We observe with alarm that an intimidating spectre of war looms large over the horizon in the Middle East region. The entire region seems to have turned into a tinderbox, ready to explode any moment. Any single spark may lead to devastating warfare and draw the nearby nations and behind-the-screen big powers into the whirlpool of a major conflict.
The two arch-rivals – the Islamic Republic of Iran and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – are already at loggerheads and engaged in so called proxy wars over expanding spheres of influence in the Middle East, north and north east Africa, as well as parts of Central and South Asian regions. These two adversaries are said to be providing varying degrees of support to conflicting parties engaged in the civil wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen and disputes in the nearby and far-off countries.That only Iran and KSA are engaged in proxy wars is not the entirety of the Middle East drama; these two regional powers are reportedly backed by Russia and China, and USA respectively. So, in the final analysis, any conflict in the ME region is a miniature manifestation of conflicts among the big powers.
Last week’s attacks on Saudi oil pumping stations and the sabotage in four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers off the UAE coast should be put against the overall perspective in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of ordering the operations but the latter has denied involvement in either of the actions. However, any such allegation and counter allegation bear the potential of unleashing a fully-scale war, involving outside powers.
However, it is a matter of hope that Saudi Arabia has said on Sunday that it is ready to do what it can to prevent a war, while Iran has also dismissed the possibility of any confrontation. We are hopeful that good sense will prevail. We strongly expect that, for the greater interests of the people of the entire region, Iran and KSA would guard against becoming pawns in the hands of outside forces; they should exercise utmost restraint and act prudently to avert confrontation because wars of any scale will be of no benefit for the countries of the Middle East; it will rather serve the interests of foreign forces only.