Sectarianism will prolong Iraq instability - Saudi

  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share

Saudi Arabia on Saturday warned Iraq against sectarian extremism after two weeks of protests by Sunni Muslims against Baghdad's Shi'ite-led government.

The street protests across Iraq's Sunni heartland have strained the Arab state's fragile political balance and renewed fears of intensified sectarian strife.

"We are convinced that Iraq will not stabilise until it starts handling issues without sectarian extremism... Until these issues are addressed, we don't think there will ever be stability in Iraq, which pains us," Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told a news conference in Riyadh.

Iraq's Arab majority is mostly Shi'ite but the country was dominated by Sunnis under former strongman Saddam Hussein and much of the fighting since he was deposed has fallen along sectarian lines.

Sunni Saudi Arabia has a tense relationship with Baghdad and senior princes have previously described Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki as being in hock to Shi'ite Iran, in comments to US diplomats released by WikiLeaks.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, is locked in a struggle for regional influence with fellow OPEC-member Iran, backing opposing sides in Syria and Lebanon, where Shi'ite parties are allied to Tehran.

Riyadh also accuses Tehran of fomenting unrest in Bahrain and Yemen, and of instigating protests among Saudi Arabia's own Shi'ite minority, charges Iran denies.

Former Saudi intelligence head Prince Muqrin described Maliki as "an Iranian 100 percent" in comments to visiting US officials relayed in a July 2008 embassy cable released by the WikiLeaks website.

Related:
Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Saudi Arabia rewrites its oil game with refining might

Saudi Arabia rewrites its oil game with refining might

Gulf kingdom now has stakes in more than 5 million barrels per...

How to get the most out of social media, by Obama's 2008 campaign manager

How to get the most out of social media, by Obama's 2008 campaign manager

David Plouffe is credited with Barack Obama’s unlikely 2008 victory...

King's absence from US summit shows Saudi upset over Iran push

King's absence from US summit shows Saudi upset over Iran push

Analysts and diplomats in the Middle East describe King Salman...

Most Popular
Most Discussed