Washington Is Conflicted Over Unexpected Alliance
Saudi Arabia and Iran have joined forces to mediate tensions in Lebanon in an odd turn of events that is sure to addle the Bush administration. While the U.S. strongly opposes Iran’s regional influence, Saudi Arabia is but the latest American ally to cozy up to Tehran in the interest of stability.
New York Times:
Leaders of Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed party trying to overthrow Lebanon’s government, have recently visited the Saudi king in Riyadh, according to officials who attended the meeting. And Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi chief security adviser, has met with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Larijani, in Riyadh and Tehran to try to stop Lebanon’s slide into civil war.
“The only hope is for the Iranians and Saudis to go further in easing the situation and bringing people back to the negotiating table,” said Radwan Sayyed, an adviser to Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.
The Saudi-Iranian efforts have put Washington in an awkward position, since it is trying to reduce Iran’s regional influence. But since a stable Lebanon is also an American priority, American officials have watched the efforts without interfering.