The above principle also applies to the ongoing cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran in the Middle East. A tug of war for hegemony in the region is currently in full swing. Not only has this conflict engulfed the entire Middle East, it has pulled the entire Muslim world into a quandary. Numerous states, including Syria, Iraq and Libya remain trapped in a state of lawlessness and disorder. Other countries like Jordan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain are stable, but remain vulnerable. It is the friction between Saudi Arabia and Iran that is endangering stability in the Muslim world. The conflict has worsened after the ascendency of the young but well-read neophyte Prince Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS) to the big slots of the Saudi royal cabinet. The two countries continue in their efforts to consolidate more power against each other. They remain focused on creating as many new alliances as possible, so they can extend their influence. But they are not the only major players in this game. Some of the world’s biggest powers — including the US — are also involved. These bigger players use the ups and downs of the conflict the push their own interests. They are also not above aggravating tensions when it suits them, and this is the biggest threat to stability in the Middle East. In the greater scheme of things, everything fits into the greater ongoing containment struggle between Russia and the US. Big powers have also capitalised on the Saudi Arabia-Iran cold war by inking numerous arms sale contracts worth billions of dollars. Indeed, without such regional rivalries, the Western world’s military industrial complex would hardly be as lucrative as it is. The Saudi Arabia-Iran cold war has all the ingredients it needs to escalate into a full-scale conflict that could set the entire Muslim world aflame. The regional damage could provide the big powers with the opportunity to intervene, though this would be an intervention to safeguard the interests of those foreign powers. This is why instead of engaging in disastrous bids for dominance and hegemony, the two sides must employ diplomacy The two sides are also struggling to bring each other down economically. They are rampantly pouring wealth in their struggle to gain influence in the world. Both sides have used their economic clout to bring other countries into the fray. Both countries have caused chaos and turmoil. Both have funded religious terrorism. Both have pushed extremist versions of their own version of Islam, a reckless step which will continue to cause chaos and destruction in the Muslim world for generations. Should this conflict ever escalate into a full-scale regional war, the consequences will be dire. Yet, with time hostilities only seem to be increasing, meaning that such a disaster may soon come to pass. The ruling elite of Saudi Arabia and Iran must see sense. There is nothing at the end of this tunnel but chaos, destruction and death. There is no mediator who could defuse the situation either. Someone must step up to the plate before it is too late. The Saudi Arabia-Iran cold war has all the ingredients it needs to escalate into a full-scale conflict that could set the entire Muslim world aflame. The regional damage is what could provide the big powers the opportunity to intervene, though this would be an intervention to safeguard the interests of those foreign powers. This is why instead of engaging in disastrous bids for dominance and hegemony, the two sides must employ diplomacy. The writer can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, August 27th 2018.