On the Hezbollah-Saudi Royal Family Feud
Amid all of the violent breakdowns, role reversals and unlikely alliances expanding across the Middle East in recent years, sudden shifts in public rhetoric – absent immediate actions on the ground – between various actors can seem far less important.
However, when it comes to the unprecedented “war of words” between the Saudi royal family and Hezbollah of late (a war that was operative at Hizbullah’s inception, was veiled even when KSA probably tried to assassinate Fadlallah, and then began to arise in late 2013 – and which is deeply tied to common Iranian perceptions), we would all do well to pay close attention for this new stage may signal a qualitative escalation, perhaps even a “tipping point,” in the ongoing sectarian battles that, alongside a multitude of other conflicts, is leading the region to even greater death, destruction and hopelessness.
Despite the “pause” today in the battle over Yeman – and it is likely just a pause – Hizbullah seems to have shifted it’s understanding of and/or public stance over the next stage in the region – this is apparent from Nasrallah’s speeches and private discussions with Hizbullah officials here in beirut. Yes, it may just be a part of political theatre – one cannot be sure at this stage – but I think it might be more serious than that… no matter how rational or “correct” the “new” thinking may be.
Nasrallah’s words – equating KSA and Israel, attacking them on a wide and personally insulting religious-moral basis, predicting that KSA will likely undergo an internal eruption, together with Hizbullah’s analysis of the growing power of ISIS and its targeting, in the next stage, the Saudi royal family – all feed into, I believe, their “new” analysis of regional dynamics which sees an even wider sectarian war – whether one wants it or not becomes immaterial – which could very well topple the main historical backer of Sunni extremism i.e. the Saudi royal family as Hizbullah sees it.
My basic question here is this: Should Hizbullah (and Iran) not be greatly concerned by the possible fall of the house of Saud? Doesn’t this mean an even more brutal, “open” sunni-shia war? Has the party resigned itself to this outcome in the near to medium term because of the perceived “stupidity” of KSA and its various local allies?
I wonder finally: has Hizbullah’s barely latent, and arguably growing, shiite chauvanism (though usually well-veiled and with ample platitudes towards the rational basis of their superiority in the field and beyond) combined with the pre-existing messianic tendencies (not to mention the more secular “radical” tendencies) to produce a situation where the Party almost welcomes a great, clarifying battle within Islam for the true direction and true leadership of the community?
And doesn’t this become the same way of desiring – though perhaps not seeking – a clarifying end a la ISIS?