Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are at a high after the former executed 47 prisoners, including a prominent Shiite cleric. Saudi Arabia announced the executions, which included al Qaeda militants and at least four Shiite dissidents. The executions led to protests in Iran, where several protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran and set fires.
The cleric executed was Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who spoke frequently in opposition to the Saudi Arabian government, calling for greater rights for the Shiite people of the predominantly Sunni nation. He was convicted for his part in organizing rallies that turned violent, though he claimed he never advocated violence against the Saudi government or the Al Saud ruling family.
Tensions between the two nations have been escalating for years, with civil wars in Syria and Yemen drawing the two nations into supporting opposing sides. Saudi Arabia was also a major critic of President Barack Obama's Iran Deal, before suddenly declaring they were fine with Obama's reassurances. It would not make the country happy if Iran were to get access to nuclear weapons, however, because they could very likely be target number two (the first being Israel).
The significance of the 47 executions today, however, is the focus it brings to one of the biggest problems we now see in the Obama Era of America - there is no leadership in the world, and this is especially true in the Middle East, where things are rapidly declining. The region's descent into chaos is due in part to a culture of violent that has been seen since the Middle Ages, and also in part to the destabilization of the region when the U.S. pulled virtually all support from there.
The current administration has so carelessly let the Middle East go that it is worse off than it was when Obama declared the Iraq War a success. How did the U.S. State Department respond to the executions in Saudi Arabia? They asked for the Saudis to be more mindful of human rights, despite the various warnings (or threats?) from Iran that violence will erupt in Saudi Arabia because of what happened. Already, we see protests at the Saudi embassy in Tehran, but the eastern part of Saudi Arabia has a large concentration of the Shiite minority, and nearby Bahrain is majority Shiite. Tensions are expected to rise even more in those areas, as well as others.
The administration is so ready to make Iran happy that it is willfully ignoring anything and everything the openly terror-sponsoring nation does, but will condemn its neighbors (including our allies) if they do anything to agitate them. We worked to get Saudi Arabia on board to take on the Islamic State, but here we are siding with ISIS supporters and Saudi rivals in Iran.
The region is on a crash course for total anarchy, and it is the fault of this one administration.