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Is The Saudi Oil Deal An Iranian Ordeal?

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Is the Saudi Arabian oil deal with Pakistan an Iranian ordeal or is it just a Saudi attempt to divert attention from a bigger problem with Teheran?

The Financial Times is suggesting that Saudi Arabia is forking an oil deal with Imran Khan of Pakistan and this is to curb Iran’s influence in the Muslim world. It is the return of the old deal. But the conditions in which the Saudis are accepting to pump Pakistan’s fuel hunger is new.

The oil aid to Pakistan is worth at least $1.5bn annually. It restarts in July, says FT. It also says the move by the Saudis is to counter Iran’s influence in the region.

Iran is also an oil producer but its oil is banned for Pakistan. The Pakistanis launch a regular crackdown on illicit Iran oil entering the country, mostly via Baluchistan.

THE ORDEAL

Pakistan would surely buy Iranian oil. But with the sanction and the diplomatic fight between the Saudis and Qataris, it is impossible for Pakistan to buy Iranian oil. But is that Islamabad’s intentions? Or is Pakistan cornered to stop Iranian oil from flowing in?

But whose ordeal is it? Pakistan’s, Iran’s or the Saudis?

When Imran Khan took power, he portrayed a strong image, that of a leader free from allegiances to the Saudi Arabian royal family. But soon, the shine went off. Pakistan is now bent into following the Saudi Arabians on the international scene.

Forced to repay a $3bn loan last year by the Saudis, Pakistan had no means to raise that amount of cash. Iran is now losing an ally that is still closer to China than any other Muslim nations, besides Teheran of course.

While Iran is losing on this front, the Saudis are not winning. Pakistan is still leaning towards its own independence from the Arab world. But it is finding this difficult. Because independence from Saudi oil money may also mean dependence on Iranian or Qatari oil money.

But accepting Saudi aid should not come without strings. One of the strings, besides joining the Saudi on the international scene (at least for face-saving), the Pakistanis cannot afford missteps.

India is looming with its Hindu radicals in power. The threat of a war with India is real and the Pakistanis have no clue whether China will back them if India attacks!

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