The competition for dominant influence over the Middle East by Iran and Saudi Arabia has set up a turbulent sectarian state of affairs in the region.
It is not that sectarianism has created the rift between Saudi Arabia's Sunni Islam and Iran's Shiite Islam, but the struggle for power to dictate influence over a large swath of the Middle East has made today's conditions unpredictable and volatile.
Sectarianism has been a part of the Arab and Persian culture since the Seventh century. Conflicts between Sunnis and Shiites have been commonplace since the Second Caliphate. The two sects have lived side by side for centuries, inter-married and co-governed. Therefore, today's growing insecurity as to the spat between Iran and Saudi Arabia, cannot be easily dismissed as a sectarianism divide.
However, the present divide must rests with two nations seeking to dominate a fragile and volatile region at an unpredictable time. Cautiously, unless earnest efforts are made by both nations to address matters relating to safety at Pilgrimages to the establishment of an open and ongoing mode of communication between them, the Middle East will remain tense and violent for a very long time to come. Also, the sectarian card that has been inflamed easily, might not abate as easily as it was stoked. Thus, it becomes more than necessary that both Iran and Saudi Arabia engage each other in immediate dialogue.