An all-out religious war is about to explode in the Middle East but it won’t be between Israel and any of her numerous antagonists, although the Israelis will no doubt be drawn into it in some way. It will be between Saudi Arabia and Iran and their two competing strains of Islam, Sunni (Saudi Arabia) and Shia (Iran). The Sunni and the Shia have been violently opposed to each other virtually throughout Islamic history and the coming war will be the latest in a long line of clashes between the two, this one precipitated by events in Bahrain and the United States under President Obama abandoning its role as guarantor and protector of its friends and allies in the region.
The Government of Bahrain has had to deal with ongoing protests and demonstrations since unrest began boiling over in Arab countries in the Middle East. Many of the protests and demonstrations in Bahrain have turned violent and the Government has had to use force to suppress them. Saudi Arabia has sent troops into Bahrain to help the Government crush the dissidents and maintain order. Even though the majority of the population is Shia the country is ruled by Sunnis and Saudi Arabia no doubt thought it was assisting co-religionists when it decided to send its troops in. There is also a small Shia population in Saudi Arabia which has been restive of late and the move may also be seen as a warning to them. Shia Iran sees this as a major provocation and could very well send troops of its own into Bahrain to assist the Shias there. Many commentators, including me, think that is exactly what is going to happen and that the entire region will be engulfed in war when it does.
Nothing ever being simple in the Middle East there is of course another reason why the Saudis are provoking war with Iran now. Fear. Its really a preemptive action. When Iran becomes a nuclear power and when its military achieves operational superiority, both of which will happen soon unless it is stopped, Saudi Arabia will be placed in mortal danger as the Iranians attempt to establish their hegemony in the Middle East and beyond. That’s history and history will repeat itself, which the Saudis are perfectly aware of. Better to take on the Iranians now while there is still a chance of victory rather than wait and be overrun. The fear is brought on because the Saudis can’t trust the United States under President Obama to keep the Iranians in check and realize that they may be abandoned just like the Egyptians were. After all, if America under Obama could abandon an important long-term strategic ally like Egypt it could do the same to Saudi Arabia no matter how much oil it is sitting on, especially since Obama is an “environmentalist” who believes that Americans should use far less gasoline anyway.
Religion and fear, fear and religion. What a lethal combination that is.
Israel of course is watching all of this very closely. If Saudi Arabia takes out Iran she won’t have to. If Saudi Arabia doesn’t she will because her national survival will depend on it. Israel can’t trust the United States either.
Who knows, once the Iranian threat is removed either by the Saudis doing Israel a favor or the Israelis doing the Saudis one perhaps the two can bury their differences, work together and usher in an era of peace and security for all.
No thanks to President Obama and the U.S.