How America Contributed to the Saudi-Iran Flare-Up

232
The flare-up between Saudi Arabia and Iran involves far more than another outburst of Shiite-Sunni rivalry, which dates back to the seventh century Battle of Karbala, though no doubt that ancient feud fuels resentment on both sides of this basic Muslim divide. Those who argue that it is no longer relevant are hard put to explain, for example, Sunni violence against Shiites in Pakistan, or long-standing tensions between Sunni and Shiite Arabs in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Nevertheless, it is the competition for leadership in the Middle East in general, and in the Gulf in particular, that is driving Tehran and Riyadh to the brink of war.