Iran and Saudi Arabia: Where Does the United States Really Stand?

There needs to be clear, concise articulation from the United States regarding its strategy in the Middle East, and it needs to happen soon. War could easily break out any moment between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which will call for our intentions and relations to be obvious, and currently necessary directions are needed in the region for us to have any kind of backbone and charge as a world leader. Our policy regarding the Middle East has been inconsistent and muddled, to put things mildly. Bahrain hosts the United State's 5th fleet, our main naval base in the Gulf, a region that we need critical access to. We have witnessed Iranians be stampeded, executed and scapegoated left and right; the outside world has now begun to suffer from the filthy hands of growing ISIS terror, all while our politicians publicly talk about notions of democracy, nuclear deals and freedom being a priority.

Now is not the time to remain coy about our alliances -- for the sake of the various elements we want to engage in, short-term, with both forces. Fanning the flames of frienemies' for the sake of questionable oil profits makes less and less sense by the day. In the last few weeks, our congress sent mixed messages to Iran with the amendments to the VWP HR-158 after our nuclear deal with the country was being set into motion. We need to strengthen the deal with them, and to pass sanctions on missile authorizations. The world at large wants to fight ISIS, and to resolve the Syrian war issue. For these things to occur, the U.S. needs clarity with communication from a supportive Iranian government. As a second-string partner with America, Saudi Arabia should take heed of the United States' interests and not throw unbridled sabotaging techniques into our proactive negotiations with Iran for the sake of extremist ideologies and last attempts at a last ditch effort for prime-time world stage presence. The United States should also state more clearly what the punishments or results would be for playing into the hands of such unacceptable behavior not only from Saudis but with the Iranian hardliners, especially before February's important parliament and guardian council elections there. The time for smoke and mirrors is coming to a close, globally, and it is obvious that Iran is being turned into a scapegoat boogeyman by the Saudis and their allies (including United States Republicans). Human rights violations from Saudi Arabia must be kept in check.

It was a short-sighted, blatant distraction from Saudi Arabia's horrid inner state of governmental affairs and lack of democracy to kill a prominent Shia Cleric, and was a slap in the face to Iran and the U.S. alike, with whom Iran is thawing relations. The vandalization of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran by the Iranian public is no doubt a hostile act, but Iranian government has arrested the 40 culprits and is trying them justly in a court of law. There has been no justice for the Saudi Arabians' murder of leading Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr on January 2, or for the huge drama they are now trying to carry out across the Middle East. The United States has, of course, recently made clear that it did not condone more senseless violence, yet the Saudis went ahead anyway. Easing tensions for the sake of fighting ISIS was supposed to be one of the modern world's priorities at this juncture. Their inflated response to the Embassy vandalization is a reflection of their desire to thwart Iran's geopolitical relations and glaring potential. By cutting ties so vehemently and quickly with the Shiitte country, it is clear that their competition is very much thriving, and more than just alive as it has been for decades. The Saudis are creating a giant theatrical world distraction so that they can maybe get a leg up and seem like a powerful player in the Middle East. If they abruptly collect their alliances and make two clear sides to choose from and invest with, they can maybe turn a blind eye to the messy state of their own affairs.

Although the U.S. publicly hoped for decency and compromise between the two rival powers that have so much sway in the Middle East, sectarian divisions and proxy wars will now be fueled further, leaving the question of: what is the United States' stance? Do we need to be fake with Saudi Arabia for oil much longer, when their dependence on oil wealth has led them down a road of huge deficit? I don't think so. We also have huge promise in our own country for oil, and may need to strengthen ties with Iran and work on our nuclear deal with a country that has true world leadership potential, if they don't fall into the trap being so blatantly put in front of them in a time of unsurety.