The video depicts Qods force leader Qassim 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 irresistable, 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 Qods force, Qassem Soleimani, being taken prisoner by Saudi soldiers after infiltrating his lair.
فيلم قوة الردع السعودي يوضح جاهزية القوات السعودية لردع كل من يفكر أن يعتدي على امننا ومقدساتنا:https://t.co/DXNlaEwUeJ
— عبدالمجيد السعيد (@mjeed_alsaeed) December 16, 2017
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.
Unbelievable! Saudi propaganda video (inadvertently) depicts Saudis as aggressors invading Iran, and then greeted by Iranians as liberators!!
Delusion does not even begin to describe Saudi thinking.
But of course, Saudi wants the US to fight Iran for ithttps://t.co/74HRHQKMZk
— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) December 16, 2017
Others ridiculed the production values of the segment.
Oh my god, look at this ridiculous Saudi fanfic where their useless fake military completely destroys Iran, all presented in N64 graphics.https://t.co/NSNkOo7Dgn
— Todd Hitler (@dongoehubaire) December 18, 2017
CGI rendering of Saudi defense, then invasion, of Iran (with capture of Gen. Soleimani thrown in for good measure) looks like someone was playing too much Command and Conquer Generals https://t.co/Lkeu9KlfYz
— Nick Chan (@nickdotchan) December 17, 2017
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.