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Farzin Nadimi, Washington Institute for Near East Policy: Iran and Saudi Arabia Are on a Collision Course

To prevent recent airline and shipping incidents from escalating into a wider military confrontation with Iran, all sides will need to exercise great caution in the Persian Gulf and the skies over Yemen.

On April 28, Saudi-led coalition aircraft bombed runways at Yemen's al-Rahaba Airport to prevent an Iranian Airbus A310 plane from landing there. The Sana airport is currently controlled by Houthi/Zaidi forces with close ties to Shiite Iran, and the plane belonged to Mahan Air, a company affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. At the controls was a famously reckless ex-IRGC cargo pilot who had stubbornly ignored orders from Saudi F-15 crews to change course, spurring the runway strikes that rendered the airport inoperable and eventually forced him to turn back.

WNU Editor: They are divided by ethnicity, religion, history, politics, and how they see themselves and what is their role in the Middle East. The surprise is not that they are on a collision course .... the surprise is that they have not yet collided directly .... especially in the past year.

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