Most of us including very well read coworkers assumed that the original violence in 1979 was an Iranian plot. This is entirely false, but given the chaos of the time remember that the first reports of major events are often not accurate. Holocaust deniers and 9-11 conspiracy cranks often take these first reports and build conspiracies based largely upon their bigotries.
Most of us are familiar with the theme of the hidden Imam and asume it is a Shiite theme. However, this utopian theme was behind the plot to take over Mecca by a band of disgruntled young adults who were under employed.
There are some examples of messianism that most typically is accompanied by some sort of extreeme persecution. Examples of this are Shabetai Zevi and the Ghost Dance were false Utopian expressions of highly persecuted people.
The key actors in Saudi Arabia in the plot to take over Mecca have more in common with Communists than the above examples. They were certainly not persecuted for their religious beliefs. They were self righteous intollerant know it all twenty somethings who felt with some justification that their leadership was corrupt. Their revolution was because they felt that their leadership was not Islamic enough. Amazingly these youthful firebrands felt Saudi Society was too permissive and that Shia were apostate.
They were convinced that one of their group was the hidden Mahdi based upon a physical resemblence between on of the members of the group and Mohammed. As they were convinced God would deliver them they fought against overwhelming odds and are forgotten in time.
Normal religious faith is a wonderful thing. We are very familiar with the wonderful work of Christians like Junglemom, TMW and other. Yet we should note they are commanded by Christ to serve the poor and the needy. Utopia for them, as well as the sane, is a concept for the next world.
All people who seek Utopia in this world are fools and many are dangerous.
Beamish in 08