|Reza Khalili doing his best to look like a Batman villain.|
Retrieved from tyglobalist.org.
After doing some light research on Reza Khalil I found that one thing is clear: we don't know much about him. He claims to have worked for the CIA in the Revolutionary Guard and has even given some public talks in the US (with a face mask and voice changer of course), but some "critics" and "experts" doubt the validity of some of his claims. On the other hand, his lawyer claims he is telling the truth. My personal take on it? The guy is suspect, but that doesn't mean he's not at least partially legit. I can offer no conclusive opinion on how reliable he is.
So let's get to the meat of the matter. Do I think it's actually likely that Iran will initiate open war with Saudi Arabia? No, but I'll get to that. Khalil claims that both Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting a proxy war in Syria, both having sent fighters to help their respective sides. Predominately Shia Iran is predictably backing Assad's regime, which is also Shia and has had strong ties to Iran for a long time. Saudi Arabia is reportedly backing the Sunni opposition forces that seek to remove Assad's regime. Assuming all this is true, it would make sense that Iran would be a little upset. Syria has long been an ally with Iran, and if it has a major regime change Iran may find itself very, very alone in the Middle East.
|Saudi Arabian troops entering Bahrain in March 2011 to help put down|
the Bahraini uprising. Retrieved from guardian.co.uk.
The Bahraini Arab Spring was the first time I became aware of an underlying conflict between Iran in Saudi Arabia. This conflict in Syria only continues that theme, but there are some very serious variables. Iran is not a predictable force. They have defied the United States in the past with such actions as the Iran hostage crisis when 52 Americans from the US embassy in Iran was captured and held hostage from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981. They have also backed down from conflict earlier this year when Iranian officials promised to attack US forces if they entered the Straits of Hormuz. But we did enter the Straits of Hormuz and nothing happened. Iran had been posturing.
My gut tells me that Iran is posturing now. Like Saddam Hussein, they fear the appearance of weakness. They are willing to make any threats or promises of violence that they feel are necessary to keep their enemies and perceived enemies at bay, but would they really risk all out war with Saudi Arabia, one of the United States' top allies in the region? I still think not. I hope not.
The implications of this are far reaching. If Iran and Saudi Arabia were to engage in all-out war, Saudi Arabia would certainly call upon the US and European allies for assistance, which I believe we would happily offer en masse. Then enters another wild card. Russia is also unhappy about a potential regime change in Syria, one of the few nations in the region that offers a secure port for the Russian Navy. Russia has also been saber rattling, but would they get involved in an Iran/Saudi Arabia/United States mix up? I believe the answer is "maybe."
So is there a potential for World War III to start in the next couple of weeks? Totally. But it still doesn't seem likely. However it is easy to see how this kind of thing could escalate to an international conflict on a scale we haven't seen in decades.