Sectarianized Geopolitical Contests and the Rise of Armed Sectarian Nonstate Actors The rise of armed sectarian nonstate actors (NSAs) is one of the main consequences of the grand Saudi-Iranian contest over regional dominance unleashed in the wake of the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq.1 Albeit this contest predated the popular... Read More
Religion and Geopolitics in Iranian Foreign Policy Saudi Arabia and Iran, as key power brokers in the Middle East, continue to couch their bilateral relations in antagonistic terms as they chafe against each other in a battle for influence in the region. Characterising this rivalry in the purely sectarian... Read More
The View From Riyadh Most analysis of the Saudi-Iranian rivalry seems to miss the fundamental points that underline the tension.1 Iran is trying to save itself from either foreign intervention or domestic unrest2 while Saudi Arabia does not fear foreign intervention,... Read More
Saudi and Iran: The Struggle to Shape the Middle East Saudi Arabia and Iran: The Struggle to Shape the Middle East is the first report from SEPAD, theSectarianism, Proxies and De-Sectarianisation project, funded by Carnegie Corporation. The report examines the increasingly fractious rivalry between Saudi... Read More
Studying sectarianism while beating dead horses and searching for third ways A pivotal piece by our research fellow, Morten Valbjørn, which considers different ways of thinking about the future study of sectarianism. It discusses strategies beyond primordialism and instrumentalism, calling for a critical exploration of the debate. ... Read More
Saudi Iranian Relations after the rise of Mohammad Bin Salman The son of King Salman, Mohammad Bin Salman (MbS) had already been one of the more powerful people in the Kingdom prior to becoming Crown Prince, but his new role positioned him as the next ruler of the Saudi state at a time of great regional and global... Read More
After years of proxy war, Saudi Arabia and Iran are finally squaring up in the open Ever since Saudi Arabia executed Shia Cleric Nimr al-Nimr for terrorist offences, tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been escalating by the day. Relations between Riyadh and Tehran have been tense ever since the Islamic Republic of Iran... Read More