Give me some context… The Muslim community had a disagreement 1400 years ago when their leader and founder of Islam, Muhammad, died. Muslims split up: Sunnis believe Muhammed had no heir and thus had to be chosen by vote and Shias believe that he successor had to be Muhammed’s cousin.
Reminder. Iran and Saudi Arabia are the most powerful countries in the Middle East and in Saudi, 95% of people are Sunnis and in Iran 90% of are Shias.
In 1970, Iran and Saudi Arabia had monarchies supported by the US. The US wanted presence in the Middle East. Why? Remember the Cold War? The US (capitalists) and the Soviet Union (communists) each wanted to impose their ideology in the rest of the world.
In 1979, Iran had a revolution. Why? What do the Iranians want?
- Be independent from foreign powers (Iran hates the US and its values),
- Replace Iran’s U.S backed monarchy with an islamic republic, and overthrow governments in neighbor countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Tunisia, Bahrain, Saudi) to establish Islamic republics there.
The Iranian Revolution ended with the creation of an Islamic republic. In this republic, laws made by the state can’t contradict Islamic laws (laws based on the Quran). For instance, intoxicants (like alcohol) aren’t allowed and a woman can have one husband, who can have up to four wives.
Saudi Arabia and others (like Iraq) with autocratic governments in which one person has all the power wanted to maintain their monarchies and feared that the Iranian revolution could inspire their own people to rise up against them.
So what did they do?
Saudi Arabia began supporting governments to maintain their power (by giving them weapons and money), while Iran helped revolutionaries in those countries (usually shia groups) rise up against them.
This trend continues. Iran and Saudi Arabia each support different groups in neighbor countries, creating civil wars and making these countries to collapse.
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