Sunday, September 18, 2016
Saudi Arabia And Iran Are Waging War On Twitter
Jennifer Williams, VOX: Saudi Arabia and Iran are fighting a proxy war — on Twitter
Saudi Arabia and Iran are waging a proxy war for dominance of the Middle East and the broader Muslim world that is playing out on battlefields from Yemen to Syria.
This past week, though, the hottest front in the Saudi-Iran cold war wasn’t in some war-torn country in the Middle East. It was on Twitter and in the pages of one of the world’s leading newspapers.
Over the past several days, the two countries have engaged in an escalating series of tit-for-tat attacks in the press and on social media, accusing each other of being terrorists, murderers, purveyors of sectarian hatred, and not real Muslims.
On Tuesday, the New York Times published a scathing op-ed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in which Tehran’s top diplomat argues that “the key driver of violence” in the Middle East has been Wahhabism, the “extremist ideology promoted by Saudi Arabia.” Zarif writes, “[T]he worst bloodshed in the region is caused by Wahhabists fighting fellow Arabs and murdering fellow Sunnis.”
In response, the Twitter account of the Saudi Embassy in the US put out a series of tweets with infographics (and one six-second Vine video) documenting the various sins of the Iranian regime over the years:
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WNU Editor: Both sides are using social media not to influence the other side .... but to reinforce their positions with their followers and with their allies. Is it working? Considering the response that it has generated (on both sides), I would have to say yes.