however the direct line to these more bellicose moves begins earlier than which as well as goes directly to the White House. While still deputy crown prince, bin Salman visited with President Trump in March of This kind of year. During which meeting, they publicly declared Iran as the key regional security threat inside the Middle East. which was step one.
Step two was President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia in May. which visit as well as the Saudi side of which agenda was arranged by bin Salman as well as was seen as a great triumph for him. The key message via the Trump visit wasn’t which the 31-year-old today heir to the throne was not bad at event planning. The takeaway came via President Trump’s green light to the Saudis to use brand-new measures to crack down on terrorism inside the Middle East. as well as the Saudis seem to be taking “terrorism” to specifically mean Iranian-backed terrorism as well as military forces.
Step three came almost exactly a month after which visit, when bin Salman was made crown prince.
Step four seems to have come in September, when bin Salman reportedly secretly visited Israel to discuss Iran as well as different potential cooperative measures. Neither country will be officially acknowledging which visit took place, however at least one Israeli government source confirmed the meeting last month.
as well as today we’re on the step a few, which appears to be a combination of the purge to remove any possible internal hurdles towards a greater anti-Iranian push, as well as blatant protests against any real or perceived Iranian aggression.
There may be more intermediate steps to come, however we can all see where This kind of will be leading. A direct conflict between Saudi Arabia as well as Iran, as opposed to the proxy war they’re fighting in Yemen, looks inevitable.
Speaking of proxy wars, if which direct conflict happens would certainly the idea make fighting between Saudi Arabia as well as Iran a U.S. proxy war? The answer seems to be yes, especially when one connects the very clear as well as sequential dots listed above. The harder question to answer will be whether such a war, proxy or not, can be avoided.
The fact will be which Iran as well as the U.S. have been in a state of cold war for almost 40 years. Iran has done almost all of the killing during which period, in terrorist attacks carried out by Iran’s proxies including Hezbollah as well as different armed groups who targeted U.S. troops during the war in Iraq.
however Saudi-Iranian hatred has been even more intense during This kind of same period. They remain the two leading combatants inside the centuries-old Sunni-Shia civil war for Islamic supremacy. Iran will be the more powerful military player while Saudi Arabia has more cash as well as control of the Islamic holy sites of Mecca as well as Medina.
Enter the last two American presidential administrations. First, the Obama team seemed to be giving Iran a major leg up by promoting the nuclear deal with Tehran as well as — just as importantly — working to end many economic sanctions as well as Discharge up to $150 billion in frozen assets back to the mullahs.
Next, the Trump administration comes in vowing to either nix or radically modify which nuclear deal as well as bashing Iran in a way no different president ever has. More aggressive anti-Iranian hawks like bin Salman may have seen Donald Trump’s election as an excuse to win the day over more dovish princes as well as ministers. as well as the White House seemingly gave Saudi Arabia a green light.
Whether the U.S. initiated This kind of or the Saudis took advantage of a brand-new administration, the idea’s not clear where the idea goes next. Some kind of peace deal or cooperation agreement between the Saudis as well as the Iranians does not seem very likely. Remember, their dispute goes beyond as well as long predates America’s involvement or seeming favoritism to either side.
however if full blown war breaks out directly between the two countries, the idea’s hard to see the U.S. being able to sit the idea out without at least some form increased weapons support as well as different aid. Then the idea will be up to Iran’s possible allies, like Russia as well as China to make the next move.
None of these scenarios are comforting. however the idea’s important to avoid the naive thought which had President Trump as well as This kind of brand-new crown prince not come along, relative peace would certainly have been sustainable for much longer. Instead of hand wringing about what may or may not speed up the inevitable, all reasonable parties need to figure out how to make sure two countries destined to confront each different like Iran as well as Saudi Arabia don’t end up fighting a war more deadly as well as prolonged than what we’ve seen in Syria as well as Yemen for the past several years.
Commentary by Jake Novak, CNBC.com senior columnist. Follow him on Twitter @jakejakeny.
For more insight via CNBC contributors, follow @CNBCopinion on Twitter.