Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia

Watch Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia

  • 2018
  • 1 Season

In this PBS documentary mini-series, award-winning journalist Martin Smith delves deep into the centuries-old rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia, two powerful nations vying for dominance in the Middle East. The two-part series provides an in-depth analysis of their complex relationship, examining the historical, ideological, religious, and geopolitical factors that have fueled their bitter rivalry for more than four decades.

The first episode of the series, "Hostile Waters," explores the origins of the conflict, which emerged during the Islamic Revolution when Iran transformed into an Islamic republic, challenging the Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia's supremacy in the region. From the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis to the Iran-Iraq war, the episode meticulously chronicles the events that have shaped the two countries' antagonistic relationship over the years. It also shows how the rivalry has led to a proxy war, where the two nations have supported opposing sides in conflicts throughout the Middle East, including in Syria and Yemen.

In the second episode, "Divide and Conquer," Smith delves even deeper into the rivalry, examining how the two countries see themselves as leaders of the Islamic world, adhering to different ideologies and religious interpretations. The episode reveals that the two countries are also engaged in a struggle for economic dominance, oil reserves, and regional influence. Moreover, it highlights how each country has used its wealth and power to gain allies and undermine the other.

Through interviews with experts, historians, former diplomats, and people living in the region, the documentary offers a well-rounded analysis of the complex dynamics of the rivalry. It reveals how the conflict poses a significant threat to the stability of the Middle East and the wider world, with both countries pursuing nuclear programs and investing heavily in their military capabilities.

One of the most striking aspects of the series is how it offers insight into the ordinary people living in Iran and Saudi Arabia, portraying them as mere pawns in a geopolitical game beyond their control. Viewers will be taken on a journey through the streets of Tehran and Riyadh, where they meet people who discuss how the rivalry has affected their daily lives, both positively and negatively.

Overall, "Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia" is a compelling and informative documentary that sheds light on one of the most contentious rivalries in the world. The series offers a nuanced and insightful analysis of the complex historical, religious, and political factors that have fueled this animosity for decades, highlighting the dangers of the conflict and the urgent need for a resolution. So, it is a must-watch for anyone interested in understanding the current state of affairs in the Middle East.

Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (2 episodes). The series first aired on February 20, 2018.

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Episode 2
2. Episode 2
February 27, 2018
Part two of a special series about how two rivals have plunged the Middle East into sectarian war.
Episode 1
1. Episode 1
February 20, 2018
A dangerous rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia has plunged the Middle East into sectarian war.
Where to Watch Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia
Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia is available for streaming on the PBS Documentaries website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia on demand at Amazon Prime and Amazon.
  • Premiere Date
    February 20, 2018