Since Iran of supplying weapons to Houthi fighters.
Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, Saudi Arabia and Iran have been juggling for power. Their feud began as only a difference in sects of Islam, but has since then increased into a large scale issue, affecting surrounding countries. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran believe they deserve power and control over the Middle East, and are inciting proxy wars across the Middle East to prove this to each other. Recently, tensions have escalated due to a number of factors. The two countries continue to create conflict by supporting opposing parties in proxy wars and demonstrating their military powers. Because the Middle East’s cold war has become so unpredictable there is no end to it insight nor is there a clear resolution as all countries involved believe that it is in their best national interest to continue fighting. Historical BackgroundThe Middle East was ruled by the Ottoman Empire for most of history. After World War 1 the Ottoman Empire fell. European powers took it upon themselves to divide the Middle East into countries as they saw fit. The Middle East contains a population that is predominantly Muslim. Saudi Arabia and Iran are both Muslim countries however they belong to different sects of Islam. Saudi Arabia is Sunni dominated while Iran is Shia dominated. These two different sects of Islam were created when the prophet Mohammed died and Muslims had a dispute over the division of Islamic power and who it pertains to. Sunni and Shia have lived harmoniously for most of their history but things have changed in the recent years and this can be accredited to the Iranian revolution and the Arab Spring. Additionally, this feud has grown over recent years because Iran and Saudi Arabia both want to be the leading power in the Middle East. Since the withdrawal of direct U.S. presence a well as a decline of Syrian and Egyptian control in the Middle East there has been a vacancy for power in the Middle East, a vacancy that both Saudi Arabia and Iran wish to fill. The Iranian revolution and the Arab Spring were both events of protest against the Middle Eastern governments. These events scared Saudi Arabia into taking a defensive position against Iran because they ignited the revolution. As tensions escalated both countries have taken military decisions that have placed the Middle East in the position it is currently inRecent EventsTensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been intensifying recently, stemming from their Sunni-Shiite rivalry. Recently, Saudi Arabia has suspected Iran of supplying weapons to Houthi fighters. In November, a missile was fired from Yemen that was intercepted by Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel Jubair, told CNN that Saudi Arabia sees “this as an act of terror.” The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, also accused Iran of “direct military aggression.” These claims, however, were denied by Iran. Saudi Arabian media has also released a film showing the conquering of Iran by Saudi Arabian military in mid-November. The video revealed the power Saudi’s military has, along with their capabilities to strike Iran. This video also threatened Iran, saying, “We will not wait until the fight is in Saudi Arabia, we will bring the fight to Iran.” Additionally, there have also been speculations of a possible war, due to the conflict happening throughout the Middle East, but this is just speculation, as many sources believe that this is far to come, including analysts from CNBC.Attempts to Resolve The IssueSaudi Arabia and Iran have been rivals for decades, and not much has been done to fix the issue. Their conflict has created great tension throughout the Middle East as well as the rest of the world. Recently, attempts to resolve their conflict have come to light. President Vladimir Putin of Russia has offered to broker a peaceful agreement between the two countries. Although his efforts haven’t been publically considered by either party, it’s a significant step towards peace. In addition to Russia, Pakistan has taken a significant role in attempting to mend the relations. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff, Raheel Sharif, have recently visited Riyadh and Tehran in attempts to create peace between the rivaling nations. Imran Khan, Pakistan’s opposition leader, has also stepped into the matter. He met with the head of commissions as well in early 2016, to gain insight on each sides views on the conflict, as well as urging Pakistan to play a role in mending their disputes. How can the international community assist Iran and Saudi Arabia to resolve their differences?Iran requests that the international community assists by limiting the number of weapons imported to Saudi Arabia. We request this because Saudi Arabia consistently uses these weapons to threaten Iran. An example of this is a propaganda film that was recently released by citizens of Saudi Arabia which states, “We will not wait until the fight is in Saudi Arabia, we will bring the fight to Iran.” In the past, Arabs were not divided due to the different sects of Islam each pertained instead Arab leaders chose to emphasize Arab national identity allowing Arab countries to overcome sectarian differences with a commonality. Times have changed however, we strongly believe that if the Arab leaders of today continued to emphasize and bring pride to Arab nationalism then we can bring the Arabian community together. Despite Iran not being an Arab country we do recognize that bringing all Muslims together will help bring peace to the Middle