Disagreements in the Middle East Grow into Direct Arguments that Undermine International Energy Economies

The race between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been going on for several decades. However, the EIU Limited Report for 2018 is escalating at this point and there is a minor but noteworthy threat of direct conflict between the two nations over the next years, as the broader area becomes more split between the two parties.

In the past, the geopolitical decisions of Saudi Arabia in the area have been guarded and sensitive, usually counting on U.S. for security support. However, with the increased risk of a growing Iran together with a much more confident younger age group of Saudi Arabian policy generators driven by the prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud aged 32, this norm is overturned. Al Saud has been managing a Saudi Arabian military action in Yemen for three years and the boycotting of their bystander Qatar, for 1 year, in an effort to mitigate Iranian power and impact.

Adding fuel to the fire and assertive plans adopted by Saudi Arabia is the alienating and uncertain U.S. plans for a Middle East intervention. The act of the former United States president, Barack Obama, to seize back U.S. influence in the area and participate in diplomacy discussions with Iran, gradually paving the way for a 2015 nuclear agreement, has played a role in the decision of Saudi Arabia to become more assertive in boycotting Iran.

With Trump trumping up his provocative propaganda and extending one-sided embargoes on Iran, the U.S. is now fueling conflict in the area. Specifically, Trump’s remarks supporting protesters in Iran have infuriated the Iranian state, stating unsolicited foreign intervention in its affairs. Additionally, the decision by Saudi Arabia and allied nations to oppose Qatar towards the middle of 2017 emerged soon after Trump’s coming to Saudi Arabia, in which, as it appears to be, he expressed his support for such moves.

However, beyond placing pressure on Iran and alienating Qatar, the opposition has made the two nations to get closer, with Turkey also approaching this collaboration, as evidenced by its military appearance in Qatar. This, on the opposite is aiding the growth of a Saudi Arabia-UAE-Egypt zone, emphasizing how the Saudi-Iranian opposition is fueling and cementing alienations within the area, as nations are pushed to choose sides. This implies that any nation with potentially contrasting interests in the opposition, would probably endure an undermined proxy opposition in the mediator term, either via collateral military intervention or funding of opposing political movements.

The worst that could happen from these proxy conflicts is the provocation of a broader turmoil in the Gulf area, with the prospect of placing Iran and Saudi Arabia against each other, closing down the Strait of Hormuz and disabling international energy economies. At a time when the report anticipated international oil stockpiles to decrease, any barrier to supply from the Gulf would quickly lead to a rise in prices and would gradually cripple international growth potential to a great extent.