Monday, January 04, 2016

KSA takes it to 11

Saudi anti-Iranian/shia paranoia wins again.

To review: KSA executes a cleric because ostensibly because he criticized a member of the royal family but really because he seemed to develop some political following and he happened to be a member of the Saudi Shia' minority. This upsets people in Iran, from top to bottom, leaders condemn the execution, and people protest the various Saudi embassies and consulates in Iran. The consular facilities are breached in at least two locations, although the Iranian police respond and arrest the people who entered the facility.

The Saudi's decision to completely sever diplomatic ties over this seems like a complete overreaction. Actually, they have been overreacting right from the start: there was no need to execute Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr (the Shiite cleric). That makes no sense at all unless you have an utter contempt for the concept of free speech and are inclined to go to the maximum punishment for any offense committed by a Shia. (Remember that the next time that Saudi Arabia is called a "moderate Arab regime")

The current Saudi leadership is obsessed with Shia' and sees nefarious Iranian hands behind anything that any Shia' anywhere ever does. With three other countries siding with the KSA in this spat, it just goes to show how influential the Saudi view has become. It also highlights the tough road that Iran has in its efforts to normalize relations with the rest of the world. Its problems are not only with the West.