Iran and Saudi Arabia: The Showdown Between Islam’s Rival Powers

The rule of thumb in the Middle East is that diplomacy often—too often—makes progress only to be overtaken by unforeseen violence on the ground. It’s happening again. Tensions between the Islamic world’s rival powers—the Sunni monarchy of Saudi Arabia and the Shiite theocracy in Iran—that erupted over the New Year’s weekend now jeopardize a string of fragile peace initiatives: Peace talks on Syria (the political complement to the military campaign against the Islamic State) are set to begin January 25th. The Iran nuclear deal was expected to be implemented this month. Iraq is trying to consolidate its first military and political gains against ISIS, which were achieved last month. And a three-week ceasefire in Yemen’s ruthless civil war collapsed on January 2nd, endangering a second round of peace talks scheduled for this month. These initiatives are essential to the international effort to reconstruct the disintegrating map of the Middle East.

  • Alain

    Is this not déjà vu except that it was Iran and Iraq.

    • terrence

      Yup – same old same old sunni vs shiite

  • Exile1981

    popcorn please.

  • canminuteman

    With any luck there will be an all out world wide shiite sunni war. We can arm both sides then get the beer and popcorn out.

    • mobuyus

      And buy futures in raw Goat.

  • Ron MacDonald

    Let them go at it, the price of oil will rise as will the Canadian dollar.

  • mobuyus

    Wake me when this is over.

  • Minicapt

    What if no disintegration occurs?


  • Brian Jones

    I think Kathy said it best: can’t they both lose?