Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud attends the 29th Arab League Summit in Dhahran, April 15, 2018. (AFP)

By Track Persia

September 30, 2021

Iran’s Safawi theocracy is currently facing an unprecedented challenge. This new challenge is represented by Saudi Arabia, in particular, after the reformist Saudi prince Mohammad Bin Salman has become the Crown Prince and the future Saudi king.

Iran sees Prince Bin Salman as a formidable enemy and nightmare to its “axis of resistance” in the region including Yemen which is partly controlled by Tehran’s proxies the Houthis.

This should not be a surprise since Bin Salman is bent on up-rooting both Iran’s Shiite theocracy and all its Arab-based proxies represented by the Yemeni Houthis, the Iraqi Hashd al-Sha’bi (PMF) and the Lebanese Hezbollah.

The young Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salam, who is also known as MBS,  was reported to have divided the Middle East into two warring camps:  the “triangle of evil,” which consists of Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Sunni terror groups; and an alliance of self-described moderate states that includes Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman.

Speaking about the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Saudi Crown Prince Bin Salman said: “I believe the Iranian supreme leader makes Hitler look good. Hitler didn’t do what the supreme leader is trying to do. Hitler tried to conquer Europe. … The supreme leader is trying to conquer the world.”

The young prince called the Iran nuclear deal a “flawed agreement”  a term also used by US former President Donald Trump to describe the controversial deal between Iran and 5+1 powers including the US under the Obama administration.

Prince Bin Salman in February 2018 said the Arab League which is based in Cairo and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation had begun ousting Iran’s theocracy from their midst.

The main battle zone in the Iranian war against Arab nationalists is Syria, where atrocities have been committed by Assad’s regime guided by Iran and its Shiite militant proxies in the region including Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan, in addition to Russia.

The sectarian civil war in Syria erupted when Iran’s Shiite theocracy with a Safawi ideology intervened to defend Assad’s side. Civil peaceful protests that started on March 15, 2011, turned into a bloody armed conflict after the Assad regime started to target the protesters and opponents. Since then, the Alawite Shiite minority in Syria, which Assad came from, has become the remnant of the 16th-century Persian empire based on Safawism.

Nationalist Shia in Arab countries accuse Iran of racism, which is a reflection of Persian imperialism. The Iranians and their proxies have been deeply involved in the sectarian war in Syria. Dozens of Iranian officers from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have been killed in suspected Israeli attacks since the war started.

The Iran-guided Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, supported by Russia’s Putin, is trying to rule what is left of his country with an iron fist. Meanwhile, Iran is working on implementing its agenda i.e. controlling the Arab world by converting its majority Sunni Muslims to the Shiite with radicalised and revolutionised ideologies such as Safawism and Khomeinism. The Assad regime, a ruthless dictatorship begun in 1970 by Syrian Air Force Commander General Hafez al-Assad who took power in Damascus by a military coup d’état; and died in June 2000 and was immediately succeeded by his son Bashar.

Assad forces have carried out many military offensives on the opposition groups in different areas in Syria such as the Eastern Ghouta region. One of these attacks, for example, resulted in a carnage of people rebelled against his rule. On many attacks, the Assad regime used chemical weapons and killed entire populations of towns such as Douma which Assad forces left in rubble after at least 90 persons of its residents were killed by using chemical weapons.

The Syrian opposition said there were thousands killed and wounded and the dead were not counted because the war jets were touring the skies. Like many parts in Syria, Eastern Ghouta, Aleppo and Hums witnessed typical ethnic cleansing operations and most of their residents were executed by the Assad regime. The regime is applying the policy of Iranian ethnic cleansing in Syria. It is part of a long-term policy that Iran uses to establish a durable strategic corridor linking Iran to Syria and Lebanon through Iraq.

In Yemen, Iran has allied with the Houthis, the Zaidi Shiite militiamen who are known among Sunni communities in the region as “cheap thugs” working for Tehran. The Houthis have adopted Iran’s Safawi ideology. Tehran uses this militia to expand its influence in the Gulf region and to weaken the Saudi Arabia kingdom, which is strongly opposed to political Islam, be it Shiite or Sunni. The Kingdom sees both Iran’s theocracy and the Sunni radicals like the Muslim Brotherhood or al-Qaeda and ISIS affiliates as charlatans and the most serious threat to the Islam faith.

Prince Bin Salman is being championed as standing against radical Islam. The prince has warned the Iranian regime that it would face war with Saudi Arabia if it did not stop firing missiles at the kingdom.  He was widely quoted by the media as a warning there will be an Iran-Saudi war if more sanctions and other forms of pressure on Tehran did not work to change the theocracy’s plans against Arab neighbours.

Despite having the most advanced military technology, the Saudi kingdom has, it seeks peaceful channels to stop the Iranian interventions in its issues and sovereignty. Prince Bin Salman urged the UNSC to squeeze Tehran economically and politically so that it ended its territorial and other ambitions in the Arab world. He urged UNSC to impose sanctions on Iran and the Houthis have fired many missiles targeting a number of Saudi cities over the past few years.

Iran’s Safawi movement, however, is careful not to prompt Saudi Arabia to weaken its presence in Yemen or any other country where it has strategic assets held by its proxies. There is no indication that Iran will tolerate a loss in Yemen or elsewhere because such loss will affect the theocracy’s own survival. Having said that, it appears that the Iranian Sawafi theocracy is deeply concerned with this unprecedented challenge, which could be deadly and could have negative impacts on its existence.

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.