Iran vs Saudi Arabia: Battle for Middle East to EXPLODE into REAL World War 3

Sunday, February 18, 2018
By Paul Martin

CHAOS is set to rage in the Middle East and beyond as rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran bid to dominate the region.

By Anders Anglesey
18th February 2018

Tensions in the region flared out of control last year after Saudi Prince Mohammad Bin Salman removed his rivals from power and positioned himself as the next ruler of the strict Islamic country.

Since his audacious power grab the prince has ordered devastating missile attacks on civilians and Iranian-backed troops in neighbouring Yemen, destroying the nation and leaving millions starving.

His rash actions, however, have led some to think his rule will see more violence in the Middle East as he tries to eliminate his Iranian rival.

The bitter feud has its roots in religion, as each follows one of the two main branches of Islam.

Saudi Arabia is the top Sunni power in the Middle East, while Iran has vowed to defend Shi’a Muslims both at home and abroad.

But Jeff Martini, senior Middle East Researcher at the RAND Corporation, said tensions between the two nations was based on competition, rather than ideology.

Speaking exclusively to Daily Star Online he added: “The Kingdom has reason to fear the Islamic Republic because it possesses several advantages—a large population, a more diversified economy, a more advanced technological base, and favourable geography.

“And from its perspective the Islamic Republic has reason to fear the Kingdom. That is because by dint of US security cooperation, Saudi Arabia possesses more advanced military capabilities in key areas—like air power—and Saudi Arabia’s importance to international oil markets means the US commitment to its defence is strong.”

Despite having been at loggerheads for decades the two powers have not directly come into conflict with one another.

The tense standoff has instead led each nation to back opposing sides in wars that have sparked major bloodshed in the region.

Both nations backed opposing sides in the Yemeni Civil War, with Iran backing the Houthi rebels and Saudi Arabia lending its support to the government.

Mr Martini said: “There is risk that the intensity of that proxy conflict could rise. For example, if the Houthis lose territory, Iran could provide training and technology to the Houthis similar to that Iran provided to Shiʻa militias in Iraq to bleed advancing forces.

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