Arab countries while underlining the influence of Iran’s friends in Lebanon.
Diab, a little-known academic with a doctorate in computer engineering, vowed on Thursday to form a government quickly that works to pull the country out of economic crisis and reassures people who have protested against the political class for two months.
A delegation from Yemen’s Houthi rebel group held talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Oman on Tuesday, according to a Houthi-run television. Al-Masirah television said the talks tackled the humanitarian situation in Yemen and the “blockade” imposed on the war-torn country. Discussions also took up the latest developments in Yemen and the region.
Iranian-backed bloc in Iraq’s parliament on Wednesday nominated Asaad al-Eidani, the governor of the southern province of Basra, as the new prime minister, a move rejected by many protesters who demand a complete overhaul of the political system.
Iraqi President Barham Salid has refused to designate the nominee of an Iran-backed parliamentary bloc for prime minister, saying he would rather resign than appoint someone to the position who would be rejected by protesters.
US President Donald Trump has said that he ordered a precision strike to “terminate” a top Iranian commander who was plotting “imminent and sinister attacks” on Americans, adding that the decision was one of deterrence rather than aggression.
“We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war,” Trump said in a statement from his Mar-a-Lago resort on Friday, a day after a US drone strike on a Baghdad airport killed Qasem Soleimani.
Iran, in a letter to the United Nations, called the attack state terrorism and an unlawful criminal act.
Iran launched more than a dozen missiles at Iraqi bases hosting US and coalition troops overnight, declaring the strikes to be retaliation for the killing last week of the senior Iranian general Qassem Suleimani.
Al-Asad airbase in Iraq’s Anbar province was hit 17 times, including by two ballistic missiles that failed to detonate, according to the Iraqi government. A further five missiles were targeted at a base in the northern city of Erbil in the assault
An attack on a military training camp in western Yemen killed dozens of government soldiers and wounded at least 100 others.
Yemen’s president warned the military it needs to be on high alert and ready for battle following the mass-casualty attack he blamed on the Houthi rebels in the city of Marib.
The death toll from a suspected Houthi rebel missile attack on Yemeni government forces has risen to at least 116, making it one of the bloodiest incidents in the country’s civil war, and threatening to derail the country’s fragile peace process.
Ballistic missiles hit a mosque at al-Estiqbal military camp in the central province of Ma’rib, where soldiers had gathered for evening prayers. Pictures and video from the scene showed a huge impact crater in the spot where the mosque had stood.
Lebanon formed a new government, the presidency announced after Shi’ite Hezbollah and its allies clinched a deal on a cabinet that must tackle the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.
Heavily indebted Lebanon has been without effective government since Saad al-Hariri resigned as premier in October under pressure from protests against state corruption and waste – root causes of the crisis.
The US embassy in Baghdad’s heavily-fortified green zone came under attack from rocket fire.
Five rockets crashed into a riverbank near the embassy in the Iraqi capital without causing any injuries, the US Joint Operations Command said in a statement, but AFP news agency citing a security source said that three of the rockets “directly hit the US embassy”. One slammed into a cafeteria at dinner time, it added.
Iran is ready to strike the United States and Israel if they give it any reason to do so, the head of the elite Revolutionary Guards said in a live speech on state television. “If you make the slightest error, we will hit both of you,” Major General Hossein Salami said at a ceremony marking the 40th day since the death of top commander Qassem Soleimani.
A coalition spokesman confirmed that a Saudi Tornado fighter jet had “fallen” while carrying out a support mission near Yemeni army units, according to Saudi Arabia’s state news agency SPA.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels said they shot down the plane. The United Nations said 31 civilians were killed in Saudi airstrikes in al-Jawf on
A Saudi-led coalition airstrike in Yemen killed more than 30 civilians, according to U.N. officials. The airstrikes targeting Yemen’s northern Al-Jawf province came a day after the country’s rebel Houthi movement claimed it had shot down a coalition warplane in the same area. The attacks were widely seen as a retaliation for the downing of the fighter jet.
Several rockets landed near the embassy of the United States in Iraq’s capital early on Sunday, US and Iraqi military officials said, in the latest of a series of attacks against US assets in the country. The rockets struck an Iraqi base hosting US troops and other coalition forces in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, an area that is home to foreign embassies and government offices.
Lebanon may not survive if its new government fails, the powerful Hezbollah warned, urging the country’s divided politicians not to obstruct the cabinet as it seeks to address an unprecedented economic and financial crisis. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah also said there was no point in politicians trading blame over the causes of the crisis, after former prime minister Saad al-Hariri accused his rivals of pushing the country to near-collapse.
Senior officials in Iran and Iraq have decided to establish a joint committee to prosecute the US officials involved in the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, Iranian IRNA Agency reported.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that when it comes to the rising tensions in the Gulf, the United States and Saudi Arabia are to blame.
“I believe our neighbors, especially Saudi Arabia, do not want to (de-escalate),” Zarif said when asked about the status of the relationship at the Munich Security Conference. He added that he suspected Riyadh was operating under the influence of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure campaign” on Iran.
Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, uses his visit to Saudi Arabia to discuss security concerns over Iran with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition intervening in Yemen, Turki al-Maliki, claims their military has intercepted several missiles fired at Saudi cities from the Yemeni capital Sana’a.
