The rise of a new caliph, if it gains any amount of acceptance from Muslim countries, makes the Saudi monarchy redundant. Rather than groups like Islamic State (IS, formerly know as ISIS and ISIL) posing a threat to the western world like Al Qaeda, IS is first and foremost a threat to the hierarchy of power in the Muslim World. Saudi Arabia being top in this food chain is fuming over the brash arrogance of IS, which, it is speculated, is covertly funded by Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia shares an 814 km border with Iraq. IS already wants to break borders through the Levant; what’s to stop them from wanting to create a transnational leviathan of a caliphate in the region? Recent anti-IS statements by the Saudi King Abdullah hint of this fear. The kingdom has never really condemned killings by jihadists in Pakistan. Has the question never been asked, that as Muslim countries writhe in turmoil with radical militant Islam, why is no militant commander knocking on the Kingdom’s door? Is Saudi Arabia the perfect ideological Islamic state, and chastely untouchable? Or has the alleged funding to militants finally backfired?

Saudi leadership is panicking and shuffling. Just two days ago, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the kingdom’s pointman on the Syrian conflict and head of the intelligence service for two years was removed. Prince Bandar has been said to have not preserved Saudi efforts to support Syrian rebels and opened the Kingdom to US criticism. Ever since the overthrow of Saddam’s regime in 2003, the Saudis have been hostile towards Iraq. Any success of democracy in Iraq would create momentum for democracy in Saudi Arabia. However, when Iraq became a failed mission on the part of the US, the Arab Spring came around to create the same fears. Stable democratic governments are no good to the Kingdom. This is not just about control but also about ideology. The Saudi’s Wahhabi Salafi religious establishment hates the Shias. An unstable Syria, meant no allies for Iran, a traditional enemy. Most of the weapons shipped by Saudi Arabia and Qatar were going to hard-line jihadists in Syria.

Saudi Arabia, the US and even Pakistan should have learnt their lesson: that funding and aiding loose cohorts of “freedom fighters” to gain leverage in conflicts may work in the short run, but ultimately creates new enemies. The war eventually comes home.