Pivotal states confronting and accommodating iran
In the emerging order of the post-Arab Spring middle east, competing models for organizing political life are shaping diplomacy between states as well as the political struggles within them.
Well before the 2011 Arab uprisings, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia were in competition with each other in exporting their respective models of Shiite and Wahhabi Islamism.
has been based on the revolutionary vision of Ayatollah Khomeini.
He believed that there was a Western conspiracy to undermine Islam and the Muslim world that was begun with the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire that had a sectarian and power conflict with Iran.
Moreover, in order to thwart the regional spread of Iranian influence and revolutionary Shiite Islamism, the Saudi King began to aggressively export Wahhabi Islamism around the Islamic world through Islamic colleges, centers, mosques, and schools, and international organizations such as the Muslim World League, the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, the International Islamic Relief Organization, and various royal charities such as the Popular Committee for Assisting the Palestinian Mujahedeen.
The fatwas issued by Saudi-aligned and neo-Salafist scholars generally reflect Wahhabism’s well-known puritanism and intolerance as well as its opposition to revolution, popular government and elections.
In response, Sunni powers such as Saudi Arabia have sought to stress the Shiite and Persian character of Iranian outreach.
Besides this, the institutions of the Velayat-e-Faqih constrain the powers of the president.
The Constitution of Islamic Republic gives the Supreme Leader unlimited powers.
Wahhabism’s first adherents thus accused Orthodox Sunni Muslims who were living under the Ottoman Caliphate of bid’a (innovation) and kufr (nonbelief).
All Shiites were also branded as kufr and rafida (rejectionists) by Abd al-Wahhab.