Why ISIS is a threat to Saudi Arabia: Wahhabism’s deferred promise

Uprootedpalestinians's Blog

A file picture taken on March 15, 2008 shows Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel Aziz al-Sheikh listening to a speech of Saudi King in the Saudi Capital Riyadh. (Photo: AFP-Hassan Ammar)
Published Friday, August 22, 2014
For an accurate assessment of the danger represented by the project of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an overall reading of the Saudi political mindset is necessary. The Wahhabi Saudi state was established in the mid-18th century out of an alliance between Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdel Wahhab and Prince Mohammed bin Saud in 1744. This alliance founded a religious state based on a power-sharing arrangement between the cleric and the prince that was supposed to monopolize Sunni political representation and prevent the emergence of any other competing entity within the general Islamic public sphere.

There were efforts – sometimes individual and sometimes collective – to re- “Wahhabize” the…

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