The two largest countries in the middle east are also the two most important players in the region, but cooperation between the two has almost always been off the table. The reason being, as it often happens in that area, of religious nature, specifically the two are different kinds of Muslims: The Saudis (like the majority of the Islamic world) are Sunnis, the Iranians are Shias. Since this blog has no religious or spiritual vocations, I won’t go into details regarding the differences between the two sects, but in a part of the world where religion is still such a relevant part of every aspect of life, such a difference in beliefs makes massive differences, especially as far as political matters are concerned.
No matter what happens in the middle east, these two giants have a side and a saying, they’re an ally or an enemy and dictate the flow of relationships (almost always terrible) between their neighbors. Many ask themselves how is it possible that the two countries don’t put aside their differences and fight the common enemy in Iraq and Syria, and the answer is simple: The outcome of this never ending conflict will also decree which one of the two is the spiritual winner of the war, claiming a victory over the other and elevating its beliefs, and political agendas, to new heights. Giving up or giving in is absolutely off the table.
Then there’s the west, America as usual, that follows its own agenda in the region and creates a series of unusual and complicated diplomatic and strategic situations. Iran backs the Assad (Shia) government in Syria, in open disaccord with anti-Assad America, but at the same time signs an historical nuclear non proliferation deal with the eternal enemy in the west. Arabia backs everything not Shia and, although many question its moral compass, condemns ISIS and at the same time does absolutely nothing to stop its spreading, after all, more ISIS means less Shias in Iraq and Syria, less power to Iran and a few more weapon sales here and there…
While America attempts to juggle its own interest with those of the two major and indispensable players in the region, creating quite the chaotic situation, all the other smaller countries in the area are caught in a state of endless chaos and war. A war where political and religious motives take center stage, creating a cold war within a cold war. Russia and the US might be fighting over land, but Iran and Arabia fight over the soul of those those very same lands, creating a double layered conflict that is becoming more and more unbearable for everyone else in between and around. Only if these four sides are able to put themselves on the same page peace can be brokered in the middle east. Until then, the current battle for supremacy will be raging on for the foreseeable future.