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. And people should know that all the terrorist are sunnie , every terrorist group you see now they all Sunnie !

  2. Funny thing is where ever there is name mentioned "war" america will be there ……US doesn't know after effect of war because no war is fought on its soil once they taste it then only peace prevails in this world …I don't blame ordinary US citizens for these war because there govt is always controlled by weapon and gun mafias…..ln US money is above life

  3. saudi supports very good people (isis) beheading, burning people alive while iran iran supporting very bad guy (hizbullah) defending his country against zionism by support of his people (christian and shia muslims)

  4. How convenient that these liars left out how the US & British financed Saddam and stirred the pot of war between Iraq 🇮🇶 &Iran

  5. Im middle eastern , i love how westerners completely destroy your nations from 1800's with Bonaparte to the 2000's united states invasion with George bush, and turn it into a MAD MAX movie , were only the strong thrives now over the weak..
    And then just blame it on Iran or saudi arabia 😀

  6. Yeah a big patch of a desert covered with oil rigs versus Persia, 33M versus 80M people.
    Of course USrael is the elephant in the room no-one should pay attention to instead redirect the attention to bizarre Saudis.
    But what can you expect if you're lectured by a Jaw who worked for C-I-A which is USrael.
    I should not comment in here, because now they have all my details.

  7. I don't understand why is there so many likes (125k) on the video itself but top liked comments say quite opposite about the events?
    Does it mean the video supporters have nothing to say or blindly liked it while the comment section is run by the people disagreeing? How is this determined?
    Something funky is going on in here.
    Speaking about Saudi's oil rigs someone is rigging the "Like" count.

  8. the USA was supporting the both iran and iraq during the iraq iran war by giving them the coordinates of location of military group usa wants to keep the war between the two countries as long as possible

  9. i dont get why every one thinks its israels fault all the time this is an arab conflict nothing to do with israel!!!

  10. The United States has let Iran down. It supports Saudi Arabia which the only country who had citizens attack the United States and bring it down hence 911. The United States destabilized Iraq and threatens Iran as a proxy of Israel. The United States has caused so much trouble and did what the UK and France did previously. I think the Middle East is tired of it and will bring it home to the USA.

  11. I have a lot of respect for the interviewee. It doesn't happen often that an American admits that what they did in Iraq was very messy

  12. oil is the sacred element for any conflict in our present time, so which control the world is not the culture of justice and science and no who control the world are slaves called jews and bedouin tribes float on oil lakes,, beautiful world.

  13. All this happened after the Islamic revolution of Iran! I think the Islamic revolution is a disaster on the region and Iran society & economy.

  14. this video is full of lies lies and more lies. the only problem of the region is iran. they want to take all over the middle east land.

  15. Its all about Sunni and Syiah. If you guys do some research in the middle east and the history of muslim sunni and syiah.

  16. I think we all know whos plan it was to have that whole area unstable and unsafe. The CIA dude was basicly saying it himself at the end . U.k and u.s.a oviusly know what they are doing to the area and the muslims its their plan!

  17. USA has hated dictators but doesn't blame Saudi Arabia for dictatorship because of trade and strategy in Middle East.

  18. Let’s not forget the fact That The US armed Iraq with chemical weapons to go against Iran. And yet they still failed.

  19. It is a lot more complicated than just “ the USA causes everything “ ( comment section not the video ), yes the USA is constantly involved but the vast majority, if not all of these wars would still happen without American intervention. Change my mind with an actual argument and evidence. I am open to debate but not one word answers and personal opinions rather than hard facts. ( Im not American btw )

  20. Why don't we just cut to the chase folks. The geopolitical problems in the Middle East are directly a result of RELIGIONS!!!!  Religious differences are at the root of much of the horrors in human history.  So forget about political systems.  Mankind has long suffered under the yoke of religious intolerance which acts to balkanize sects of people and ultimately turn them against one another……………why can't we simply move past our Bronze Age mythologies????  Surely thousands of years of infighting and mystical beliefs is enough already.  Have a nice day.

  21. It seems like THE big divider of People in the middle east are religion (once again) political view are never the Main reason. Why should Protestants & Catholics have to choose WHO is best in THE two subjects Sunni & Shia muslims???

  22. Let’s be honest. While people are right in blaming the US for much of what has happened/happening in the Middle East (and Islamic World at large) one must not forget to mention the equally gruesome role Russia has played/is playing as well.

  23. الله اكبر …
    قسمممم بلله صحيح سبب دمار العراق العظيم هم ايران والسعوديه .. وان شاء الله تدمير هاتين الدولتين امين يارب العاليمن❤🇮🇶👍😣

  24. Also, you didn’t actually mention that the fight between Turks back when the Al Assad family won in Saudi was backed by the British to fight Ottumans, then French and British divided the Saudi into two parts, more légitimité documentaries have mentioned it,

    Then the Shah of Iran actually was not backed by the Amaericans, he was an actual threat to them, and Khumaini which was a primary educated Indian backed up by British and Americans was brought to Iran to create a revelation against shah. Just added that as it is really easy to miss inform people.

  25. The sworn enemies of Islam and even other religions (namely the Western capitalist and arrogant system dominated by criminal America) feared this sound, so they came to divide among the Muslims that the biggest divisions were Saudi Arabia and the creation of groups. Takfiri in the name of Islam like ISIS, al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and ….While Islam is the last and most complete and modest religion of God, all the prophets from Jesus Christ to Moses have promised the Prophet the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

  26. How systematically you took US and Israel out of the equation..its just a matter of time when this cycle moves to the opposite sides….May Allah help us and guide to the right path.

  27. Saudi Arabia does not need to compete with Iran, but Saudi Arabia is vigilant to Iran's gnawing of countries and sending scoundrels

  28. You missed three vital point in this story.

    First of all, Iran has always blamed US for supporting Saddam Hussein. And there are many reasons for that.

    Second, US and UK actually supported Khomeini and the revolution. For two main reasons, 1. decreasing the Shah's influence over OPEC and his purse of independent sovereignty in the region, and 2. supporting the conservative religious movement that would never agree to Soviet Union's communism ideology (As they didn't). However, things got out of their control almost instantly after the revolution.

    Finally, you totally excluded the whole story of conflicts between Israel and the other major powers in the region. This is actually the major issue right now. The proxy war in Syria is going on, almost because of that.

  29. Killed more than 1,000,000 people in iraq (2003) and made isis there and israel watch 🍿🍿…cuz iran and KSA zionism channel?

  30. So IRAQ is in Control of IRAN now after the failure of US and SAUDI in that region… IRAN is no doubt is a Strong country with strong leadership.

  31. hmmm!! Did we forget that the "Sunni Rebels" in Syria are actually ISIS? Did Vox just admit that the Saudi Government is directly supporting ISIS in Syria and Iraq? And if the US supports Saudi Arabia, aren't they indirectly supporting ISIS? Silly Vox, the Internet completely opened up the world to the public. We can now see between your lies. Keep trying though!

  32. I think it's Israel's war against IRAN
    that it has been started since 1977 revolution against GREAT SHAH.

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