13:08 GMT +3 hours29 July 2016
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Senior army commander Abdullah al-Sahian (C), who commands the Saudi forces in Yemen's southern port city of Aden, talks to his soldiers in their base in Aden, in this September 28, 2015 file photo

Heading for Catastrophe? What May Force Riyadh to Unleash War Against Iran

© REUTERS/ Faisal Al Nasser/Files
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Will Saudi Arabia seek war with Iran? Growing economic and political pressure may prompt the impulsive royal family to unleash a war against its longstanding Shiite rival, American author Daniel Lazare believes.

Saudi-Iranian tensions continue to escalate; although Riyadh keeps asserting the international community that it has no intention to push Saudi Arabia to the brink of war, there are certain preconditions for a full-scale conflict, according to author Daniel Lazare.

"The ruling family is under unprecedented strain. Its economy is shrinking; it's bogged down in a seemingly endless war in Yemen; and its human-rights policies are an international scandal. If countries could have nervous breakdowns, Saudi Arabia would be well on its way. And when breakdowns occur, nations do crazy things," Lazare writes in his piece for Consortiumnews.com.

The first reason is economic collapse: the 70-percent crash in oil prices has struck Saudi Arabia's crude-dependent economy. Alas, it has become obvious that prices will not be come back anytime soon.

Another reason is the Iranian nuclear deal, approved by Washington. 

"Like Israel, Saudi Arabia was overjoyed when the United Nations Security Council imposed trade sanctions on Iran in 2006 for refusing to suspend its uranium enrichment program," the expert underscores.

Not only did the restrictions isolate Tehran politically and economically, but they cut off Iran from the oil market, playing directly into Saudi Arabia's hands. Now Iran is back.

To complicate matters further, the Saudi-American relationship is bursting at the seams. Riyadh has no scruples about openly demonstrating its growing discontent with Washington's Middle Eastern policy. At the same time, the Saudi monarchy has reacted harshly to a few attempts of mild criticism from the White House.

The author underscores that the Bush invasion of Iraq upset the delicate balance between Sunni and Shiite groups in the Middle East indirectly facilitating the rise of Iran.

"From a Western perspective, the Sunni-Shiite conflict makes no sense," Lazare remarks, but for the Saudis "this is no laughing matter."

"As the self-appointed 'custodian of the two holy mosques,' i.e. Mecca and Medina, the Saudi royal family bases its claim on Muslim law, the notion that its rule is legally valid according to Sharia and that it is therefore incumbent upon all Muslims to accede to its legitimacy," the US author explains, stressing that at the same time for Shiites the House of Sauds is just a "pack of illegal Sunni usurpers with zero legitimacy."

He points out that recently Riyadh's war on the Shiites has intensified tremendously: they cracked down against Shiite Alawites in Syria, Shiite protesters in Bahrain, Shiite Houthis in Yemen, and Shiite dissidents like Sheik Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, the emergence of Daesh (Islamic State/ISIL) has added insult to injury. Although the generous Saudi donors have long been fueling Sunni extremism in the region, Riyadh is definitely unwilling to fall victim to new Islamist "Caliphate." However, Saudi youths are joining the terrorist organization at steady pace.

On the other hand, in the eyes of Saudi Wahhabi imams Daesh is doing the "right thing" it is eliminating Shiites and "apostates." Since the royal family's legitimacy is largely based on Saudi Wahhabi clergy, it "has no choice but to go along."

The last but not the least thing is Saudi internal dynamics, Lazare emphasizes.

The 80-year-old Salman bin Abdulaziz is a "hardliner" comparing with his predecessor. Furthermore, the Saudi King has handed real power over to his favorite young son, Mohammad bin Salman.

"The results have been disastrous. Brash, inexperienced, and ill-informed, Mohammad did not study abroad — very unusual for scions of the Saudi elite — but instead gained a bachelor's degree from King Fahd University in Riyadh, a snake pit of racism, backbiting, and petty tyranny," according to Lazare.

Citing a German spy agency BND report the US author emphasizes that Saudi's relatively "balanced" policy has been replaced by "an impulsive policy of intervention."

"Saudi Arabia was 'prepared to take unprecedented military, financial and political risks to avoid falling behind in regional politics'," the BND report stated, according to Deutsche Welle.

Although the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince insists that Saudi Arabia is not seeking a direct conflict with Iran it seems rather possible that mounting internal and external pressures will push Riyadh in that direction.

"With its own catastrophic collapse looming, the kingdom may lash out at its prime enemy first," Lazare stresses.

Remarkably, Tehran is by no means interested in escalating further tensions with Riyadh, according to J. Matthew McInnis, a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. In his article for The National Interest the scholar emphasized that there are a number of signs demonstrating that Iran wants to avoid direct confrontation.

"Tehran is very unlikely to initiate direct conflict with the Gulf States, however, and will try to limit any further escalation. Iran knows it blundered after al-Nimr's death and will be unwilling to risk further isolation and diplomatic damage in the face of the Saudi-led reaction in the region," J. Matthew McInnis stressed.

