In the emerging order of the post-Arab Spring middle east, competing models for organizing political life are shaping diplomacy between states as well as the political struggles within them.
Well before the 2011 Arab uprisings, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia were in competition with each other in exporting their respective models of Shiite and Wahhabi Islamism.
Under this regime, an act of protest against the monarchy is sinful; Wahhabi doctrine requires that Muslims submit to their rulers.
As Saudi Arabia’s dominant faith, Wahhabi Islam stands for the revival of practices from the early period of Islam and for the authority of revivalists like Muhammad Abd al-Wahhab as the sole qualified interpreters of Islamic scripture.
After Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution in Iran in 1979, Wahhabi clerics in Saudi Arabia demanded greater influence over the kingdom’s domestic and external affairs.