The rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia has triggered new momentum in the Gulf region. Now Tehran is announcing the formation of a broad naval alliance. That could change the balance of power in the region.
Iran says it is about to form a naval alliance with countries like Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Iranian media quoted Naval Commander Sharam Irani as saying that the countries have realized that only cooperation will bring security to the region. “Then we will witness that our region will be liberated from unauthorized forces. The people of the region will play a dominant role in security by deploying their own soldiers.”
Follow the rapprochement of Saudi Arabia and Iran
According to Irani, the alliance will be established soon. Details on the structure of the alliance were not given. The states participating in the alliance are also said to include the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, India, Pakistan and Iraq. There was initially no confirmation of the new alliance from the respective countries.
In March, Iran and Saudi Arabia came closer with mediation from China: As part of an agreement, the states agreed to resume their relations. In it, they stressed the need for regional stability and economic cooperation. This rapprochement has thwarted Israel’s efforts to diplomatically isolate Iran.
Threatens the US loss of influence on the gulf?
The USA – Iran’s archenemy – also has a naval presence in the Gulf with the Fifth Fleet. The headquarters are on the island nation of Bahrain. From there, the US Navy patrols the region’s waters and regularly inspects ships in international waters, for example for possible arms deliveries. The United Arab Emirates recently announced their intention to withdraw from the international naval partnership with the United States. The Emirates justified the step with an evaluation of the cooperation between their partners.
Strait of Hormuz as a focus of conflict
In the past there have always been military incidents in the Gulf. This triggered some violent political tensions. In particular, the Strait of Hormuz, an approximately 55-kilometer-wide strait between Iran and Oman, is one of the most important shipping routes for global oil exports – and thus a constant source of conflict.