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WSJ: The New Cold War

Authors: Bill Spindle, and Margaret Coker
April 16, 2011

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Bill Spindle and Margaret Coker explore the historical divides between Iraq and Saudi Arabia and demonstrate how recent uprisings in the region have heightened tensions between the two countries.

For three months, the Arab world has been awash in protests and demonstrations. It's being called an Arab Spring, harking back to the Prague Spring of 1968.

But comparison to the short-lived flowering of protests 40 years ago in Czechoslovakia is turning out to be apt in another way. For all the attention the Mideast protests have received, their most notable impact on the region thus far hasn't been an upswell of democracy. It has been a dramatic spike in tensions between two geopolitical titans, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

This new Middle East cold war comes complete with its own spy-versus-spy intrigues, disinformation campaigns, shadowy proxy forces, supercharged state rhetoric—and very high stakes.

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