Rabid Saudi America requests urgent Arab League meeting amid regional tensions
The Arab League is set to hold an extraordinary meeting of foreign ministers in Cairo next week at the request of Saudi Arabia amid tensions with Iran and Qatar.
According to a document shown to AFP by diplomats, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) supported the Saudi request, which was also approved by Djibouti, the current chair of the pan-Arab bloc.
According to the memo, the Saudi request came in the wake of a November 4 incident where the kingdom said a missile had been intercepted by its air defense near Riyadh after being fired from Yemen.
Yemeni forces, backed by the Houthi Ansarullah movement, had launched a Borkan H2 long-range missile at the King Khalid International Airport in northeastern Riyadh, the first to reach the Saudi capital.
The US and Saudi Arabia accused Tehran and the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah of helping the Yemenis against the Saudi-led coalition that has been bombing the impoverished Arab country since March 2015.
Tehran has dismissed the accusations as baseless, with President Hassan Rouhani warning that the Islamic Republic’s “might” would fend off any challenge.
In its request for the meeting of the Arab foreign ministers, Saudi Arabia also decried what it described as “sabotage” over a pipeline fire in Bahrain on Friday that temporarily halted oil supplies from its territory.
Iran has dismissed Bahrain’s allegation linking the Islamic Republic to the oil pipeline fire near the capital, Manama.
On Sunday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi vehemently dismissed the accusation as “delusional.”
The plan for the extraordinary Arab League meeting comes as Riyadh has for its part been accused of being behind last weekend’s resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, which took place during a televised address from Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia has also been at the forefront of a dispute with Qatar. Back in June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the UAE imposed a trade and diplomatic embargo on Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, an allegation strongly denied by Doha.
The Saudi-led quartet presented Qatar with a list of demands and gave it an ultimatum to comply with them or face consequences.
Qatar, however, refused to meet the demands and denounced them as unreasonable.
The Arab League also suspended Syria’s membership in November 2011, citing an alleged crackdown by Damascus on opposition protests. Syria denounced the move as “illegal and a violation of the organization’s charter.”