Saudis Seen Stepping Up Proxy Skirmishes With Iran Across Region

  • Prominent columnist Al Rashid writes in state-owned newspaper
  • Rivalry between Saudi, Iran spans Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon

Saudi Arabia, locked in a struggle for regional dominance with Iran, will have no choice but to create and strengthen militias in countries across the region, a prominent columnist wrote in a state-owned daily.

Direct military conflict with Iran is “something that no one wants’’ unless Iran launches a direct attack on Saudi Arabia, Abdulrahman Al Rashid wrote in the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. With that off the table, “countries will have no choice but to resort to proxies’’ to curb Iran’s influence, he wrote.

“Confrontations will widen with Iran’s unchecked expansion,” he added. “Strengthening local militias in unstable countries remains the only path forward.’’

Sunni-led Saudi Arabia and Shiite-led Iran are on opposite ends of Middle East conflicts that span Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. In the past weekend alone, Iran-backed Houthi rebels launched a missile at the international airport in Riyadh and Lebanon’s prime minister abruptly resigned in an announcement from Saudi Arabia, blaming Iranian meddling in his country’s affairs.

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