A Khomeinist Saudi Arabia

Fares bin Hezam

Published: Updated:

Can the Saudi kingdom be reimagined within the Khomeinist Iranian formula?

This is no joke, this is the reality that Islamists almost led us to in the kingdom.

The “Iranian” model has presented its image not only in terms of adhering to power and leading the state via the “Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist” or in terms of promoting the “international Khomeini revolution,” exporting its supreme ideas and having the guardianship of the Islamic jurist reach the Mediterranean Sea, but also by picking up slogans from other major models in the 20th century, like communism, and monopolizing power, leadership and guidance and turning into a failed revolutionary regime that’s thirsty to fight and shed blood and that plants poverty and indigence in its people.

This live failure of disappointing an entire people is not a model which ordinary people look up to but it was not distant from the Saudi kingdom as its features were visible during distant and close periods of time.

Drowning in illusions

First of all, there have been attempts to replicate this regime that’s drowned in the illusion of the “jurist’s governorship” via small gatherings in Saudi Arabia. In Iran, clerics transformed hawzat (seminaries) into ideological camps to recruit followers and manage the conflict with the ruling regime. Similar parties in Saudi Arabia did the same via organizations that were secret in the beginning and that were made public in the end and that either operated peacefully or resorted to armed terrorist activities. There have been hideous assassinations in both countries. When Khomeini’s group first came together in Iran, it killed Americans and top security officials to serve its their propaganda purposes and have media material to tackle in international arenas. This also happened in Saudi Arabia. No one dared criticize terrorist operations in Iran back then because they’d be accused of treason by the society, and this is also what happened in Saudi Arabia.

Can the Saudi kingdom be reimagined within the Khomeinist Iranian formula? This is no joke, this is the reality that Islamists almost led us to in the kingdom.

Fares bin Hezam

In 1929, the Battle of Sabilla was between a ruler that wants to build a modern state and others who were quick to adopt that approach which in the future became the “Khomeinist revolution.” However, the Saudi founder triumphed, and three years after the decisive battle, he finalized the pillars of the state and established the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In 1979, an extremist led more than 200 other extremists like him to occupy the Grand Mosque for the aim of establishing a model that resembles the one in Iran and which was formed around 10 months before this seizure incident.

In 1994, a wide activity that aimed to plant the seeds of a regime that resembles the Khomeinist experience and that was centered in Buraydah was eliminated.

In 2003, other similar attempts followed two simultaneous tracks: an armed practical one and a theoretical one. Both sought to delude the state and the public opinion that they were distant. In 2011, similar attempts wore wider Arab apparel in Egypt and other countries within the context of the so-called “Arab Spring.”

We must notice how the governmental treatment in these four phases after the kingdom’s establishment took one form as it settled with topical security solutions with extensive concessions to ideological extremism, unlike the comprehensive eradication treatment in the Battle of Sabilla nine decades ago and which the kingdom did last year in 2017.

This article is also available in Arabic.


Fares bin Hezam is Editor-in-Chief at Al Arabiya News Channel.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.