How Saudi Arabia could start World War 3 as it steps up furious rhetoric with Iran

Saturday, November 11, 2017
By Paul Martin

FORGET Kim Jong-un: Saudi Arabia could be the country to start World War 3 as its brash crown prince escalates a long-running feud with Iran.

Sat, Nov 11, 2017

With tensions in the Middle East at boiling point after a series of fiery diplomatic disputes, the region is threatening to erupt after Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman made a bold power grab last week.

Prince Mohammed has been highly praised at home for imprisoning allegedly corrupt high officials and seizing their assets, including members of his own family.

But abroad he has stoked tensions, especially with Iran, bringing other nations into the escalating conflict.

On November 4th, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri shocked the region when he turned up in Saudi capital Riyadh, announcing his resignation on the kingdom’s state TV.

The Financial Times writes he delivered the statement with “the conviction of a kidnap victim”, sparking rumours he was in Riyadh against his will.

The fact that he blamed Iran for destabilising Lebanon through Shia Muslim group Hezbollah was, in any case, in line with the Saudis’ insistence that Iran is responsible for most of the region’s problems.

On the night of Mr Hariri’s resignation, there was a missile aimed at Riyadh that was shot out of the sky over the airport, launched by Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.

It seemed the rhetoric may have touched a nerve.

Prince Mohammed then accused Iran of an “act of war” through state media. Although the missile was fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, the Saudi ruler claimed the aggressive act was controlled by Iran, who smuggled weapons to the militia.

All ground, sea and air access to Yemen has been blocked by the Saudi kingdom following the rocket attack.

Lebanon has also been accused of declaring war against the kingdom over Hezbollah “aggression” – while Hezbollah leaders have returned the accusation.

Saudi minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabham said Hezbollah, a Lebanese political party which also has a military wing dogged by accusations of terrorism, was involved in every “terrorist act” that threatened Saudi Arabia.

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