Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the “Clash within a Civilization” – Anthony H. Cordesman
(Daily Alert, Feb. 14, 2014)
The tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia reflect a broad regional power struggle, now made more complex by growing doubts among Saudis and other Arabs about U.S. policies in the region. These doubts have led to a wide range of Arab conspiracy theories that the U.S. is preparing to abandon its alliances in the Arab world and turn to Iran.
In this struggle, almost all of the attacks and casualties are caused by Muslims attacking Muslims, and much of the violence is caused by Sunnis attacking Sunnis. The West is only on the periphery of this struggle, not its focus. It is a “clash within a civilization,” and not a clash between them.
The U.S. and Europe need to stop seeing regional political upheavals as some brief prelude to the triumph of Western values and democracy, and focus on their real world human impact as well as the threat they pose. (Center for Strategic and International Studies)