Conditions are “ripe” for a region-wide war in the Middle East, writes Steven Bucci:
For years, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have competed—Iran, as the champion of the Shia Islamic world, the House of Saud as the de facto leader of the Sunni world.
Iran has a massive military, as well as major capabilities in unconventional warfare and espionage. It influences or outright controls Hezbollah in Lebanon, Assad in Syria, and the powerful Shia militias in Iraq. Now, Tehran is encouraging—and most likely aiding—the Al Houthis rebelling in Yemen.
The Saudis, powerful in their own right, have allied with Al Sisi in Egypt, King Abdullah in Jordan, and most of the other Gulf Arab States. They are also allied with the Pakistanis, who have one of the largest militaries in the world, and nuclear weapons to boot. Additionally, there is a growing possibility that the Turks may throw in with the Sunni side.
It’s a huge amount of fire power, rivalry and armed conflict concentrated in a comparatively small region. And this tinderbox could blow up into a major conflagration, with destructive consequences unparalleled since World War Two.
Read the whole thing — and sleep tight.