Heated Haters Hold Hush-Hush Heart-to-Heart
Iran and Saudi Arabia, two of the Muslim world’s fiercest foes, have been conducting secret direct negotiations in Iraq in recent days, five years after severing diplomatic ties, the Financial Times revealed on Sunday. According to the bombshell report, a Saudi delegation, led by intelligence chief Khalid bin Ali al-Humaidan, discussed the ongoing bloody Yemeni conflict with top Iranian officials, in talks mediated by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. Additional meetings are scheduled for next week, Baghdad sources said, while also claiming their government has facilitated similar communication channels between Tehran and Egypt, as well as Jordan. “It’s moving faster because the US talks [related to the nuclear deal] are moving faster and [because of] the Houthi attacks,” the official told the Financial Times. The two Muslim powers, Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Iran, have been indirectly battling it out in recent years in several regional arenas, with the civil war in Yemen serving as the central stage for proxy fighting. While the previous White House administration struck a clear pro-Riyadh stance, current US President Joe Biden has indicated he will lift sanctions on Iran in return for compliance with nuclear restrictions, and “recalibrate” US-Saudi relations.