The ongoing clash between Saudi Arabia and its Sunni allies and Iran and its Shia allies has finally and unsurprisingly developed into a full-scale diplomatic split, a potential flashpoint. This is hardly unexpected and I wrote briefly on the subject of Saudi Arabia’s internal problems in September 2012:
I miscalculated at that time about an attack on Iran by Israel and/or the US, believing it was imminent but, if a Republican of the persuasion of Cruz or Trump were to win the presidency this year, it could once again become a possibility. They would do Netanyahu’s bidding.
I do wonder how long the US can continue to support the Saudi regime propped up by the extremist Wahhabi Islamic sect. The Saudi family sold their souls to Abdul Wahhab in the 18th century and the family has been hostage to the sect since then. Countries such as the US and UK, with their multi billion dollar arms sales to Saudi Arabia, indirectly support and protect the Wahhabi. It is only recently that media, such as The Guardian, has begun to question the sense of this policy. Otherwise one seldom reads or hears the name of this diabolical sect.
As I wrote in 2012, the minority Shia, in and near the Saudi Arabian peninsula, have become restless and are taking up arms in Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
And, it is to protect the corrupt Saudi regime against such an uprising that accounts for Saudi Arabia’s enormous military expenditures. In 2015 those expenditures totaled $80 billion, the third largest in the world, bested only by China and the US, and more than Russia. Where else but within Saudi Arabia would they need that much military muscle? Certainly not to undertake the promised but never carried through bombings in Syria. The only target other than domestic repression would be Iran, a pretty terrifying thought but a possibility that should not be ignored with the hard line King Salman.
A one on one war between Saudi Arabia and Iran would have far greater regional consequences than the Iran-Iraq war 1980-1988. Such a war could draw into play all the Sunni – Shia nations in the region, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah and the Shia minorities in all the countries, including those of Saudi Arabia itself with its 15 % Shia population.