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Saudi Arabia instigating sectarianism in Mideast: Analyst

Yememi forces walk in Zinjibar on August 16, 2016 after they entered the capital of the southern Abyan province following an offensive to recapture the city from al-Qaeda terrorists. (Photo by AFP)

Press TV has conducted an interview with Naseer al-Omari, a writer and political commentator from New York, about Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s recent remarks on Saudi Arabia’s “divisive” policies in the Middle East region.

Press TV: This ideology of hate that the Iranian president said the Saudis are spreading, can you please elaborate what you believe he’s referring to?

Omari: Well, I believe that Saudi Arabia has turned all conflicts in the region into sectarian conflicts. Prior to the Arab Spring, there was hardly any mention of the Sunni-Shia divide even in places like Iraq.

The government took over and there was effort to put together a national government and all of a sudden after the Arab Spring the royal family in Saudi Arabia found it in its interest to turn Syria, Iraq, Yemen, even a place like Yemen which had not known any Sunni, Shia, Houthi divide - all of a sudden everybody turns sectarian and it's escalating of course.

And I believe that has damaged the Arab Spring, that has damaged all the nations in the region who aspire for democracy and freedom. So I understand what Mr. Rouhani is referring to and I agree with him a hundred percent.

Press TV: And a lot of Western powers have just sat back and let all of this unfold, they even support Riyadh and its policies in the Middle East and even though like a lot of countries and a lot of critics have said that these policies have had negative impact throughout the world, why do Western powers continue to support the regime they know - and this is proven - because you heard people in parliament, people in Westminster, people in the US Congress, you're starting to see that dissension? Why do the Western powers still support Riyadh?

Omari: Well, you have to follow the money, so to speak, and there are deals with the weapons industry in the United States as well as in Europe. And these companies put a lot of pressure on these democratic governments to continue the arm sale to a country like Saudi Arabia where the weapons are used against the Yemeni people, a neighbor and another Muslim country.

So, unfortunately democracies in the West are not standing up for principles they're leading. The Saudis with the Wahhabi ideology penetrate countries where there was no sectarianism like Yemen and a place like Syria. The Syrian people are the most open-minded people in the region and all of a sudden people are turning against each other and I believe that is thanks to the Saudi ideology and Saudi media.

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