Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's meeting with President Trump this week comes at a critical moment for U.S.-Saudi relations: The Saudi heir will look to solidify American support amid an ongoing effort to consolidate power at home.
Iran has spent decades exploiting sectarianism in the Middle East to put pressure on Sunni governments across the region, says Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir in an interview for the FRONTLINE documentary "Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia."
"Despite the fact that the United States and almost every other powerful nation supports Saudi Arabia actively and tries to undermine us actively, we are still the most influential power in the Middle East," says Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in an interview for the FRONTLINE documentary "Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia."
Whether it's Yemen, Iraq or Syria, today's conflicts in the Middle East can't be explained by sectarianism alone, says longtime U.S. diplomat Ryan Crocker in this interview for the FRONTLINE documentary "Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia." Says Crocker, "There are deeper issues in play. It's power. It's who was going to have influence where?"
The rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia "is primarily a competition about the direction of politics in the Mideast, and Iran wants to have a say in it," says Randa Slim of the Middle East Institute in Washington.