The Saudi Arabia - Iran proxy war transcends US presidential administrations, and has increasingly escalated post-2011 (case in point: Bahrain’s protests and the KSA response).
Trump’s presidency worries more for 4 reasons:
1) financial corruption & conflicts of interest
3) susceptibility to those around him (hi, Bolton)
4) obsession with reversing anything Obama did
Keep in mind - my students are generally 17-23.
Given media sensationalism, rampant xenophobia, and ISIS’ massive success in capturing our minds — this matters.
It is very difficult to challenge, because they’ve inherited these thought paradigms (hello, Edward Said).
And it is getting worse.
The same holds true before Arab Spring in 2011.
And the same before the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Let me give you a very concise historical challenging the “eternal sectarian bloody Middle East because religion” myth — and explain how this raises the stakes of Iran-Saudi Arabia proxy conflict exponentially in the era of Trump.
Let alone how that difference arose, where, when, or why.
After the Prophet’s death, the Muslim community sought a successor to lead them.
When the Prophet died, this group believed that Muhammad died without designating a successor.
Through a quasi-democratic process, they selected Abu Bakr.
This group believed Muhammad had already designated a successor: his cousin Ali (and the 1st MALE convert — wife Khadijah was 1st).
“Shia” is short for “Shi’at ‘Ali” - partisans of Ali.
Shia and Sunni are not different religions.
They are different (umbrella) denominations of Islam.
The difference between groups we now refer to as “Shia” and “Sunni” arose after the Prophet’s death, and originally (this is KEY INFORMATION) centered on who was the rightful earthly successor — not prophetic — of Muhammad.
This is not a theological claim in any way.
Here’s an interesting source: amazon.com/Succession-Muh…
(Again, not a theological claim. Historical facts and debate.)
That doesn’t mean “eternal sectarian bloody division endless war etc because religion.”
Here’s how we know that: history. Let me give you examples.
Both consider themselves Christian. Various factors led to Christianity — a religion — splitting into denominations that proliferate.
Would you call Presbyterians vs. Catholics “sectarian hatred?”
Presbyterians are a subset of the Christianity’s (umbrella) Protestant denomination.
Um. Catholics and Protestants? Yeah, they killed each other a lot.
“But that ended forever —“
So sit right. Almost there.
Why don’t they kill each other today?
Maybe “RELIGION” isn’t the sole causative factor cause - history N shit.
Catholics were seen as a 5th column loyal to the Pope before the nation.
That’s the whole reason JFK’s election was a HUUUUUUGE deal.
And the way it’s increasingly instantiated through geopolitics and shitty foreign policy.
That is... bad.
I seriously hope this is not new info to anyone reading this. Anyway.
wound up, in many cases, residing in the same nation-state — but AND THIS IS A BIG ONE — areas with different resources.
Give me a sec, because I’m making a visual aid for you — Saudi Arabia, Shia, Sunnis, and... where the oil is.
Totally just warning you all about a Tweet.
Look at the maps again, and then I’ll tell you about Iran.
And then we return to Shia & Sunni, Iran vs. Saudi Arabia, how apocalyptic war would be dumb. I’ll also give you recent examples from Iraq & Bahrain.)
Step back to Iraq with me, pre-2003.
Saddam Hussein (Sunni) practiced a familiar divide-and-conquer strategy to maintain control, coupled with power consolidation through cultivating ties of political loyalty, ethno-linguistic ties, patronage, religious identity, etc.
(Sunni) Saddam exerted power over a majority Shia society, through various methods that relied on identity-based ties for jobs, etc.
Shias and Sunnis intermarried (common Muslim joke - those kids are called “Sushis”).
Kinda sorta a litlle super indicative of massive ignorance that, coupled with piss poor planning, is going to fuck shit up.
GUESS WHAT HAPPENED.
... resultant religio-ethnic cleansing of Baghdad, post 2003’s American invasion, shall we?
Essentially... the idiotic 2003 US invasion helped catalyze what we now popularly call “ancient sectarian hatred.”
We call it that cause we like to ignore history.
Cause democracy N freedom N shit.
Experience of US-imposed “democracy” hurhurhur
Religious denominational majorities
Oil and natural gas reserves
In sum, 2003 was a pretty good way to fuck up “divide and conquer.”
Bush was stupid enough to invade Iraq and didn’t even know Islam had “Sunnis” and “Shias” or WHAT THAT EVEN MEANT.
And regional power balances and geopolitical alliances then shifted, scaring the shit out of...Saudi.
“Divide and conquer” is... pretty damn useful.
It even works when that existential threat is, well... let me just call it “mythological bullshit.”
Divide and conquer.
Since 2011’s Arab Spring, in Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria...
BOTH Saudi Arabia and Iran benefit from inciting “sectarianism” (WAY MORE complex than “religion”) — global proxy war for regional economic, and political dominance.
Escalation of Iran - Saudi Arabia proxy conflict is unbelievably stupid, “eternal sectarianism war” is a geopolitical myth ripe for exploitation, and...
The US sucks very badly at not screwing up the Middle East.
Click the “unfollow” button. That way I’ll irritate you less. :)