Skip to main content

Shiite alliance against Saudis grows tighter

As the sectarian conflict intensifies, Shiite forces expand their cooperation against Saudi Arabia while Iraq plays a key role in this regard.
Member from Hashid Shaabi hold a banner of Abdulmalik al-Huthi during a demonstration to show support for Yemen's Shi'ite Houthis and in protest of an air campaign in Yemen by a Saudi-led coalition, in Baghdad March 31, 2015. Saudi troops clashed with Yemeni Houthi fighters on Tuesday in the heaviest exchange of cross-border fire since the start of a Saudi-led air offensive last week, while Yemen's foreign minister called for a rapid Arab intervention on the ground. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani - RTR4VNMI

NAJAF, Iraq — With the ongoing sectarian conflict in the Middle East, the tug-of-war to find regional alliances to support one sectarian axis over another continues. After Saudi Arabia established a Sunni alliance in December 2015, there are currently indications that Iran is working toward building a corresponding Shiite alliance.

In his annual message addressed to pilgrims on Sept. 5, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attacked the Saudi alliance and described the Saudi leaders as strife instigators in the region. He blamed them for the chaos and destruction across the Muslim world, naming Iraq, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and Libya as affected areas.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.