Against the backdrop of the general tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and especially the war in Yemen, Saudi media has been replete with anti-Iranian propaganda. Many articles accused Iran of striving to destabilize and destroy the region through terrorism and violence, and cartoons depicting Iran as malicious and even demonic were published on a daily basis.
The recent bombings in two Shi’ite mosques in eastern Saudi Arabia served the Saudi media as another opportunity for a harsh attack on Iran and its policy. Alongside articles that condemned the bombings and stressed the need for unity among Sunnis and Shi’ites in the kingdom, many other articles were published that held Iran responsible for the attacks, while ignoring the problem of extremism and anti-Shi’ite incitement in Saudi Arabia itself. Some editorials and op-eds described the attacks as an Iranian response to the failure of Iran’s plan to take over Yemen by means of the Houthis and to destabilize and take over other countries in the region. Iran, they said, is behind ISIS and other Sunni terrorist organizations, and uses them to target the Gulf countries – especially Saudi Arabia, in order to distract it from the war against the Houthis in Yemen. Many Saudi cartoons likewise depicted Iran as a sponsor of violence and terrorism.
The following are excerpts from some of the articles, and a sampling of the cartoons.
‘Al-Madina’ And ‘Al-Riyadh’ Editorials: Mosque Attacks In Saudi Arabia Came In Response To Iranian Defeats In Yemen
Editorials in the Saudi press claimed that Iran’s defeats in Yemen had prompted it to activate ISIS in Saudi Arabia. The May 26, 2015 editorial for the official Saudi daily Al-Riyadh stated: “…Anyone observing what is happening in the region can clearly see that ISIS is a militia backed by a [certain] country [hinting at Iran] that does not shy away from attacking the most dignified of sites in order to achieve its goals, while it takes advantage of the movements of chaos in the region that have provided fertile ground for destabilizing public order in [various] countries… This [activity] is aimed at facilitating that country’s expansion and its establishment of itself as an alternative presence [in those countries] to fill the vacuum [created there]. We have already seen this happen in several neighboring countries. The political and military events [in the region], the most prominent of which was [Operation] Decisive Storm, caused countries in the region [again hinting at Iran] to sense a great danger threatening their destructive schemes [and] shattering their plans to ‘export [the revolution].'”
‘Al-Sharq Al-Awsat’ Columnist: Iran Fights Saudi Arabia Using Sunni Terrorist Organizations Such As ISIS…
“Iran has a long history of attempting to do damage to Saudi Arabia. In 1987, it sparked a riot during the pilgrimage season, murdering pilgrims from all the Muslim countries… It repeated this with several Kuwaiti and Saudi citizens in the blasts in Al-Mu’aisam in 1989 at the Hajj ceremonial site in the Mina [area]. It tried to harm the Gulf countries by attempting to assassinate [former Kuwaiti emir] Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad in Kuwait [in May 1985], and by hijacking the Kuwaiti jet. It has also spared no efforts in its deployment of espionage cells in the Gulf countries, and in its plan to destabilize these countries and their peoples and to occupy parts of their lands. What does Iran gain by murdering Shi’ites in Iraq, in the Gulf countries, and particularly in Saudi Arabia? This is the greatest political conflict in the Middle East, and it is about Iran’s desire to expand and spread its influence. Therefore, these incidents were not aimed at harming the Shi’ites that Iran purports to protect… but rather at destabilizing politics in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries.
Saudi Columnist: ISIS Members Do Not Necessarily Know That They Are Operated By Iranian Intelligence Apparatuses
Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh, a columnist for the official Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, wrote: “…Even though I do not believe in the conspiracy theory, I must rely on it to explain these ISIS attacks [on the Shi’ite mosques in Saudi Arabia], [which took place] at the exact time that the Persian Iranians, through their Houthi agents in Yemen, suffered blow after blow and could not [do anything but] surrender… One might say that the phenomenon of ISIS is a natural and expected one because, when [Islam] is made political, [this results in] violence that presumes to represent Islam… Here, [Iran’s] intelligence apparatuses entered the picture and worked to guide the violent actions [of ISIS] so that they served their interest. And this, in my estimation, is ISIS’s link to Iranian intelligence.
“As for the U.S., its position is, ‘let [the sides] fight each other, and the winner will be worthy of ties with us and serve as our regional policeman.”
Full article: Saudi Press: Iran Behind Attacks In Shi’ite Mosques In Eastern Saudi Arabia (MEMRI)