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SAUDI-PAKISTANI ALLIANCE?

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A New Mideast Power Duo?
By Harold Hutchison

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have been drawing closer, particularly due to the Obama Administration’s failure to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions. This has become noticeable in recent weeks, as Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Saudi crown prince who also serves as defense minister and deputy prime minister.

“To counter Iran’s influence, Saudi Arabia has often looked towards Pakistan’s help,” Sarfraz Khan, the chairman of the Area Study Center at the University of Peshawar, told VOA’s Deewa Radio.

“Iran is seeking to be a nuclear power and Saudi Arabia as a regional power, cannot ignore this," Ali Sherazi, Pakistan’s former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, told Deewa Radio.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was allowed to stay in Saudi Arabia after the 1999 coup lead by Pervez Musharraf that deposed him, and has close ties to that country’s government. “During former President Zardari’s tenure relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were not really warm but as we know that PM Sharif has good relations with the Saudi ruling family and that further strengthens the bilateral ties,” Mehmood Shah, a former Pakistani army brigadier and senior official in Pakistan’s intelligence agency, told Deewa Radio.