Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Iraq reassigned over death threats

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Iraq reassigned over death threats
Saudi Arabia and Iraq's troubled relations continues, as Riyadh's ambassador to Baghdad is reassigned after a diplomatic row erupted over his claims Shia militias were planning to kill him.
1 min read
16 October, 2016
The ambassador has been criticised in Iraq by Iran-backed militias [youtube]
Saudi Arabia says it has reassigned its ambassador to Iraq to a safer position outside the country, months after he claimed that Iranian-backed Shia militias were plotting to kill him.

A royal decree issued early Sunday from Saudi Arabia's King Salman announced Thamer al-Sabhan would be a minister of state for the Gulf region.

The decree and a brief story on the state-run Saudi Press Agency did not elaborate on the reason for his reassignment.

However, it comes after Iraq asked Saudi Arabia in August to replace Sabhan as it said the ambassador's allegations were without evidence and harmed relations between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia has long been critical of Iran's growing involvement in Iraq and the Shia militia forces that Baghdad has been relying on in its offensives against IS.

Sabhan, who became the first Saudi ambassador to be posted to Iraq for 25 years last year, has often said in media appearances that the Shia militias have been exacerbating tensions with Sunnis.

Shia-led Iran and Sunni-led Saudi Arabia are regional rivals and broke off diplomatic ties in January after several years of frayed relations.