The rivalries tearing the Middle East apart

yemen air strikes aftermath-rubble-aBy Eric Ruder

ON A single day in late March, the U.S. began a new bombing campaign in its air war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), targeting ISIS positions in the Iraqi city of Tikrit–while 1,500 miles away, Saudi Arabia launched its first air strikes in Yemen in a bid to halt the advance of Houthi rebels.

The latest military escalations by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia threaten to further destabilize a Middle East in which open hostilities and humanitarian disasters have multiplied, from Libya to Yemen, and Syria to Iraq.

Both Saudi Arabia and the U.S. are anxious to portray their military operations as fully justified and even noble–but the bloody record of these two allies’ accomplishments gives the lie to such claims. In fact, just beneath the surface lurks the real reason for the escalation of violence: a sharpening rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. [Read more…]