Source: iJET International


Reports emerged June 7 that a Saudi court sentenced four people to death for spying for Iran. The four individuals are Saudi citizens who stand accused of having traveled to Iran to receive training at the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps military establishments (IRGC) with the intent of launching attacks against Saudi security forces and political figures. The four individuals apparently formed a cell upon their return from Iran and were making plans to engage in sabotage within Saudi Arabia.

Analysis: It is difficult to determine whether the members of the disrupted cell were spying for Iran. Iran and Saudi Arabia are engaged in proxy wars throughout the Middle East, particularly in Yemen. Iran is actively supporting the Al-Houthi rebel group, which is in control of Sana'a and fighting against the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Saudi Arabia regularly accuses Iran of attempting to establish a hegemonic status in the Middle East, where Tehran will continue to influence Arab capitals and build militant groups like the Hizballah of Lebanon. The two countries also support, fund, and train dissident groups within one another's countries to engage in sabotage activities. While Tehran is supporting certain Shi'a groups within Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, Riyadh is supporting anti-government groups, such as the Mojahedin-e-Khalq, to target Iranian security forces and foment unrest in Iran.