There are many important areas of the world where what goes on effects the rest of the world and the most important down through time has been the Middle East or the “Holy Land”. Today that is still true but the Arabian Gulf along with Iran is also a place we need to be watching to get a preview of what is to come.

I find it of interest as I look back in time and see how many people of the same lineage fight and kill each other over simple difference in the same religion. Most of us watched or  lived through the violence in Ireland with the Protestants and the Catholic’s killing each other. Because most of us haven’t lived in that environment we find it difficult to understand. Even harder for us is the Shiite- Sunni division and violence that has been going on for centuries. They have so much in common but the little that separates them brings on the violence.

Saudi Arabia has been pointed out for its fiery brand of Islam under the Wahhabi sect and it is violent and non forgiving to those unbelievers both Muslim and non Muslim.  The change in their influence in Saudi has diminished over the last 10 years with the rise of terrorism in Saudi and the Royal Family coming to understand that they are the prime targets of radical Islamist. Saudi is viewed as being run by religious zealots but that is only window dressing and if the Royal family sees a threat to themselves, religion goes out the door, the gloves come off and they come down hard.

Probably the most important person in bringing change in the way Saudi operates and looks a terrorism is Prince Mohammed bin Nayef. He is unique for as a moderate and one who understands the west and how to bring enemies together has extended a olive branch as he brought a hammer down on the terrorist. He understands that there has to be room for people with different views to live and prosper as long as one doesn’t use violence to promote their view.

The statement Sunday by Shiite Saudi Cleric Shaikh Hassan Al Saffar warning against violence by the Shiite minority in Eastern Saudi Arabia where most of the Kingdoms approximately  two million Shiites live. This area is where the Saudi oil wealth is and it is critical that unrest doesn’t break out in this region. You can see the hand of Prince bin Nayef in the Mediation between the Shiites and Sunni’s as Saudi attempts to keep a lid on the past hostiles between the two groups.  The reason for hope of a more peaceful future between the two groups is that Saudi recognizes the need to find a compromise and not just react with force. 

All of this comes after Saudi Arabia published a list on Friday of designated “Terror” groups, including the little known Saudi Hezbollah Shiite militant group and Al Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen. This follows the listing of the Muslim Brotherhood as a Terrorist group a few weeks ago.

I expect to see more concrete actions taken by Saudi Arabia to take their place as a real force in fighting terrorism not only in Saudi but the world as Prince bin Nayef comes more to the for front of Saudi foreign policy. The realities of the real world they live in will bring the more conservative hard liners around to Prince bin Nayef’s view of how to navigate the troubled waters ahead. 

Until next time be Safe: