February 28, 2014. Saudi Arabia. (ONN) There’s an arms build-up in the Middle East that hasn’t been seen since World War 2. A dozen nations in the region are either already at war or preparing for the next war. And at the rate and volume they’re buying weapons, they’re expecting it soon. Who will they be fighting? Nobody knows yet. But there are two scenarios that many are fearfully watching.
Sunni Muslim areas are shaded light green while Shia Muslim areas are dark green. Image courtesy of MSU.edu.
The scariest and most ominous aspect of the current arms race in the Middle East is that each country is preparing for war, but none are sure who that war will be against. If Israel strikes Iran, the entire Muslim world will unite against the Jewish state. If the US attacks Iran, half the Middle East will fight us while the other half sits it out. If the Kurds declare independence, creating the 3rd largest country in the region, Turkey, Syria and Iraq will fight a war against Kurdistan. But there is a far more likely scenario and preparations are being made right now.
Sunni vs. Shia
It’s probably no coincidence that the many powerful leaders throughout the Judeo-Christian world would love nothing more than to see a worldwide conflict break out pitting Sunni Islam against Shia Islam. ‘Divide and conquer’ has been a tried and true tactic for Western man for centuries. And with Western corporations making tens of billions of dollars in profits in the process, even better.
The Western world is no stranger to global religious civil wars itself. Whether it was Eastern Orthodox against Roman Catholic or Roman Catholic against Protestant, Christianity has killed millions of innocents in the name of hold civil war as well. As far as Islam is concerned, roughly 88% of the world’s Muslim population is Sunni, while 10% are Shia and two percent are made up of more obscure sects. And those two divisions of Islam are waging an ever-spreading religious civil war right now.
Actual nations may not be officially at war with each other yet. But the fundamentalist militant factions are. Shia Hezbollah is fighting Sunni al Qaeda in Syria and Lebanon. Shia Hezbollah and Sunni Hamas are at odds in occupied Palestine. And Iraq and Afghanistan are still being ravaged by religious civil war even after a decade of fighting. Moving south, away from Western news cameras, Muslim militias have ravaged north and north-central Africa in what could only be described as a continent-wide military offensive aimed at toppling African tribal leaders and installing fundamentalist Islamic governments.
Saudi Arabia vs. Iran
If a religious civil war were to explode into a global Islamic war involving national governments declaring war on each other, the catalyst would most likely be an offensive strike by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates against Iran. With the entire world against the idea of a nuclear-armed Iran, the West knows that an unprovoked attack on Iran by either the US or Israel would unite the entire Islamic world against the West. And that’s not what the West wants. The West wants the Muslim world to fight each other until one side wins.
On the Shia side are Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, and half of Lebanon, Yemen and Syria. On the Sunni side are Saudi Arabia, UAE, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Jordan, and if things really get out of hand, Indonesia and Turkey. The wildcards would be the Muslim Kurds and the region’s Christians.
The Kurds have waited centuries to have their country Kurdistan back. And they’ve shown they want no part of a Sunni-Shia war. They would most likely continue their successful formula of staying neutral and slowly securing the borders of their soon-to-be nation, a nation that would rival Iran and Saudi Arabia in size. The region’s Christians, a distinct minority in the Middle East, have shown to side with their fellow persecuted minority - the Shia, as demonstrated most recently in Syria where the Christian minority has been fighting on the side of the Assad regime.
With the line-up of nations on each side fairly set, so is the leadership of each allied block. Saudi Arabia and Iran have each spent the previous decade doing the exact same things; securing an alliance with one of the world’s two global superpowers, amassing a giant military with their oil wealth, and covertly meddling in the national and governmental affairs of their neighboring countries. Nowhere is that more evidenced right now than in Syria.
Rapid arms build-up
Ironically enough, Iran is apparently set on using Israel as a model of national defense. Outnumbered 10 to 1 in a war against their fellow Muslims, and with no chance to win a war against Israel and the US, Iran would like to possess a nuclear weapon. It would seemingly not be used as a first-strike capability, but as a deterrent to countries like Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia. To counter a possible nuclear-armed Iran, countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE are growing and modernizing their conventional militaries at a blinding pace.
Illustrating just how belligerent the current Middle East arms race is, the unstable, war-ravaged country of Iraq, unable to even maintain a fully functioning government, has been buying arms by the billions. Six months ago, the United States confirmed its commitment to provide $15 billion in arms. But even more recently, it was announced that Iraq was making separate arms purchases from Iran. Not to be outdone, Russia announced its own arms sale to Iraq totaling $4.3 billion. At the same time Russia is selling arms to Iraq, it’s also arming Iran and Syria.
On the other side of the battlefield, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and even unstable Libya have been keeping pace with their own military arms purchases. In October, the same time the Russian sale to Iraq was announced, the US agreed to sell Saudi Arabia and the UAE $10.8 billion worth of missiles and bunker-busting bombs. Just last month, the Pentagon announced it was selling $7.1 billion in arms to Libya and the UAE in the form of F-16’s, Apache helicopters and Hellfire missiles. Europe and Canada have been just as busy selling them arms as well.
Saudi Arabia - the next Superpower
There’s a lot of conspiracy talk these days about a grand plan to duplicate the European Union and the North American Free Trade Agreement. Only this time, the target of the one-worlders is the Middle East. Some of the more interesting articles and warnings are accompanied by ‘future maps’ depicting a new Islamic superpower with names ranging from the United States of Arabia to the Islamic Arabian State. Regardless of the name, the idea is clear. It would be one multi-national state headed by Saudi Arabia.
It’s no secret that with its alliances and business relationships with both the US and Israel, Saudi Arabia has positioned itself at the crossroads of east and west. Ruled by the tyrannical Saud monarchy, the regime appears to be embracing its proposed position as a world power and has increased its military spending accordingly. Just in the past year, the country has rocketed up the list of military spending by nation from 7th in the world to 4th.
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When most people envision a list of the globe’s military superpowers, Saudi Arabia rarely appears. But that only illustrates how rapidly the country has been building up its war machine. Also documenting the staggering rate of build-up is a Wikipedia list of nations by firepower, which still shows Saudi Arabia in 7th place. A more recent listing from earlier this month and published by GlobalFirepower.com shows the country in 4th place, having just passed both France and the UK.
So, while the nations of the Middle East are preparing for war, the question still remains, who will be fighting who? If the US or Israel attacks Iran, it will be a fairly united Islamic world against the West. If Saudi Arabia and the UAE attack Iran however, the West could possibly stay out of the chaos and carnage while the Muslim world destroys itself. And even though a Middle Eastern economic block like NAFTA and the EU is the ultimate goal, a bloody and deadly civil war would be both profitable and reassuring to the Judeo-Christian world leaders playing the chess game.
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