By Hakim Khatib
Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been increasing recently. Although the narrative developed to describe the execution of a Saudi Shiite cleric, Nimr Al-Nimr, as a sectarian dimension of the Kingdom’s policies towards Iran, Saudi Arabia’s goals are not principally fuelling the Shiite-Sunni divide. The Saudi executions were partially an attempt by Saudi Arabia to severe ties with Iran and push the tensions forward. Lifting sanctions against Iran, coupled with oil prices plummeting to around $32 per barrel remains a frightening nightmare for the Saudis.
Following the execution of Al-Nimr, diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran trembled. Iran promised Saudi Arabia that it would pay a high price over the execution of Al-Nimr, whereas the latter described the Iranian criticism of its judicial system as “blatant interference” in its internal affairs.
by Hakim Khatib
When the Iranian revolution embarked against Muhammad Reza Shah’s regime in the late 70s, it wasn’t a social revolution aiming at changing the society, but rather a political one with legitimate demands similar to what Syrians once were looking forward to achieve in 2011. When all this started in Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the most central and inspirational figure in the Iranian revolution was still in exile. This is a story that happened 35 years ago and we cannot but see the rhyming of its events with the current Syrian imbroglio.
von Alexander Sami Lang
The bloody rebellion in Syria has aroused hostilities between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, a religious conflict that dates back to the first Muslim civil war and the Battle of Siffin in 657 AD which took place on the banks of the Euphrates river, in what is now Ar-Raqqah, Syria. Today we see how the conflict is again spreading from Syria to the rest of the Middle East in places like Tripoli in Libanon, Falludscha in Iraq and Sad’ah in Yemen. But how did it come to this?