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Strike two?
Herding Sunni Cats

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is in Pakistan on a two-day visit, meeting with both Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif. The key subject on the agenda is Yemen, as all eyes are on Islamabad to see whether it will get involved in the Saudi-led war there. So far, the Pakistanis have been careful to stay out despite Riyadh’s direct pleas to lend troops and materiel to the fight. Strike one for the Saudis.

The latest news is that Turkey, too, is not exactly playing ball:

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Egypt should free ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi from jail and lift death sentences against his supporters before Ankara could consider an improvement in relations with Cairo. […]

“Mr Mursi is a president elected by 52 percent of the votes. They should give him his freedom,” Erdogan was quoted by Turkish newspapers as telling reporters traveling on his plane as he returned from an official visit to Iran.

The Saudis have never been as deft at geopolitical intrigue and diplomacy as they have been with doling out cash and buying allies. Money, however, will only get you so far. Its hoped-for united Sunni front is not exactly off to a spectacular start, and it remains very questionable whether the divided Sunnis in the region can in fact develop a unified and coherent stance to counter Iran.

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  • FriendlyGoat

    One wonders what Saudi Arabia can buy from North Korea.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    The problem for Saudi assumption of Sunni leadership, is the huge number of other contenders to the Muslim throne (The Caliph). Erdogan is never going to give even the appearance of Saudi leadership, he also isn’t going to give Egypt a leading role which would undercut his dream of being the Caliph.

  • gabrielsyme

    It is to be wondered just how desirable a “united Sunni front” would be, given the increasing willingness of Sunnis to engage in sectarian violence.

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