Murky Saudi Relationship Leaves Pakistan Conflicted On Yemen Conflict

April 12, 2015 9:23 PM

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Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have been engaged in an awkward diplomatic dance this month. The Saudis want Pakistani military support for the fight against Houthi rebels in Yemen. The two countries are old allies, and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has especially close ties to the Saudis. He spent part of his exile in the country. But even though the prime minister controls the armed forces in Pakistan, Sharif has said he would leave the decision on aiding the Saudi campaign to parliament. And on Friday, the Pakistan Parliament voted unanimously to remain neutral. To help us make sense of this, we're turning to Arif Rafiq, an adjunct scholar with the Middle East Institute. He says the Pakistani-Saudi Arabia relationship goes back decades to another conflict with Houthi rebels.

ARIF RAFIQ: In 1969, Pakistani pilots participated in the Saudi offensive inside Yemen to target Houthi rebels, to subdue them and secure the southern border of Saudi Arabia. In the 1980s, Pakistan sent about 15,000 troops to secure Saudi Arabia from internal threats. The Saudis have also come to th...

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