With Saudi investment in the United Kingdom totalling approximately £62 billion it does not take a genius to analyse why David Cameron wishes to cement a firm relationship with King Abdullah and Prince Nayif. Although I do feel that his visit was incited to present a façade of amicability between the Arab world and Europe, a relationship that has been ever strained since the Iraq war, Cameron’s speech regarding Iran whilst visiting Saudi, for me, pinpoints the crux of the trip.
Hostility between Iran and the United Kingdom will not be something that disappears anytime soon. If anything, whilst talking about Iran Cameron urged for the Country’s nuclear disarmament, a proposal that I to agree with. However, the fact that Cameron made reference to not only the European Union, but all the countries of the world to unite against Iran for nuclear disarmament indeed seems to be a bizarre proposal. I write this highlighting Cameron’s inclusiveness of the Middle East and North Africa whilst making this statement which suggests to me that either the British Prime Minister is incredibly naïve with regards to the torrid affiliation between the West and the Middle East or is someone who holds unrealistically high expectations. Either way none fill the criteria of someone who realistically wishes to resolve such an issue in the shortest time possible.
Cameron furthermore stated that Great Britain has been “leading the way” in applying pressure to Iran for nuclear disarmament, a notion that seems somewhat paradoxical as to why he visited Saudi Arabia in the first place. It cannot be denied that Saudi Arabia is one of the major players in the Middle East in terms of its exportation and importation of commodities as well as its key necessity product oil, and it is further leading the way in terms of its trading with Europe. Indeed, its exports to Great Britain yield a higher cumulative total than any other Middle Eastern Country. But Cameron’s outward demonstration of his intolerance towards Iranian hostility whilst on his visit for myself personally, was unwise; after all, and with divisions in political Islam aside, does Cameron believe that Saudi Arabia would choose to form an alliance with Great Britain over Iran? I firmly believe not, yes it is undeniable both leaders of the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia do have vested interests in affirming a harmonious affiliation between their countries but to propose that Saudi Arabia would side with a Christian country against a neighbouring Muslim country is nonsensical. Iran poses no clear and present threat to the United Kingdom, and with British and American ties as strong as they ever were any potential threat would be reciprocated with Western aggression.
In this sense, Cameron’s visit to Saudi Arabia could potentially have been used as a scapegoat to mask the magnitude of the seriousness of Iranian hostility. But for me, the whole fiasco is very poignant, with the risk of war not being unimaginable (although still very unlikely at current) Cameron’s speech showed a reverberation of why Great Britain went into Iraq; invasion based upon a ‘better safe than sorry’ ethos. I am not for one minute suggesting that the United Kingdom and Iran should or could even be the best of friends and there is a greater chance of George Galloway joining the British National Party than this ever happening, but I see an urgency to develop some sort of mutual understanding between the countries. Presently, I would say Saudi-British relations are sound, with Saudi Arabia’s ever mercantile economy prospering from its trading with Great Britain; although this will ultimately lead to a further demarcation between elite and menial citizens of Saudi society, although that is a topic for another discussion. But I suggest Cameron’s ‘threat’ to Iran made on his visit should be greeted not with satisfaction, but with consternation as although there may still be ambiguity as to whether the nuclear disarmament of Iran is necessary, Cameron’s visit ultimately reflects strained Western-Middle Eastern relations, British links with Saudi Arabia superficially ratified by economic gain and the increasing possibility of World War Three.
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