uthi rebel group in Yemen earlier this month. Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran continue to rise as more missiles from Yemen are launched.
When the Arab Spring began in Middle Eastern countries in 2010, no one was sure how the movement would resolve. Today, countries such as Yemen are still facing the aftermath of the decisions made during the Arab Spring. In 2011, Yemen’s authoritarian president was forced to step down and hand over responsibilities to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. During the transition, an opposing force known as the Houthi movement took control of northern parts of the country and attempted to gain control of southern parts of the region.
After fighting, government forces were able to prevent the Houthis from capturing the southern parts of their country; however, the northern region is currently under the power of the Houthis. This region is closer to Saudi Arabia and has given the Houthis opportunities to shoot missiles across the border.
On Feb. 5, the Saudi Arabian government intercepted another missile believed to be shot by the Houthis. Iran has supported the Houthi rebels in the past, escalating the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Another source of conflict between the two countries is their religion. According to BBC News, the two branches of Islam, Sunnis and Shia, separate these two countries in drastic ways.
The Saudi Arabia Muslims are mostly Sunnis and the Iran population is mostly Shiite. According to an article published by New York Times International, a difference between these two branches dates to Prophet Muhammad’s death. Each group held different beliefs about who should lead the Muslims.
According to the New York Times, the Sunnis believed that their civic and religious leaders were Abu Bakr, his two successors, and Ali. The Shiites only believed that Ali was their leader, not his three predecessors. The word Shiites is a contraction of the phrase Shiat Ali, or followers of Ali.
A member of John Brown University’s team competing at the Model Arab League, Brooke Kramer said, “The biggest issue is the power play between the two countries because they are both very strong nation states economically due to their oil reserves.”
Both Saudi Arabia and Iran are members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. According to the OPEC website, their mission is to “co-ordinate and unify petroleum policies among Member Countries in order to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers.”
For consumers in the U.S., conflict in Iran and Saudi Arabia could mean rise in oil prices. Kramer said since everyone uses gas in the Middle East, people should be aware of these tensions.
“It’s really important to know that what happens in the Middle East effects our economy,” Kramer said.
Another member of the team competing for JBU is Junior Matt Logan. He said that U.S. defense corporations deal a lot of supplies to Saudi Arabia because the U.S. considers them an ally.
“They seem to be one of the more stable countries over there, and that’s very important,” Logan said.
According to The Times of Israel, “The UN Security Council is considering a draft resolution that would condemn Iran for violating the arms embargo on Yemen and call for measures to address this violation” which would potentially stop more missile strikes against Saudi Arabia. The United Kingdom and the U.S. both support the resolution and the Security Council is scheduled to vote on this issue at the end of the month.