Saddam Hussein in the 1990s and currently Bashar al-Assad -- the heads of the Baath party in Iraq and Syria -- both played the religious card. However, Baathist doctrine in Iraq and Syria is basically irreligious. The Saudis are using religion as their excuse now, labeling the recent mass executions as preserving their religion when they are actually a message to frighten their citizens into submission.
The current fight will play out not in Saudi Arabia or Iran, but in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. Diplomatic breakthrough to these conflicts depends on the willingness of Saudi Arabia and Iran to pressure their proxies to make peace. The current enmity will make that nearly impossible for the foreseeable future.
SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates -- The Saudi curriculum is laced with references faulting any minority that doesn't follow Wahhabi teachings, referring to them as "deviants" and "polytheists." And Iran's continuous support for its sectarian proxies has widened the Shia-Sunni divide and prompted Saudi Arabia to launch its current war against the Houthis. While both sides fuel the flames, ISIS is thriving in the fire.