Saudi Arabia and Iraq just can’t get along

Saudi Arabia and post-Saddam Iraq have never gotten along — the Saudis have never gotten over the fact that a Shiite government is now running the show in Baghdad. Via Nightwatch, I see that Al-Sharq al-Awsat is reporting that the religious aspect of this conflict is moving out into the open. It all began when ...

574718_100107_abdullahresized2.jpg
574718_100107_abdullahresized2.jpg

Saudi Arabia and post-Saddam Iraq have never gotten along -- the Saudis have never gotten over the fact that a Shiite government is now running the show in Baghdad. Via Nightwatch, I see that Al-Sharq al-Awsat is reporting that the religious aspect of this conflict is moving out into the open.

It all began when Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accused Saudi religious scholars of takfirism -- the habit of declaring fellow Muslims apostates willy-nilly, effectively excluding them from the Muslim community. In response, Sheikh Abdulaziz Aal al-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, fired back that Saudi scholars "do not have a takfirist approach," and that "such mistakes should not be made against a Muslim country that is well known for its goodness and moderation on all things."

Saudi Arabia and post-Saddam Iraq have never gotten along — the Saudis have never gotten over the fact that a Shiite government is now running the show in Baghdad. Via Nightwatch, I see that Al-Sharq al-Awsat is reporting that the religious aspect of this conflict is moving out into the open.

It all began when Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accused Saudi religious scholars of takfirism — the habit of declaring fellow Muslims apostates willy-nilly, effectively excluding them from the Muslim community. In response, Sheikh Abdulaziz Aal al-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, fired back that Saudi scholars “do not have a takfirist approach,” and that “such mistakes should not be made against a Muslim country that is well known for its goodness and moderation on all things.”

It’s fairly remarkable that, even as Iraq has achieved some stability over the past several years, its relationship with Saudi Arabia has remained so poor. Despite being, respectively, America’s largest commitment and America’s most important ally in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has yet to send an ambassador to Baghdad.

YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images

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