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Tags:
Wahhabism, legitimacy, Sunnis, Houthis, aggression, Islamic extremism, Shiites, war, intervention, The Syrian war, Daesh, German Federal Intelligence Service (BND), UN Security Council, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, Salman bin Abdelaziz al-Saud, Gulf Kingdom of Bahrain, Medina, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Syria, United States, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
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  • Mother Gorilla
    Saudi Arabia has only three export products: oil and pilgrimage hype are already all but exhausted, if only violence got out of fashion...
  • Another forecast about the coming implosion of KSA...oil's finally below $30 a barrel, the only way to get it up is to start a major war around the Gulf. Hopefully Iran won't take the bait, rather just let those evil wahhabi pukes isolate themselves further and behead each other into the garbage can of history. Can't happen too soon.
  • Ivan Zadorozhny
    Iran will not rest until the holy places are under its control.
  • cast235
    Saudi needs 100.00 U.S a barrel to keep up it's social programs. Is already below 30.00 U.S. reserves will be eaten rather FAST. U.S on it's desperation to Topple Putin, did a big ignorance that may cost the U.S supremacy. Just like U.K lost it..
  • karlof1
    Saudi lacks the capacity to wage offensive war against Iran, so this item is just more malarkey. Now that sanctions are history, Iran will soon become a full SCO member, which along with trade is also a security grouping like NATO--attack Iran and you attack all SCO members.
  • michael
    I think that what is needed here is a thorough analysis of the state of Saudi Arabia. How is the war in Yemen effecting the family's influence? What is the nature of the current power structure in the family? I'm often reminded of muslim clients and of how, when I have asked about the difference between the two groups, they always tell me of the history without any rancour. For the people I have spoken with they (the other) are still muslim and that is what seems to be important. Maybe this is because they are away from the region - I don't know.
  • The Royal Saudis are nothing more then incest cesspit. And you know incest creates genetic defective little monsters and that is what the Saudi Royal family is.
  • goaismine
    the strategy of saudi arabia and its filthy allies are simple
    bring the oil-put on its high-peak - the Gulf-States have enough finanical backup
    to carry on for a while but the question will be
    What will happend once their financial resources are moving down low ?!
    Will Saudi Arabia be willling to invest all against Iran witch would mean
    WAR !
    i say YES ! but it would be the END of OIL-PETRODOLLAR
    Saudi Arabia would be attacked by Yemen and by Iran
    it will cause Saudi Arabia to burn day and night
  • goaismine
    This is the End of Saudi Arabia and its filthy allies
    brainfucked as they are the will go down the shithole
  • cmat.wolfgang
    is that i sign of Shiite Patience?
    I have always been puzzled why nobody goes to Switzerland in winter and kills those Saudi Little shit monaechs when they are skiing.
  • Korz53in reply toIvan Zadorozhny(Show commentHide comment)
    Ivan Zadorozhny, No need to worry about Iran; It had not gone into a agressive war for 300 years.
  • The only thing that is stopping the Saudi to attack Iran is they don't want to do that all by themselves and looking for some suckers to help them with that. Would not put it past them to invite NathanNutjob in IsraHell .
  • Ivan Buckeye
    Al Saud is nothing more than a bunch of wealthy elites. This power that every talks about shifting is nothing other than wealthy people using common folks to fight their battles. Rich people battling rich people but those who actually do the fighting are the rich. Odd isn't it....
  • asxun
    The Saudis have the weakest army the in world. Iran can defeat Saudi Arabia in few minutes.
    The Saudis hire mercenaries to fight for them, and now with the price of oil at $27 dollars they cant afford to pay for mercenaries anymore.
  • al-ghamdi in ksa is only behind the sauds for the money, it shows on his waistline !! The Iranians would wipe out the 4k sauds clan in a maximum of two weeks by a ground invasion spearheaded by Iraqi shiites, who have been suicide bombed by the wahabis for a decade now.
  • Blackiein reply toMother Gorilla(Show commentHide comment)
    Mother Gorilla,
    Hi,
    If they attack Iran it will be their last battle attempt.Anyway Arabs are lousy fighters.
  • Blackiein reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
    michael,
    Saudi religion is an abomination, and a perversion of true Islam.
    Do you know what these made up Saudi Royals get up to behind closed doors?.
    Well it certainly would scare the Horses and Camels I dare say.
  • Blackiein reply toasxun(Show commentHide comment)
    asxun,
    Hi,
    Minutes rather than Days.
  • Mother Gorillain reply toBlackie(Show commentHide comment)
    Blackie, hi,

    you wish, consider this:

    Tehran is very unlikely to initiate direct conflict with the Gulf States, however, and will try to limit any further escalation. Iran knows it blundered after al-Nimr's death and will be unwilling to risk further isolation and diplomatic damage in the face of the Saudi-led reaction in the region," J. Matthew McInnis stressed.

    In other words, Tehran was not even allowed to speak up against a monstrous execution.

    So that goes to show how powerful theses Saudis are!
  • NATO Axis are playing a false game, same as they did with Libya, Russia, etc., then with the "good relations" they stab you in the back. No doubt there will be a more open war than what we see and don't see now. During this upcoming total War everything is on the table. Such a war would also surely lead to the destruction of Zionist Israel. Once again to evade the justice of crucifixions at the hands of their victims, the overlord Cult of Zionists would be committing mass suicide at their breached fortification bunkers at the Massada they have recreated for their supremacist death cult.
    ____________

    *** Free Viktor Bout and All Pro-Russians, tortured, missing, murdered and or falsely imprisoned, in USA and NATO Secret Prison Axis, Account For All, Remember and Lawfully Avenge All Forevermore.***
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