Saudi Arabia vows to support Iraq against Iranian ‘violation’
RIYADH - Saudi Arabia has reiterated its condemnation of the Iranian attacks last week on two air bases in Iraq housing international coalition troops fighting Islamic State, vowing to stand by its Arab neighbour against any "threat to its security".
The kingdom’s official Saudi Press Agency SPA quoted the Saudi cabinet as saying in a statement after its meeting on 14 January that the kingdom "renews its condemnation and denunciation of the Iranian aggression and its violation of the Iraqi sovereignty" by targeting the air bases.
The statement added that Saudi Arabia "stands by brotherly Iraq to overcome everything that threatens its security and stability and its Arab affiliation."
Iran had launched missile attacks on two Iraqi bases in retaliation to Washington's targeted killing of Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Al-Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp.
The Saudi cabinet statement reiterated Riyadh's call on the international community "to work to compel Iran to respect the sovereignty of states in the Middle East, to respect international laws and conventions and to stop undermining regional security."
The condemnation by the Saudi cabinet came after similar efforts by Riyadh at the United Nations Security Council on January 12, in which the Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the UN, Ambassador Abdullah bin Yahya Al-Mouallimi gave a speech expressing the kingdom’s condemnation of Iran’s violation of the sovereignty of Iraq stressing that it will always stand with Iraq.
On January 9, Saudi Arabia’ Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman, Tweeted that Saudi Arabia and its leadership “always stand with brotherly Iraq and its dear people and will do everything in its power to spare it the danger of war and conflict between external parties.”
The Deputy Defence Minister expressed hope that the Iraqi people will again enjoy prosperity “after what they have endured in the past.”
“Everyone who loves Iraq today wants the country to avoid the disturbances and all that negatively affects its security and stability,” he tweeted.
Saudi Arabia has been working to ensure that Iraq returns to the Arab fold and efforts to engage have been ongoing for a number of years.
The drive kicked off in February 2017 when the then- Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir made a surprise visit to Baghdad, the first by a high-ranking Saudi official since 2003. In June of the same year, the then Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi met with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
In October 2017 Riyadh and Baghdad announcement that they have agreed to open shared border crossings, resume full-time flights, and reopen the Saudi consulate as a part of its diplomatic mission in Iraq.
And in February 2018 in a conference held in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and a number of international donors pledged billions to help Iraq in its reconstruction efforts following its domestic efforts to eradicate the country from the Islamic state, a donor conference attended by Iran in which it pledged nothing.