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The breach in diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia is a dangerous watershed in an already unstable, war-torn region.The revolution's leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, did not hide his contempt for the Saudi royal family; he quickly positioned Iran as a champion of "the oppressed" against "the forces of arrogance" – the United States and its local allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel.In Syria, Saudi Arabia has dedicated itself to the overthrow of President Bashar Assad, a key Iranian ally, and has worked to unite the woefully disorganized opposition groups. Iran, for its part, continues to back Assad, with the help of Russia.While the Saudis appeared willing to accept the deal, Iran rejected it after Hezbollah balked at both candidates.Pro-Iranian Houthi fighters and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh have fought off a force of southern Yemenis backed by Saudi and Emirati air power and special forces.In the short term, Iran's response has benefited Saudi Arabia's rulers, rallying Sunnis both within the kingdom and abroad and silencing their jihadi opponents.
Obama does damage control in Arabia
Religious violence in the Arab world is likely to get worse
Saudi Arabia and Israel have very different concerns about Iran
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