The New York Times -- still outclassing its Americans rivals in Middle East coverage -- has served up a valuable historical overview of the Saudi-Iranian proxy war conflict. It's not only worth reading, it's worth saving for those deadline moments when a quick history check is in order.
Why so much attention to this topic? And how might President-elect Donald Trump handle the situation?
First question first.
Why, because the conflict, at its root a continuation of Islam's historic, internal holy war between the religion's majority Sunnis (read, Saudi Arabia) and minority Shiites (read, Iran) is at the core of today's seemingly endless Middle East bloodshed.
(Yes, it's the Sunni-Shiite contest, inflamed by political maneuvering by a coven of authoritarian dictatorial governments, and Russia, that's at the root of the chaos. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as central as it may be to these two actors, long ago took a backseat to the Islamic sectarian war.)
Here's how the Times historical overview explains it, starting with the lede:
Behind much of the Middle East’s chaos -- the wars in Syria and Yemen, the political upheaval in Iraq and Lebanon and Bahrain -- there is another conflict.