The Salafi and Regime Countermobilization
This chapter examines Saudi Arabia's strategy, in cooperation with the Salafi clerical establishment, toward domestic Shi'a activism. From 2003 onward, the Saudi regime's strategy toward Shi'a activism was influenced by a convergence of domestic vulnerabilities and regional threats: the ruling family's symbiotic relationship with the Salafi establishment, which was doctrinally opposed to Shi'ism, and the kingdom's geostrategy rivalry with Iran. Popular Salafi clerics and nongovernmental religious organizations agitated for a greater Saudi role in defending Iraq's Sunnis from Iranian-backed Shi'a militias. The Salafi establishment also accused the Saudi Shi'a of being proxies for Hizballah. To close ranks with these figures, the Saudi monarchy tacitly permitted the proliferation of anti-Shi'a tracts, sermons, and web statements, many of them recycled from the kingdom's ideological counteroffensive against the Iranian Revolution of 1979.
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