The Middle East’s cold war, explained

The Middle East’s cold war, explained


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.

100 thoughts on “The Middle East’s cold war, explained

  1. Israel owns every aspect of entire Western countries. Israel owns west and west is afraid to even disagree with Israel. Samson option explains why.

  2. Enough is enough to say false rumors about Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia helped Iraq and Syria not for the sake of its interests but because we Arabs are cooperative and do not want them bad.

  3. it would be advantageous to force the world to accept the microchip in their hands as it would force the military portion of the military industrial complex to give some power back to all the honest workers of this world as they are holding us all hostage

  4. Very informative video explaining what's happening in the middle east without a single word of USA or Isreal. hmmm. Thanks.

  5. It's actually a religious war Sunni vs shia…the two camps arose after their prophet Muhammed died. Both accuse the other of poisoning him via some goat meat…they have been trouble to each other and the rest of us since. or you can just blame Abraham+sarah for not being patient with God for the promised son (Isaac later renamed Israel by God) and fathering Ishmael who was promised to be a thorn.

  6. Well done. Missing some opportunities to expand on the situation though. Should have mentioned how the U.S. started supporting the Shia backed militias in Iraq to combat ISIS.

  7. The root cause of all the problems in the middle east region are US and British imperialism. They are the devil troublemakers starting the conflict between sunni and shia.

  8. i live in qatar and im one of the richest and i never give up giving the poor i travel all over the world to help the poor

  9. I call BS on the fact that Shia and Sunni division was not violent.
    Sure you could find communities where sunni and shia lived peacefully together. You could say the same about protestants and catholics.

    But there were and there still are warlords on each sides massacring the opposite religious identity.

  10. ¡USA desestabiliza con sus prácticas injerencistas…… ésta visión de Vox es tendenciosa…!

  11. Wow way more complicated than I could have ever imagined. No wonder we are all still all at war till this day (almost 2020)

  12. Saudi Arabia is the one who supports the US dollar. If Saudi Arabia sells oil in Saudi riyals, it will cause the dollar to fall and the US economy to fall.

  13. hmm pretty anti united states video. didn't mention israel's hand in this as well…
    owners of VOX are jewish…oh makes sense now.

  14. Saudi Arabia is the most terrorist country in the world
    I think as an amarican Iran is more safe them Saudi Arabia

  15. No let s see the big picture USA support Saudis And Russia support İran So this cold war yes But Still Between USA And Russia For The oil Because Civil war causes choas and Anarchy While everbody figting eachother They are take what They want and People's can't say hey What are they doing with are oil

  16. 06:36 USA sold and tested many weapons on this war. I mean both sides… Also not S.Arabia supported Iraq. USA supported. It's also very clear, USA/EU have no concern of democracy or human rights. They support every dictator for their benefits. All Arabic hal-island hve dictators who supported by westworlds because they sell their oil to them. Iran had one of them but overthrown and now not a great democracy but way better then arabs at democracy and human rights but every west country describe them as evil… S.Arabs cuts journailst like mincemeat, everyone looks away…

  17. 3 wars brought on by the US and israel who have no business in the affairs of Syria, Yemen or Iraq. Its simple an oil/pipeline grab for the greater israel project.

  18. I mean at of all fairness. It the Ottomans hadnt of joined the axis powers during WWI, allies wouldn't have needed to divvy of their nation after they surrendered.

    What's worse, one powerful nation that want control
    Or
    Several minor nations that want control

  19. Longest wars in history : Middle east- then when they run out of human targets,guess what ,? Were next. ! Get training now because terrorists are coming for us,Europe, UK and USA

  20. This should be titled: "The Complex Relationship Between Iran and Saudi Arabia" or something about saudi arabia and iran??

  21. Europe also went through centuries and centuries of war once upon a time (and ironically, Middle East was overall more peaceful back then)

  22. Have you watched the TSW prediction last year regarding Russia, Syria & Iran? Its coming true. The "Whirlwind Prophecy"…videoed on Youtube.

  23. why not just dissolve the countries of syria and Iraq give a chunk to turkey a chunk to Iran a chunk to Saudi Arabia and create a new country in the middle for the Kurds to live.

  24. What led to war? Extreme religious belief. What led them being exploited by leaders, countries etc? Extreme religious belief. What is the actual problem? Extreme religion.

  25. كلنا آل الملك سلمان بن عبدالعزيز آل سعود … يحفظهم الله ورعاهم من كل شر يطول بعمركم.
    الايمانت و الإسلام و الإحترام 🇸🇦 🤝 ☝🏻💚

  26. Six countries are responsible for the destruction of the Middle East or the world
    USA Russia France UK and Israel

  27. By watching this video. I discovered that the "trend", by the US, to "export democracy" started a long time ago. "Interesting"….

  28. A lot of people complaining that a lot of things are not mentioned here. That's true, but if they tried to say everything that is affecting the middle East we would have a video lasting HOURS. Things (for example countries) not mentioned: Turkey, Israel, Russia, just to say some

  29. I also wonder what kind of country Iran could be now if at that time the USA had not tried to impose a regime change with the sha. Maybe the revolution wouldn't have happened and we wouldn't be in this situation now….

  30. Radical jushis terrorist organisation Israel and US government need to stop teroresom inside the Middle East 🏴‍☠️🌍🏴‍☠️🇮🇱🏴‍☠️🏴‍☠️🇮🇱🇮🇱🏴‍☠️🌍🏴‍☠️🇮🇱

  31. All about oil and ports, it’s a war, the winner will take control of all the Dead Sea and the red sea…
    Basically Isreal want that, and if isreal is involved then USA is involved too …
    A lots of deaths, who to blame? Their a candidate! Let’s blame Islam for that and let’s collect the money!

  32. Sounds like my situation UW infighting war by supporting my opposition using family to reach their own unsightly goals.

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