Negotiating as an option to resolve the political and security crisis between the United States and Iran, put forward by President Donald Trump without any preconditions, shocked everyone, nevertheless it came according to secret data, information and letters, as Abdulrahman Al-Rashed underlined in his article “Trump’s surprise: Negotiating with Rouhani,” especially since Omani mediators are most likely acting behind curtains for fear of the deterioration of security which can affect the stability of shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.
As much as some observers and political analysts worry about the possibility of a relative Iranian-American rapprochement, the dialogue between the two countries will fall within the interests of the Middle East and its stability, and it will certainly be according to terms that are much stricter than those adopted under President Barack Obama.
Saudi Arabia is not against resolving the present problems with Iran; nevertheless it wants Iran to stop meddling in internal affairs of other countries and stop financing armed militias.Hassan Al Mustafa
The Gulf States will not be the losing party in this dialogue. The Saudi kingdom and the UAE in particular are capable of coordinating with the United States to protect their national interests. The two countries also have enough diplomatic tools that make it possible for them to create a balance with Tehran and to have an influential word.
The conflict with Iran is not an inevitable destiny, and the Gulf States are not fond of war. Therefore, if it is possible to achieve the interests, security and stability of the region through serious and transparent dialogue and as long as it’s not a time-wasting dialogue that’s full of empty promises, then this will have a positive effect on the stability and development of the Gulf with its two sides.
Avoiding military confrontation
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal in March 2018, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman clearly stated: “We have to succeed so as to avoid military conflict. If we don’t succeed in what we are trying to do, we will likely have war with Iran in 10-15 years.”
The Kingdom is not against resolving the present problems with Iran; nevertheless it wants Iran to stop meddling in internal affairs of other countries, stop financing armed militias and not threaten the borders by supporting the launch of ballistic missiles into the kingdom from Yemen. As such, the Kingdom is working to stop any slippage that could result in a direct confrontation between the two parties.
The financial drainage, the Sunni-Shiite conflict, terrorist organizations and the spread of extremist ideology are all difficult problems that would be easier to solve if an Iranian-American-Gulf dialogue is fruitful in accordance to a clear roadmap that fulfills everyone’s interests, builds a regional safety net, promotes trust and strengthens relations between the concerned countries.
It is true that the dialogue may not work, and it will be very difficult and challenging, but it is the best available political option. If President Hassan Rouhani convinces
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards of the importance of responding to President Trump's invitation and if they succeed in agreeing with him, he will have fulfilled an achievement that allows Iran to mitigate its revolutionary burden, even if it is according to the Chinese way. It will also help Iran integrate with its surroundings; otherwise, Iran will face difficult domestic problems and great external pressure that may lead to the worst!
This article is also available in Arabic.
Hassan AlMustafa is Saudi journalist with interest in middle east and Gulf politics. His writing focuses on social media, Arab youth affairs and Middle Eastern societal matters. His twitter handle is @halmustafa.