Brewing Conflict Between The Islamic Horns


Brewing Saudi-Iranian conflict could ignite Middle East


WASHINGTON — The rivalry between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran for supremacy and influence over the Middle East and beyond escalated to new heights of hostility recently after the Saudi government executed 47 of its nationals convicted on terrorism charges.

Included in the group was Sheik Nimr al- Nimr, a prominent Saudi Shia imam and monarch critic whose execution brought worldwide condemnation, most notably from Iran, a majority Shia nation.

Included in the group was Sheik Nimr al- Nimr, a prominent Saudi Shia imam and monarch critic whose execution brought worldwide condemnation, most notably from Iran, a majority Shia nation.

Swift reaction filled the streets of Iran over the cleric’s death that culminated in the ransacking and torching of the Saudi embassy in Tehran and the Saudis severing diplomatic ties with Iran. Around the world observers are looking at the tensions with more questions than answers.

“Why now?” asked Abdul Akbar Muhammad, international representative of the Nation of Islam. “The timing for these executions is questionable. They knew these executions would cause a great upheaval in Iran. Just as the sanctions against Iran are being lifted, just as the nuclear deal with America is going into effect, this happens. “Why execute a cleric who didn’t throw one bomb or commit a terrorist attack? Now countries are taking sides causing more division in the Muslim world … this was a strategic mistake,” Mr. Muhammad said.

Some political analysts say another trouble source between Saudi Arabia and Iran are proxy war engagements in Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain and abroad in Africa where critics have accused the Saudis of financing and backing chaos. Reports say Djibouti, located in the Horn of Africa, has joined Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Sudan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Jordan in either severing relations or expressing discontent with Iran following the protest at the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

“We have to understand all of the recent events between Iran and Saudi Arabia in a geopolitical context,” said Eric Draitser, political analyst and founder of

“This is not a conflict that has just simply arisen in the last few weeks, this is something that has been going on for quite a long time,” he added.

“There is a global proxy war ongoing between Iran on the one side and Saudi Arabia and Qatar on the other side,” Mr. Draitser told The Final Call.

Abayomi Azikiwe, a political commentator and editor of Pan Africa Newswire, agrees and sees the move as part of a broader strategy to fuel destabilization in the Muslim World.

“I think that the Saudi monarchy is working hand and glove with the United States and other imperialist forces and it was a deliberate attempt to incite further sectarian violence and division in the Muslim World,” said Mr. Azikiwe.

“We see it in what’s been happening in Iraq, in Syria, in Yemen and Saudi support for the Islamic State and other so-called extremist organizations,” he explained.

American-Saudi relations go back to the kingdom’s beginning in the 1930s with U.S. businessmen drilling for oil. However strained lately with U. S. nuclear negotiations with Iran — which the Saudis oppose — and U.S. advances toward normalizing relations with Iran — broken since the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled an American puppet regime there at the time.

The fall out of Saudi Arabia and Iran is not limited to the Middle East, but extends into Africa. Thousands of miles away in Nigeria, people are watching these events very closely. On Dec. 13, Nigerian forces raided and arrested Shia cleric Ibrahim al-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria. The raid destroyed property and scorched part of his home. There is speculation that Saudi Arabia and Qatar partly financed the operation in Nigeria.

Libyan Leader Muammar Gadhafi

Both countries gained a major footprint in Africa after the assassination of Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi and the destruction of Libya in 2011,

“Since then the Saudis and the Qataris have been pushing their power projection all throughout Africa,” Mr. Draitser said. The bloodshed in Nigeria reflects that, he said.

“Sheikh al-Zakzaky is seen by the Saudis as essentially, a proxy of Iran,” Mr. Draitser said. He’s also been accused of dissent, just like Sheik Nimr.

The Saudis are “striking back at what they perceive to be their growing instability and loss around the world,” Mr. Draitser insisted. Mr. Draitser believes the execution of Sheikh al-Nimr and the attacks on Sheikh al-Zakzaky are part of a larger “counter move” by Saudi Arabia and Qatar against Iran’s successful engagement in the Syrian war. Iran, allied with Russia, Hezbollah and the Syrian Arab Army, is proving successful in countering efforts to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad by Saudi Arabia and Qatar in partnership with America, Turkey, Israel and other Western neo-colonial powers.

Although the Saudis heavily invested in the Syria effort, it’s failing.

“It’s the same in Yemen where the Saudis have waged an illegal war massacring thousands upon thousands of innocent Yemenis … reaching no strategic objective and finding themselves in a total quagmire,” Mr. Draitser.

The Saudis blame Iran who they accuse of backing Houthi rebel fighters the kingdom is fighting in Yemen.

In the wider scheme “they are in fact working to create these conflicts” and a pretext for intervention by America, NATO, Israel and others in the region, North Africa, Asia or “where ever they can benefit and exploit the divisions,” said Mr. Azikiwe.

Along with the geopolitical questions, both Saudi Arabia and Iran represent major questions for the world of Islam.

For many in Iran, the Saudis are a problem and the execution of Sheik Nimr al-Nimr was the straw that broke the camel’s back. “It started earlier in 2015 with the sexual abuse of two teen boys at the airport in Jeddah, next the thousands of Iranian pilgrims killed during the stampede at hajj, and finally the Saudi’s hate Shias,” international activist Ali Mehrabi told The Final Call from Iran.

Mr. Mehrabi believes the executions were done to set Iran up to show anger and then face more isolation from the international community.

“Saudi doesn’t agree with the Iranian nuclear deal. They are pessimistic and want (Iran’s isolation) now more than ever. Our reaction was predictable. People here are fed up. Saudi wants everyone in the region to be like them. They want to show their power so they got other countries to condemn us also.”

“The Muslim World is in desperate need of leadership to solve this Sunni-Shia conflict. We have a divided ummah (community). It’s very negative and it’s going to get worse if immediate attention is not given to the situation. Iran had asked for Sheik Zakzaky’s release,” Imam Douglas Owen Ali told The Final Call. He is living in Nigeria as a consultant to the government.

“This Wahhabi vs. Shia conflict has been going on for centuries,” said Mr. Mehrabi.

“The leadership that is necessary has to come from the West, from the Muslims in the best position to bring guidance to these dark times. I think those Muslims are the converts who understand how to build bridges of understanding,” said Imam Ali.

“Revolution is brewing everywhere. I woke up to the news this morning of the split between Shia and Sunni Muslims. Saudi Arabia on one side, Iran on the other and many Arab Muslim nations have pulled their ambassadors away from Iran and now it is like a state of war exists between Muslims,” said the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan in a recent interview with The Final Call newspaper. (See edited excerpts from the interview.)

He has expressed concern about continued division in the Muslim world, the toll it will take and how the inability of Muslims to reconcile has the potential to ignite the region. He also called for an understanding of what is unfolding as the world watches and the enemies of Islam foment division.

“I think in Time and What Must Be Done, No. 34 (a groundbreaking 52 week video series released in 2013), I mentioned war in the Middle East. I mentioned that area will be drenched in blood, and the blood that will be shed in that area of the world is for the purification of that part of the world for the Real Children of Israel, the People of God, to come back and occupy that part of the world. It belongs to the Original People of the earth, and it is written that the Messiah would lead the Children of Israel to the Promised Land,” he said.

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