Saudi Arabia and Iran are countries that do not like each other. I had a conversation with someone a while back about what would happen if Iran and Saudi Arabia were to ever go to war with each other. The conversation was so interesting that I thought I should share some of the things mentioned.
The following items are some events/developments that could happen if Saudi Arabia and Iran were to go to war with each other in the future.
A war between Saudi Arabia and Iran would unlikely be limited to just these two countries.
- The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is an organization consisting of six countries that are located near the Persian Gulf, including: Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. The GCC runs the Peninsula Shield, a joint-defense force whose purpose is to protect GCC member countries. A war between Iran and Saudi Arabia would likely require the participation of the Peninsula Shield in the defense of Saudi Arabia.
- The U.S. probably would get involved to help Saudi Arabia defeat Iran since the U.S. wants to see regime change in Iran.
- Israel probably would prefer to let Saudi Arabia and others work to bring down the Iranian regime than to get directly involved themselves because they risk being attacked if they get involved. However, the probable involvement of the U.S. could make the Iranian regime suspect that Israel orchestrated events or is playing a role in the conflict (the Iranian regime believes that Israel and the U.S. work together against their interests). Therefore, it would not be a surprise if Iran attacks Israel if the U.S. gets involved in the war. An attack on Israel would give Israel’s leaders little choice but to retaliate against its attacker(s).
- You could see Syria and Hezbollah get involved if Israel gets involved. Iran has a defense treaty with Syria where they agree to join forces against Israel. Syria also has a a defense pact with Hezbollah where each side agrees to come the other’s aid in case of war against Israel.
A war between Saudi Arabia and Iran would likely stoke sectarian tensions throughout the Middle East since the war would represent a war between Sunni (Saudi Arabia) and Shia (Iran).
- There would likely be a Shia uprising in the oil-rich provinces of eastern Saudi Arabia.
- Yemen, Lebanon, and Kuwait also could see unrest as they each have a sizable Shia population.
OPEC could be in disarray since member countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran would be at war with each other.
The price of oil would likely skyrocket due to concerns about the security of the oil fields & oil infrastructure in both Saudi Arabia and Iran and concerns about Iran shutting down the strait of Hormuz, which is a location where a substantial amount of the world’s daily oil supply travels through. Oil prices could remain elevated for an extended period of time after the conflict ends if there is significant damage to oil fields or oil infrastructure in either country.
- The inflationary shock of skyrocketing oil prices would likely inflict severe economic damage to many countries around the world, particularly those that import a lot of oil (i.e. China, the U.S., and Japan). The shock could lead to a severe global recession or even a global depression if prices remain elevated for an extended period of time.
- We could see increased political volatility worldwide from any severe economic downturn that may result from a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran since the state of the economy often drives people’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the leaders in power. Poor global economic conditions would likely stoke widespread dissatisfaction with the leaders in power. The widespread dissatisfaction with the leaders in power would translate to a strong anti-incumbent vote in countries that hold democratic elections and anti-government protests in countries that do not allow democratic elections.
In sum, a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran would be a major event that would have a lot of adverse consequences worldwide. A war between Saudi Arabia and Iran would likely lead to severe Middle East turmoil, severe global economic turmoil, and increased political volatility worldwide.
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