Saudi Arabia vs Iran: much more than a religious war

To see the difficulty our rolling-news, think-piecing era has with complexity, especially political and historical complexity, look no further than the response to the growing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

This geopolitical quake, this long-brewing stand-off between the two greatest powers in the Middle East, speaks profoundly to the hollowing-out of the old power structures in that part of the world, and more importantly to an exhaustion of politics as we once knew it. And yet how is it being discussed? As a straight-up religious war. As a hidden history of inter-Islamist conflict magically surfacing in the second decade of the 21st century. It is a failure of historical depth to view the conflict in this narrow way.

  • ntt1

    This is a war between two muslim factions , in order to choose a side, if pressed.,It would be advantageous to compare some tenets and levels of civility between the two arms of the death cult.
    Remember shiites are constrained by the teachings of Ayatollah Khomeini. the old boy took a firm stand on screwing a goat then eating it for dinner,pious shia’s are directed to sell the goat to apostates in a nearby town after intimacy.
    On the other hand the far less civil sunnis have no such fatwas to guide them . The effete perfumed saudis are quite free to carry on with any available livestock including south-east asian nannies and maids. A simple charge of witchcraft with its death by beheading punishment will silence all slaves and barn yard creatures even the goats..
    The only thing supporting the Saudi tribal brigands is oil revenue, if that was reduced or gone the reversion to inter-dune warfare would return immediately.

    • Solo712

      On a little more substantive note, the Sunni vs.Shia split to a great extent parallels the Arab vs non-Arab tensions in the Muslim world. Farsi-speaking Persia has been historically the leader in the struggle against the Arabic supremacists. It started with the overthrow of the Umayyads by the Abbasids in the ninth century. The interesting thing about this is that the great majority of the leading scientists and philosophers of the Islamic golden age (8-13 centuries) hailed from Persia. The Iranians (and to a great extent, Egyptians also) feel culturally superior to the peninsula Arabs whom they consider desert primitives.