East which is what we want. We want the West to stay out of this as they have a history of only doing things that benefit them. For example, their alliance with Saudi Arabia is one of interest as they turn a blind eye to human rights violations because their only interest is information that maintains their countries safety. Although these acts are reasonable we do not want interference from countries who will be acting in their own interest. Additionally, when the United States got involved in Iraq in 2003 and killed Saddam Hussein they started a civil war in Iraq due to the fact that they made mistakes over and over again. The United States should recognize this mistake and stay out of any other issues regarding the Middle East that do not pertain to them. Attempts at brokering a peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been attempted and failed, however, Iran would be willing to try again.How can the international community promote a peaceful solution in the two proxy wars, Syria and Yemen?Saudi Arabia has provided Syrian rebel groups with weapons and money and has spent billions of dollars for aerial attacks for the war in Yemen, which has had a gruesome outcome, resulting in hundreds of thousands of Syrian casualties in 2015, along with the loss of billions. Syrians have also been displaced out of their homes and into shelters, and the conditions they are in are terrible, as contaminated water has led to Hepatitis C and waterborne diseases. Iran suggests on stopping Saudi airstrikes not only in Syria, but in Yemen as well, due to the fact that thousands of Yemeni have been killed and millions more have been displaced, and a major cause of these deaths have been because of these airstrikes. These strikes have been unnecessary, as Saudi Arabians have yet to achieve their goals in Yemen. Iran also recommends Saudi Arabia to lift the blockades in Yemen to bring in more humanitarian aid, as the amount they’ve provided has little effect on the people of Yemen. The years of war between Saudi forces and the Houthis have put such a negative toll on the Yemeni, facing appalling conditions, including outbreaks of cholera and famine. The Saudis are depriving the people of Yemen of the things they need to sustain life, along with sadistically bombing them, and this should not continue, as the people of Yemen will suffer even more than they already have been. How can the international community protect the rights of Sunni Muslims in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon?Clearly, Sunni Muslims occupy significant amounts of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Because of disagreements between sects, unfortunate events are taking place, concerning the Sunni populations. However, there are Shia Muslims across the Middle East as well who are experiencing extremely similar persecution who we should be protecting the rights of. Both sides need help, not just the Sunni. We should expand our horizon rather than care for just one sect. Perhaps the unity of Sunni and Shia Muslims should last for longer than a week. We should expand upon the idea of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in that we bring Unity Week to life in our everyday lives, rather than just from the 12th to the 17th days of Rabi al Awwal. We suggest other countries follow the actions of inclusion by the Iranian government and do so themselves. However, extreme Sunni ideas have been shown to create violence. Most famously, the feeling of Sunni oppression has led to the formation of ISIS. We need to keep the best interest of the Middle East in mind while keeping the ideals and needs of Sunni Muslims within reason. Should countries in the Middle East look to alliances with the United States, Russia, or should they create their own union?Iran wants to solve this regionally, with regional agreements, and not to have the United States come in and attempt to help. The United States has continuously ignored Saudi Arabia’s involvement on the issue of Yemen, and focused the blame towards Iran, calling out the supposed providing of weapons to the Houthis, and not how the Saudi Arabians’ are the major component of the crisis occurring in Yemen. Saudi Arabia’s involvement with the United States previously has created nothing but violence, so we believe they should be left out of this. Their suppliance of arms since 2009 has raised to over $110 billion dollars, which can be dangerous under the wrong care. As for Russia, we would not want to lose an ally we have had since the sixteenth century, Russia has been very supportive and agrees with our belief that westernization of the Middle East is detrimental to the region. Despite this alliance, we still wish to create our own union and solve any existing issues regionally. We want this because we believe that any involvement of other countries will simply complicate the issue even further. In order to solve our differences with Saudi Arabia, Iran suggests that issues should be solved regionally, as bias from other countries will lead to further rivalry. We also suggest an end to the number of weapons being imported into Saudi Arabia, which have not only threatened Iran, but also significantly impacted Syria and Yemen by causing havoc on their people. If these unneeded airstrikes could stop, then we would be able to come to some sort of agreement. Syrian and Yemeni citizens would be in less danger, and less conflict would arise. In addition, a strong union within the Middle East will allow the Middle East to rise above its current position in the world and it starts with putting an end to Iran’s feud with Saudi Arabia.