Skip to main content

Pakistan declines to join Saudi Arabia's anti-Iran alliance

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has rejected, at least for now, Saudi Arabia's entreaties for Pakistani troops to help guard the Saudi border with northern Yemen, controlled by Iranian-backed Houthi Shiite forces.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attends the closing session of 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Kathmandu November 27, 2014. A brief meeting between India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart appears to have salvaged a summit of South Asian leaders, with all eight countries clinching a last-minute deal to create a regional electricity grid.
 REUTERS/Niranjan Shrestha/Pool (NEPAL - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4FUCN

Saudi Arabia's campaign to build a broad Sunni alliance to contain Iran has apparently suffered at least a setback from Pakistan. Islamabad has opted, at least for now, to avoid becoming entangled in the sectarian cold war between Riyadh and Tehran.

Earlier this month, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was invited to the kingdom for urgent talks with King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and his advisers. The king met Sharif at the airport to underscore the importance of the talks. The main topic was Iranian aggression in the Arab world and the impending deadline for the P5+1 negotiations on Iran's nuclear project. The king wanted firm assurances from Sharif that Pakistan would align itself with Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies against Iran, especially in the proxy war now underway in Yemen.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.

Subscribe

Only $100 for annual access.