Map of Middle East

La Guerra Fría de Oriente Medio

PRINCETON – La ruptura de las relaciones diplomáticas entre Irán y Arabia Saudita es un punto de inflexión peligroso en una región ya inestable y desgarrada por la guerra. El disparador fue la ejecución por parte de Arabia Saudita de Nimr al-Nimr, un jeque chiita agitador que había reclamado el fin de la monarquía en el país. Pero la ruptura tiene sus raíces en una rivalidad estratégica que se extiende por todo Oriente Medio.

Las tensiones entre los dos países se remontan a muchas décadas, pero se volvieron especialmente agudas después de la Revolución Islámica de Irán en 1979. El líder de la revolución, el ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, no ocultaba su desprecio por la familia real saudita; rápidamente posicionó a Irán como un defensor de "los oprimidos" contra "las fuerzas de la arrogancia" -Estados Unidos y sus aliados locales, Arabia Saudita e Israel.

Sin embargo, si bien la rivalidad tiene componentes sectarios e ideológicos, es por sobre todas las cosas una disputa pragmática por intereses regionales. Como Irán considera que el orden político en el mundo árabe responde a los intereses de sus enemigos, ha intentado continuamente derrocarlo, patrocinando a grupos terroristas y desplegando representantes para establecer y expandir su influencia en la región. Los actores que Irán ha respaldado y que no son estados incluyen peregrinos revoltosos en La Meca, atacantes suicidas en el Líbano y militantes de Hezbollah, que han lanzado ataques contra Israel y, más recientemente, combatieron a grupos rebeldes respaldados por los sauditas en Siria.

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