The Middle East is one of the most complex
regions in the world: Currently there are 4 failing states and 3
wars, with major powers increasingly taking opposite sides. Countless armed militias and terrorist groups
are spreading violence across borders. The region has seen conflict after conflict
going back well into the 20th century. But among all the uprisings, civil wars, and
insurgencies, two countries always seem to be involved: Saudi Arabia and Iran. They’re bitter rivals, and their feud is
the key to understanding conflicts in the Middle East. The Saudis and Iranians have never actually
declared war on each other. Instead, they fight indirectly by supporting
opposing sides in other countries and inciting conflicts. This is known as proxy warfare. And it’s had a devastating effect on the
region. Countries, especially poor ones, can’t function if there are larger countries pulling strings within their borders. Both the Saudis and the Iranians, see these civil wars as both tremendous threats, and also potentially enormous opportunities. The Saudi-Iranian rivalry has become a fight over influence, and the whole region is a battlefield. It’s why the rivalry is being called: a
Cold War. The most famous cold war was fought for 40 years between the United States and Soviet
Union. Looking forward to the day when their flag would fly over the entire world. They never declared war on each other, but clashed in proxy wars around the world. Each side supported dictators, rebel groups, and intervened in civil wars to contain the other. Like the US and Soviet Union, Saudi Arabia
and Iran are two powerful rivals – but instead of fighting for world dominance, they’re
fighting over control of the Middle East. In order to understand the Saudi-Iranian rivalry,
let’s go back to the origins of each country. In the early 1900s, the Arabian peninsula
was a patchwork of tribes under the control of the Ottoman Empire. After World War I, the empire collapsed, leaving these tribes to fight each other for power. One tribe from the interior, the al-Saud,
eventually conquered most of the peninsula. In 1932, they were recognized as the Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia. 6 years later, massive oil reserves were discovered in Saudi Arabia, and, in an instant, the Saudi monarchy was rich. That oil money built roads and cities
all around the desert country – and it helped forge an alliance with the US. On the eastern side of the Persian Gulf, another country was emerging, but having a much harder time. Iran also had massive oil reserves and an
even bigger Muslim population. But constant foreign intervention was creating chaos. Since the 18th century, Iran had been invaded
by the Russians and British twice. In 1953, the US secretly staged a coup, removing the popular prime minister, Mohammed Mosaddegh. In his place, they propped up a monarch, Reza Shah, who was aggressively reforming Iran into a secular, westernized country. But he harbored corruption and terrorized
the population with his secret police, the Savak. By the 1970s, both Saudi Arabia and Iran had oil-based economies and had governments heavily backed by the US, but the feelings among each population were very different: Ultimately at the end of the day, the
Shah of Iran, powerful as he was, simply did not have the same control over his people
or ultimately the same legitimacy and affection that the Saudi people felt towards their monarchy
at that point in time. That’s because Iran’s Muslims felt stifled
by the Shah’s reformations and by the end of the decade, they finally fought back. Iran’s Islamic revolution overthrew a powerful regime, that boasted military might. It’s really in 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini and the Islamic revolution overthrow the Shah, that the real tension
between Saudi Arabia and Iran begins. Ayatollah Khomeini was a Muslim clergyman,
who preached against Western-backed secular monarchies. He advocated for a government that popular, Islamic, and led by the clergy. And In 1979, he led a revolution to establish just that. It was a massive international event that
prompted reactions around the world especially in Saudi Arabia. The Iranian Revolution terrified the government
of Saudi Arabia. They were fearful that Ayatollah Khomeini would inspire their populations to rise up against them, exactly the way he had caused the Iranian population to rise up against the Shah. There was a religious threat too. Up until now, the Saudis had claimed to be
the leaders of the Muslim world. Largely because Islam’s two holiest sites,
Mecca and Medina are in Saudi Arabia. But Khomeini claimed his popular revolution
made Iran the legitimate Muslim state. There was another divide; Saudi Arabia’s
population is mostly Sunni, the majority sect of Islam, while Khomeini and Iran are mostly
Shia. Westerners always make a
mistake by drawing an analogy between the Sunni-Shia split and the Protestant-Catholic
split within Christianity. The Sunni-Shia split was never as violent. And in much of the Islamic world, when Sunnis and Shia were living in close proximity, they got along famously well. So, while the Sunni-Shia split was not a reason
for the rivalry, it was an important division. After the revolution, the Saudi’s fears
