Iran and Saudi Arabia


The year 1979, is a very important year in the history of modern Islam. In that year three events happened that impacted the Middle East, the Muslim world and the world in general. The three events were:
1. The Khomeini revolution in Iran.
2. The Muslim fundamentalists’ attack on the Grand Mosque in Mecca.
3. The invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union which lasted for ten years.

This is a very short blog, but it is loaded with consequential history. In this blog, I am recommending an excellent video documentary and an important article.

If I could increase the number of hours in the course I teach on “Islam and the Geopolitics of the Middle East” from 44 to 46 hours, I would have included this important two hours video documentary. It gives those who watch it an overview of important history that covers many important events including the history of the bitter rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia which started in 1979. Watching this documentary will either refresh your memory or will inform you of what each one of us needs to know.  

Muhammad bin Salman (MBS), the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and the son of the current king of Saudi Arabia, is going to become an increasingly prominent figure in Middle East politics. The article that I want to recommend appeared in The New Yorker with the title: “A Saudi Prince’s Quest to Remake the Middle East.”  It is a long article, but it is very much wroth reading. What the article failed to say is that MBS is getting obsessed with Iran to such a degree that the Israel/Palestine issue has faded away from his list of priorities.  

The Soviets invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 inaugurated the beginnings of training camps for the Mujahideen (holy warriors). It started with the Taliban along with al Qaeda fighting  guerrilla warfare against a super power which used traditional military forces. What was learned in Afghanistan was transferred later into Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and other regions around the world.

The time you will spend in watching this video and reading the article is a valuable investment of your time. You will learn about the differences between the Sunnis and the Shiites, the impact of the Khomeini revolution on the Middle East and the world, Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and Hezbollah, the eight years’ war between Iraq and Iran, the cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran and Muhammad bin Salman and his ambitions and obsessions. 

A famous theologian once described the Christian as a person who holds the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. We need to continue to be informed about current events and we will always find answers to our broken world in the pages of the Scriptures.

Dr. Nabeel Jabbour