Saudi Arabia is sitting tight while Iraq falls apart, and telling everyone else to do the same. On Wednesday the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, warned outside powers against interfering in Iraq, in a statement thought to be directed at Iran. Reuters reports:
Speaking at a gathering of Arab and Muslim leaders in Jeddah, Prince Saud urged nations racked by violence to meet the “legitimate demands of the people and to achieve national reconciliation (without) foreign interference or outside agendas”.
The Kingdom’s Ambassador to the UK, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud, echoed that statement in the Telegraph:
We oppose all foreign intervention and interference. There must be no meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs, not by us or by the US, the UK or by any other government. This is Iraq’s problem and they must sort it out themselves. Any government that meddles in Iraq’s affairs runs the risk of escalating the situation, creating greater mistrust between the people of Iraq – both Sunni and Shia.
The Ambassador also denied Iraqi President Maliki’s charge that Saudi Arabia is supporting ISIS, saying that “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia supports the preservation of Iraq’s sovereignty, its unity and territorial integrity.”The Saudis are afraid that Western intervention in Iraq will draw the United States and Iran closer together, which might lead to an Iranian hegemony in the region. For now the Kingdom is warning its ally and its enemy: stay put and stay out.