came to life when Iran began “exporting its revolution”. This CIA report from 1980 details how the
Iranian started helping groups, mostly Shia, trying to overthrow governments in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia. And they prompted the Saudis to redouble their efforts, to fight against Iran. They bolstered their alliance with the US
and formed the GCC, an alliance with other gulf monarchies. The stage was set for conflict. War in the gulf. Iraq invaded Iran in seven areas. With a 5:1 superiority, Iraqi forces moved quickly The rise of Iran as a regional power threatened other neighboring countries as well. In September 1980, Iraq, under the rule of
dictator Saddam Hussein, invaded Iran. He was hoping to stop the Iranian revolution,
gain power, and annex some of Iran’s oil reserves. But they didn’t get far. The war bogged down into stalemate complete
with trench warfare, chemical weapons and heavy civilian casualties. When Iran started winning, the Saudis panicked,
and came to Iraq’s rescue. They provided money, weapons, and logistical
help. So it becomes critical to the Saudis that
they build up Iraq, and build it up into a wall that can hold back the Iranian torrent that
they have unleashed. The Saudi help allowed Iraq to fight until
1988. By then, nearly a million people had died. Iranians largely blamed the Saudis for the
war and the feud escalated. Fast forward 15 years and Iraq again became
the scene of a proxy war. In 2003 the US invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussein. Neither Saudi Arabia or Iran wanted this to
happen, since Iraq had been acting as a buffer between them. But problems arose when the US struggled to
replace Saddam. The United States has no idea what it is doing in Iraq after 2003. And it makes one mistake after another, that creates a security vacuum, and a failed state, and drives Iraq into all-out civil war. Without a government, armed militias took
control of Iraq, splintering the population. Sunni and Shia militias suddenly sprang up
all over the country. Many were radical Islamist groups who saw
an opportunity to gain power amidst the chaos. These militias were readymade proxies for
Saudi Arabia and Iran, and they both seized the opportunity to try and gain power. The Saudis started sending money and weapons
to the Sunni militias, and Iran; the Shia. Iraq was suddenly a proxy war with Saudi Arabia
and Iran supporting opposing sides. That trend continued into the Arab Spring,
a series of anti-monarchy, pro-democracy protests that swept through the Middle East in 2011. This had very different consequences for Saudi
Arabia and Iran: That is terrifying to the Saudis who are the ultimate status quo power. They want the region stable, and they don’t want anbody rising up and overthrowing a sclerotic, autocratic government, for fear that it might inspire their own people to do the same. The Iranians are the ultimate anti-status quo power, they have been trying for decades to overturn the regional order. Each country threw their weight behind different
groups, all over the Middle East. Just like in Iraq, the Saudis began supporting
Sunni groups and governments while Iran helps Shia groups rise up against them. In Tunisia, the Saudi’s backed a dictator
while the Iranians stoked protests. In Bahrain, Iran supported Shia leaders seeking
to overthrow the government. Saudi Arabia, in turn, sent troops to help
quash the unrest. Both got involved in Libya, Lebanon and Morocco As Saudi Arabia and Iran put more and more
pressure on these countries… they began to collapse. Now the feud has gone a step further, with
both countries deploying their own militaries. In Yemen, the Saudi military is on the ground
helping the central government. They are fighting the rebels, called the Houthis,
who are an Iranian proxy group. The reverse is happening in Syria. The Iranian
military is fighting side by side with militias, some of them extremists groups like Hezbollah,
in support of dictator Bashar al-Assad. They are fighting rebel Sunni groups, who
are Saudi proxies. The more civil wars that broke out in the
Middle East, the more Saudi Arabia and Iran became involved. Neither the government of Saudi Arabia nor the government of Iran are looking for a fight. But the problem is these civil wars create
circumstances that no one could have predicted. Both the Iranians and the Saudis feel that their vital national interests, are threatened, are in jeopardy, because of different things happening in these civil
wars, things they blame each other for. Now the cold war is drawing in other countries. The Saudi government is threatening Qatar, a tiny Gulf state that was developing ties with Iran. Meanwhile in Syria and Iraq, the terrorist
group, ISIS is nearing defeat and both the Saudis and Iranians are angling to take control
of that territory. It’s a Cold war that’s becoming incredibly
unpredictable. As the Middle East continues to destabilize,
its hard to say how far these countries will go.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. These are 2 Nations under Islam that still don't see eye to eye. Religion split by ideologies. That's Spiritual. Shia vs Sunni instead of Dear Muslim Brother/Sister.

