Execution of Shi’ite cleric worsens Middle East crisis; Saudi embassy in Iran attacked

Posted by News Express | 3 January 2016 | 3,396 times

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Saudi Arabia’s execution of a leading cleric from the Shi’ite Muslim minority drew protests from around the world and threatened to further intensify a wave of sectarian conflict in the Middle East. Iranian protesters hurled petrol bombs and stormed the kingdom’s embassy in Tehran, before being cleared out by police, ISNA news agency reported. Prominent Iraqi figures called for closure of a Saudi embassy, which just reopened in Baghdad this week. Nimr al-Nimr, known to his supporters as a peaceful dissident who advocated greater rights for the kingdom’s Shi’ite minority, was executed Saturday along with 47 others for allegedly inciting violence against the police. The incident has inflamed tensions between the two countries and put a hard stop to recent rapprochement.

The fact that both Saudi Arabia and Iran face a powerful threat to their interests from the jihadist group ISIS appeared, at the end of 2014, to be promoting a tentative reconciliation between the countries. But since then, the political and economic tensions have been piling up and many believe Nimr’s execution could benefit ISIS by exacerbating sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shi’ites. Many in Iran already accuse Saudi Arabia of fomenting takfirism, a radical Sunni ideology espoused by groups such as ISIS that regards Shi’ism and other Islamic sects as heretical. (Yahoo News)

•Photo shows a protester holding a poster of executed Shi’ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr . . . yesterday in Iran.

Source: News Express

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