Tuesday, November 15, 2022

The Sunni-Shia Cold War: The Origins and Evolution of the Saudi Hegomony

    Tuesday, November 15, 2022   No comments

There has been a Sunni-Shia cold war going on since 1979, but hardly anyone talked about it in those terms. That is because, in part, the rulers of Saudi Arabia chose to conduct this cold war through proxies or from the shadows. Then, Wikileaks ended the Saudi rulers' abilities to project power and influence, especially as a Sunni moderate power, in secret and the rise of the young, ambitious prince, MBS as he is known, to power while his father is still the nominal figurehead allowed them to deflect blame for any and all missteps. However, during a long tv interview in 2017, MBS revealed all the cards: He described his clash with Iran as an existential one because he sees Iranian leaders and Shia, in general, as irrational actors who hold on to messianic belief about the coming of a savior--which makes them unworthy of dialogue and diplomacy.

Wikileaks' documents described the Saudi war on Iran from behind the scene succinctly and clearly. The Saudi leaders, according to the diplomatic cables, while publicly expressing dialogue with Iran, pushed US and European leaders to go after the "head of the snake", instead of fighting Iran's proxies. The framed it as a need to liberate Iran, as Biden said recently, they wanted the West to unleash a direct war on Iran, not rely just on sanctions. Those revelations forced Saudi and Emariti leaders to emerge from the shadows and attack Iran directly--but not militarily of course. They focused instead on a strategy that aims to unravel the entire political system of Iran from within. 

The new "leak" of documents from UAE shows how the strategy was developed and executed. The Lebanese newspaper, Alakhbar, produced a dossier about these developments. Other researchers and observers have compiled more evidence about the Saudi investment in media assets to realize their goals: the paralysis and destruction of the Iranian system of governance through internal Iranian actors.

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From Alakhbar Dossier about Saudi-UAE Leaks: When Mohammed bin Salman stated the above sentence, in answer to Dawood Al-Sheryan's question about dialogue with Iran, he was announcing what was not usual in Saudi foreign policy, in what was termed "transferring the battle to the Iranian interior." Many at the time, when interpreting what Ibn Salman said, said that Riyadh would resort to what it used to do in terms of employing ISIS cells and the operations that separatist movements in Sistan-Baluchestan had long carried out in the Iranian depths. However, in the documents obtained by Al-Akhbar, it becomes clear that Ibn Salman meant targeting the Iranian interior, through a plan to influence the Iranian youth group, in parallel with the intensification of the discourse of demonizing Iran, directed at the Arab and Islamic audiences.


“We will not wait for the battle to be in Saudi Arabia, but rather we will work so that the battle for them is in Iran and not in Saudi Arabia.”
Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia
Mohammed bin Salman

3 May 2017

On the morning of January 2, 2016, the world woke up to the news of the execution of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr and a group of al-Qatifi youth, along with a group of Saudi officials and cadres of al-Qaeda. Angry reactions continued inside and outside Salman’s kingdom, and the night of that day closed. On the scene of the burning of the buildings of the Saudi diplomatic mission in Iran by angry Iranian youths.


Four days later, on January 6, the Emirati National Media Council was presenting to representatives of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain a proposed plan that he called the “media strategy for dealing with the Iranian file”, which developed in subsequent years, in coordination with the Americans, to become the “plan to undermine Iran.” From the inside.”

The proposal for the media strategy put forward by the Minister of State and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Media Council in the UAE, Sultan Al Jaber, stated that the goal behind it is to “build a public opinion hostile to Iranian policies from the internal and external public,” and that the strategy “centers on the political dimension and away from the sectarian discourse that It may weaken the public media discourse if it is relied upon. And most importantly, “the results of the strategy should be achieved after years.” In the initial proposal, as document No. 1 shows, the target audience is regional public opinion, Gulf public opinion, domestic public opinion inside Iran (the Iranian people and non-Persian Iranian minorities in particular), and the Iranian opposition abroad and at home. It is noteworthy in the “implementation partners” paragraph that the Emiratis mentioned the “Organization of Islamic Cooperation” as a partner in implementing the strategy, along with the official Gulf entities, the League of Arab States, and Iranian think tanks and opposition, noting that the Islamic Republic of Iran is an original member of the aforementioned organization whose decision-making is dominated by Saudi Arabia and harnessed. interests since its inception.

Read full dossier (Ar)...

 

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Terrorism attacks in Iran that go unreported in Western Media













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