Skip to main content

Saudi video shows kingdom's troops as 'liberators' of Tehran

Computer-generated video predicts cakewalk for Saudi army in war with Iran, but social media users mock content and production values
The video depicts Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani being captured by Saudi troops (screengrab)

The Iranian speedboats skim the waves as they zero in on their victim: a defenceless Saudi humanitarian aid ship. Under provocation, a Saudi frigate fires at the attackers.

All-out war quickly ensues in a blitz of missiles and bombs, but it is decidedly one-sided. Saudi technology is irresistible, and its armies are soon seen marching through Tehran as liberators, freeing citizens waving banners of the Saudi king, capturing Iran's hated leaders and ultimately securing peace for Mecca, the holiest site in Islam.

Such is the fantasy presented by a Saudi nationalist group, the "Saudi Deterrent Force", in a computer-generated animation that has caused waves on social media, with pro-Saudi users hailing their fictional victory over an arch foe.

The group recently changed its name from the "Saudi Strike Force".

It is published as the leaderships of both countries vie for supremacy in proxy wars around the Middle East, most notably the catastrophic conflict in Yemen, and amid an ongoing war of words between Tehran and Riyadh that has spilled over into Saudi Arabia and its allies accusing Qatar of supporting its arch foes and imposing an economic blockade.

The six-minute video shows Saudi naval units sinking their inferior Iranian counterparts, Saudi Patriot batteries thwarting Iranian ballistic missiles, the Saudi air force laying waste to Iranian bases, and the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, being taken prisoner by Saudi soldiers after infiltrating his lair.

Translation: The 'Saudi Strike Force' film shows the readiness of the Saudi forces to deter/strike anyone who thinks of attacking our security and sovereignty

The video, presented with English dubbing, was viewed almost 750,000 times within four days of its publication on 14 December.

But others criticised the video as propaganda and Saudi aggression.

Others ridiculed the production values of the segment.

The video also follows in the wake of a segment broadcast by Saudi state TV channel al-Arabiya, which justified the shooting down of a Qatari passenger jet should it break Saudi airspace during the blockade.

Iranian filmmakers have also tried their arm at fantasy war films. 

The Battle of Persian Gulf II, released in Iranian cinemas earlier this year, tells of a fictional war with the US that ends in humiliation for the "Great Satan" and victory for chief hero Soleimani and the Iranian republic.

Production began in 2015, before world leaders struck a deal to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions. 

However, it was released just as US President Donald Trump condemned Iran as a terrorist state and put its leaders "on notice" after Iran's military conducted a number of ballistic missile tests.

The film delighted Iranian cinemagoers, and became a number one hit at the Iranian box office.

Farhad Azima, the director, said in an interview that his film showed what would happen were Trump to order an invasion.

"I hope the film shows Trump how American soldiers will face a humiliating defeat if they attack Iran," Azima said.

"They all sink and the film ends as the American ships have turned into an aquarium for fishes at the bottom of the sea."

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.