18:55 GMT01 December 2020
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    The escalation of the conflict in Yemen could lead to a Sunni-Shiite war that could go on for generations, according to US-based Executive Intelligence Review Senior Editor Jeff Steinberg.


    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The escalation of the conflict in Yemen could be a destabilizing factor in the negotiations between the P5+1 group of countries and Iran about its nuclear program, US experts told Sputnik.

    “If you get an explosion of violence in the region and the finger is pointed at Iran as if they were the masterminds for the events on the ground in Yemen, this could be another factor of disrupting the P5+1 negotiations,” US-based Executive Intelligence Review Senior Editor Jeff Steinberg told Sputnik.

    The coincidence of the Saudi Arabian-led airstrikes in Yemen and the March 31 deadline for nuclear negotiations with Iran is “noteworthy,” Steinberg added.

    The Saudis are playing a provocative regional role and “wish to escalate a crisis that could lead to a Sunni-Shiite war that could go on for generations,” the counterintelligence expert warned.

    Steinberg further noted that the new leader of Saudi Arabia, King Salman, “may very well be more committed to the notion of the spread of the Wahhabi sphere than his predecessor King Abdullah.”

    US National Democratic Institute Middle East and North Africa Program Director Leslie Campbell also warned that Saudi Arabia could be playing a “mischievous” role in the region.

    The overthrow of Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi by Shia-allied Houthi rebels, “really fits into a handy narrative for Saudi Arabia at the moment,” Campbell said at a Bipartisan Policy Center conference on Yemen on Thursday.

    Campbell continued, “In the context of the nuclear negotiations and the point we are at in the nuclear negotiations, this is really, I think, a handy way for them to amplify this narrative.”

    On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of nine mostly Arab states began airstrikes and military actions to oust the Houthis from the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

    Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir said on Thursday that Saudi Arabia is concerned about the nuclear talks with Iran, and would like to know the details of the agreement before it could judge the impact of the possible Iranian nuclear deal on its security.

    Al-Jubeir also stated that alleged Iranian “interference” into the affairs of neighboring countries is a concern for Saudi Arabia.


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