One Saudi citizen is sentenced to death and a further seven to time in jail for alleged treason and spying for Iran.
Meanwhile, the CEO of an online payment processing company, Ahmad Khawaja, alleges that Saudi and Emirati officials used stolen identities to contribute to Trump’s election campaign in 2016. The funding was allegedly provided on the understanding that further sanctions would be imposed on Iran in the event of a Trump victory.
The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen claims it has foiled an attempted terrorist attack on an oil tanker off Yemen’s coast.
The Gulf state accuses Iran of deliberately covering up the spread of coronavirus and failing to stamp Bahraini passports.
Saudi Arabia claims to have intercepted missiles allegedly fired at the cities of Riyadh and Jizan by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
The Saudi-led coalition launches 19 air strikes on the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, in response to the previous day’s missile attacks on Saudi cities. No casualties are reported.
The social media site Twitter removes thousands of fake accounts linked to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which were found to be spreading fake news about Qatar, Turkey and Iran.
The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen announces a unilateral two-week ceasefire as a means of enabling the country to effectively counter the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic. Despite this, fighting appears set to continue.
Iran and Saudi Arabia rank only behind China in terms of the number of executions carried out in 2019, according to a report released by Amnesty International. Iran was found to have put at least 251 to death in the previous year, while Saudi Arabia executed 184.
The unilateral ceasefire announced by the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen two weeks’ prior is extended by a further month.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tells the Emir of Qatar that Iran is closely monitoring US activities in the Middle East, as tensions between the two powers continue.
Saudi Arabia announces that those sentenced to death while still minors are no longer eligible for execution.
The sanctions waiver, which enables Iraq to continue importing Iranian electricity and gas despite international sanctions against the country, is extended by a further 30 days. However, the length of this extension is significantly reduced from the conventional terms of 45 or 120 days – an attempt by the Trump administration to increase pressure on Iran.
The US calls on countries to prevent Iran’s Mahan Air from flying through their airspace, as the flights are alleged to be transporting support to the Maduro government, which the US opposes.
Abbas Musavi, the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, releases a statement condemning the German government’s decision to ban the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group and clamp down on its activities in the country. Musavi accuses Germany of adopting the position “without considering the realities” in West Asia and supporting the interests of the “propaganda machine of the Zionist regime and the confused US regime”.
Hundreds of fake social media accounts allegedly linked to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Corporation (IRIB) are removed from Facebook. It is claimed that the accounts deliberately spread “disinformation” to further Iran’s political interests.
US President Donald Trump vetoes legislation passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives earlier this year, which sought to limit his ability to wage war against Iran. The legislation was initially passed in response to the extra-judicial murder of the commander of the Iranian Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, by US forces in January.
The United States begins to scale back a build -p of military assets in Saudi Arabia, which had been amassed in order to intimidate Iran earlier in the year. Military personnel as well as surface-to-air missiles are set to be removed.
US President Donald Trump and King Salman of Saudi Arabia discuss their shared strategic interests in the Middle East and in maintaining stability in the energy markets during a phone call. The call comes after the removal of US military assets from Saudi Arabia and the fallout from Saudi’s aggressive oil price war damaged the US energy industry.
Ali Rabiei, a spokesman for the Iranian government, expresses the country’s willingness to conduct an exchange of prisoners with the US “without any preconditions” as a means of mitigating against the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on prison populations.
The US publicly threatens the trigger a return of all UN Sanctions against Iran should the UN Security Council refuse to extend the arms embargo currently in place, which is due to expire in October this year.
Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, writes a letter to UN chief Antonio Guterres warning against US attempts to deploy its navy to intercept Iranian fuel transfers to Venezuela. The US has spearheaded severe sanctions against both countries.
Iran’s Interior Minister Abdolreza becomes the latest target of US sanctions, allegedly imposed in response to “serious human rights abuses” committed during last November’s countrywide protests. Senior law enforcement officials are similarly targeted.
Satellite images of a Saudi nuclear reactor site emerge, apparently showing significant progress with building works on the site – a development causing alarm with international arms monitors, as the kingdom is yet to implement International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) rules.
A flotilla of five Iranian oil tankers carrying over one-and-a-half million barrels of alkylate and gasoline to Venezuela, in spite of US opposition, reaches the Caribbean Sea. Venezuela has confirmed that its military will escort the ships to land once they reach the country’s territorial waters.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warns that the US will “be in trouble” if they intercept oil tankers en route to Venezuela. The comments emerged from a phone call with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, during which Rouhani confirmed that Iran would never initiate a conflict with the Americans.
The first among a flotilla of Iranian fuel tankers headed for Venezuela reaches the country’s territorial waters unimpeded by any American interference, suggesting that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was merely posturing during recent public statements.
Sanctions waivers which had enabled European, Chinese and Russian firms to operate at a limited number of Iranian nuclear sites. The motive for the move is initially unclear as the operations of international bodies at these sites were intended to reduce the Iranian capacity for making nuclear weapons.
Germany, France and the United Kingdom announce their regret at a decision by the US to end three of four sanctions waivers in Iran. These waivers enabled work to be carried out on Iranian nuclear sites with a view to preventing the development of weapons.