  2. Ahh good old vox the media that report tiananmen 2.0 happening in Hong Kong while Hong Kong police is showing too much restraint

  3. I've never seen a more superficial understanding of Iran & Saudi Arabia. Seems like the writers of this video simply read 20% of the wikipedia page about it while being extremely hungover.

  4. The guy who the US put in place of Mossadeq wasn't named Reza Shah, his name was Mohammad Reza Shah and was Reza Shah's son actually

  5. Oil make middle East decent into chaos without it middle East will be low income countries much like Pakistan and relatively peaceful

  6. 1 point to be cleared,, ayyatola khomaini was brought in by France and the USA to throw the shah off his throne because he was gaining more power over the middle east than the USA wanted him to get so they wanted to eliminate the threat he could possibly create in the future, buuuut yet again like every American policy and plan, they messed up and he went out of their control and turned into a threat that they still face

  7. Mossadegh? One mention? No exploration for why the CIA overthrew Mossadegh (which started all of this)?
    The Sykes Picot Treaty? No? Anyone?
    Iraq? Iran Contra? Wahhabi Salafism funded by Saudi Arabia? No?
    This is a garbage summation.

  8. Why US not leaving Afghanistan peacefully. Why israel attacking Palestinian Muslim.. Why Indian hitler modi killing kashmiris Muslims…

  9. I am going to tell the truth and nuke saudi arabia with my words of truth. Islam is the religion who made all of the tensions, it made my country,(Iran) a brutal dictatorship from the humanity source. It created the muslim and shia, who are ruining the region. I don't insult the beliefs in islam scince real iranians respect every religion but the politics and exploits islam has done in the human kind history is not tollaratable.

  10. I'm sure there's much much more to be said, but, based on this, the constant refrain heard/suggested (at e.g.: UN) that there would be peace in the middle east if not for Israel seems absurd.


  12. "Bigger countries don't let small countries function properly" I suppose you mean like US/Saudi Arabia and Israel are doing to IRAN or Venezuela?
    Sanctions and starving them to death?

  13. What?Who compares the Sunni Shia split with the Catholic Protestant split?Ha ha!Everyone forgets about the great schism. That's what I compare it to. The Sunni and Shia are like the Catholic and Orthodox.

  14. Colonialism and neo-colonialism ( the West) is the real cause of destabilization and civil wars in the Middle East and North Africa.

  15. half of the truth is more dangerous than a lie….. if you don't know what is happening then you should do some research and if you did it on purpose the you are involved with CIA and Saudi's because what you tell about iran was almost complete picture but you keep most of the other side in shadow.

  16. Who started these during ww2? Who had the vested interst to control the oil fields of arabian and gulf countries??? And now they are sitting peacefully sending UN troops and trying to become the messiah of the whole world!!!! We all know the answer!! The whole middle east is burning and its heat is burning the rest of Asia n Africa… They could have prevented this. But they didn't, they have to sell their arms and at the same time they want to disguise as the peace keeping mediator!!!!

  17. 4:08. طبعا يخافون لأنهم. يريدون فزعه من امريكا 😂😂😂 😂 نحن. قلعه محصنه. لكن هم الامريكي والعثماني. والنكليزي يحتل بلدهم. جعلوهم مثل البئر النفط

  18. Mentioned 2 countries..
    But forgot to mention and remind that they are being backed up by the U.S. so basically U.S is to be blammed.
    Tbh… U.S. Likes Oil 😂

  19. I wouldn't of said the most famous for the cold war the most infamous. Does politic correctness matter when everyone is in danger of extinction though?

  20. Saudi arabia is sunni love friend and wife prophet muhammad , and iran is shia hate friend and wife prophet muhammad .. so how can sunni and shia can be peace together ? Imposible .. you can see eid sunni and shia very different . Shia created by jews to destroy islam from deep . Sunni pray to allah is god .. but shia pray to ali son a law prophet muhammad . Very different

  21. 6:40 excellent detective work, you forgot the part where Iraq invades Kuwait,. How do you forget to mention the Gulf War, kind of a big deal

  22. It's been going on for thousands of years. The middle east is just a cauldron of conflict, fueled by; hate, religious extremism, corruption, and greed. Extreme differences leads to a build up of static, which eventually leads to a discharge (war). Similar to rubbing your feet on a carpet and touching a doorknob.

  23. Hey VOX, your video is shyt….. bull shyt……. typical western videos concealing fact so the world can be fooled into believing that US,UK,Saudi,Israel & their allies are the good guys when in fact those nations are full of the causes of the middle east…. GF YOURSELVES

  24. wrong information US+UK removing mohamma mosadegh from his prime minister and also was wrong information about reza shah he was mohammad reza shah father and mosadesh was prime minister in his son,s period so DON<T tell us so much lie please. you should say the truth

  25. درود ، بسیاری از مطالب اصلی که باعث روشن شدن مسائل میشد را بیان نکردید ، مثلا رژیم اسلامی ایران خود یک دیکتاتوری اسلامی هست و شباهت زیادی با داعش دارد ، مثال بعدی : باعث جنگ ایران و عراق خمینی بود که هفت ماه قبل از جنگ حکومت عراق و بخصوص صدام را فاسد روی زمین و خائن اعلام کرد و به نیروهای ارتش عراق فرمان داد پادگانها را خالی کنند و مردم را به قیام علیه صدام تشویق کرد ، در صورتی که صدام هیچ دخالت یا حتی حرفی در مورد خمینی و یا حتی ایران هم نگفته بود ، بسیاری از این دست که شما بیان نکردید ، از اینرو یا شما عمداً این کار را کردید و یا اطلاعات شما کافی نیست ، اما بنده فکر میکنم شما عمدی در این نوع کلیپ و متن دارید که نفع مردم ایران در آن دیده نمیشود و به سود رژیم اسلامی یکی به نعل زدید و یکی به میخ ، بدرود .

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