Iranian-Saudi Rivalry Since 1979: In the Words of Kings and Clerics by Talal Mohammad

$ 50.00

The fraught relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran is usually attributed to sectarian differences, even by the states' own elites. However, this book shows that in their official speeches, newspaper editorials and Friday sermons, these elites use sectarian and nationalist references and tropes to denigrate each other and promote themselves in the eyes of their respective constituencies in the region.

Talal Mohammad, who is fluent in both Arabic and Persian, examines Saudi-Iranian rivalry using discourse analysis of these religious, political and journalistic sources. Tracing what has been produced since 1979 in parallel, he argues for a consistent pattern of mutual misrepresentation, whereby each frames its counterpart as the 'Other' to which a specific political agenda can be justified and advanced. The book covers key events including the Iranian Revolution, the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the Taliban war, the fall of Saddam, the Arab Spring, the rise of Mohammed bin Salman, and the war on ISIS. While until now Saudi-Iranian rivalry has been understood in primarily sectarian or geopolitical terms, the author argues here that the discursive othering serves as a propagandist function that supports more fundamental political and geopolitical considerations. 

Talal Mohammad is an Academic Visitor at the Middle East Centre at The University of Oxford, UK, where he obtained his DPhil on Iran-Saudi Relations. Since 2015, he has been giving expert strategic consultancies and geopolitical analysis with a focus on the Persian Gulf to a range of institutions and enterprises.

Year: 2024


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