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Sunni-Shi'a Conflict
Will War Come Home for the House of Saud?

Iran has been taking to the airwaves in its support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Delivering coverage in Farsi, Arabic, and English, Iran’s propaganda efforts have included showing video clips comparing King Salman to Saddam Hussein with shots of crying Yemeni children interspersed. As an analyst at the European Council for Foreign Relations put it, “the Iranians don’t have much to lose and a lot to gain from the ongoing conflict and the sense that the Saudis and their allies are sinking into a deeper quagmire.”

While it’s bad enough to be knee-deep in a war next door with nothing to show for it, Saudi Arabia faces a greater danger: a Sunni-Shi’a conflict, or at the very least a Shi’a insurgency, inside Saudi territory. The Yemen-bordering province of ‘Asir, which the Kingdom seized back in the 1930s, has a minority population of ethnic Yemeni Shi’a. That’s the place to watch in the coming months, as the Saudi bombs keep falling.

In the Kingdom as a whole, the Sunni majority’s emotions are running hot against Shi’a in general over the war in Yemen and Iran’s machinations there and in Syria. Saudi ISIS operatives have blown themselves up in Shi’a mosques, which has the Shi’a creating their own militias. Whether or not Iran’s propaganda efforts spill over the border, the rising temperature of sectarian conflict could bring the war home for the House of Saud.

And Iran, soon to escape the yoke of Western sanctions, wants to see the Saudis boil.

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  • Jmaci

    WRM and company, you write: “And Iran, soon to escape the yoke of Western sanctions, wants to see the Saudis boil.”
    Is it then fair to say that Obama and Kerry also want to see the Saudis boil? What possible benefit/legacy do our two brave negotiators expect to gain from attaching their names to a even wider conflict in the Middle East. Please explain.

    • Tom

      They don’t think there will be a wider conflict in the Middle East.

    • rheddles

      Perhaps you have missed what is between the lines. We are aligned with the Iranians. Even the Saudis have figured that out. That is why the Saudi king is going to Moscow.

      After all where did Valerie Jarrett grow up?

    • fastrackn1

      “What possible benefit/legacy do our two brave negotiators expect to gain from attaching their names to a even wider conflict in the Middle East. Please explain.”

      Lots of administrations have made geopolitical mistakes over the years, some worse than this, so that’s a moot point….

  • FriendlyGoat

    If would really be better for all of them to just abandon both versions of Islam, but they won’t, of course.

  • Ellen

    Just yesterday, Prince Alwaleed the Saudi billionaire, published a comment in which he said the Arabs should stop peddling anti-Semitism in the Middle East and the world, because it has not produced the desired effect. Instead, they should welcome Israel to the brotherhood of MidEast countries (or some such formulation). Now, what is that all about, after 70 years of Saudi-subsidized hatred of Israel?

    This must be a signal that the Saudi royal family is fearing the end of their rule soon, and somehow they think flattering the Israelis will save them. It won’t. It’s too late for them, regardless of whether they support hatred of Israel or not. That a prince is even saying such heresies (with the support of the king, he said), though, tells you how desperate the al Saud must be.

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