Escalating tensions between Iran and the Sunni Arab gulf states will further polarize the Middle East along sectarian lines, stoke the proxy wars waged by Tehran and Riyadh, and reduce the already low chances of forging diplomatic agreements to defuse civil wars in Syria and Yemen.…
Iran and Saudi Arabia have been bitter rivals competing for regional dominance since the 1979 Iranian revolution injected an ideological hostility into a relationship already strained by competing nationalisms (Arab vs. Persian) and sectarian differences (Sunni Saudi Arabia vs. Shiite Iran).
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, furiously threatened Saudi Arabia with divine retribution: “The blood of this oppressed martyr, which was spilled unjustly, will have a rapid impact, and the hand of divine retribution will seize the Saudi politicians by the throat.”
Iran clearly continues to act as a revolutionary state that claims the right to interfere in the internal affairs of other states to “protect” its Shiite co-religionists.
Moreover, Iran’s radical regime once again has violated its legal obligation to respect and protect foreign diplomats and embassies, as it did when it launched politically motivated attacks on the U.S. Embassy in 1979 and the British Embassy in 2011.
The Saudis, long frustrated by what they see as the Obama administration’s bungling in the Middle East, now are concerned about the lack of timely and effective American responses to Iranian provocations. The decision to execute al-Nimr and 46 other Saudis is another expression of Saudi Arabia’s increasingly hardline policies against Iran and its allies in Syria and Yemen under Saudi King Salman, who ascended to the throne less than a year ago.
One Saudi insider told Reuters, “Every time the Iranians do something, the U.S. backs off. In the meantime, Saudi (Arabia) is actually doing something about it in Syria, in Iran and in Yemen,” the source added. “The Saudis really don’t care if they anger the White House.”
Full article: Obama’s Passive Acceptance of Iranian Provocations Helps Fuel Rising Iranian-Saudi Tensions (The Daily Signal)