Breitbart: “Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday and gave all Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave the kingdom, as escalating tensions over the execution of an outspoken Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia marked a new low in relations between the two Middle Eastern powers.
The surprise move, announced in a televised news conference by Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, followed harsh criticism by Iranian leaders of the Saudi execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and the storming of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran by protesters in response.
The supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned Saturday that Saudi Arabia would face divine vengeance for the execution of Sheikh Nimr.”
Opinion: Nimr al-Nimr was a 57-year-old Shiite cleric from Saudi’s oil-rich Eastern Province. He was a well-known figure at anti-government demonstrations and criticized Saudi rulers in some of his sermons for their treatment of the kingdom’s Shiite minority.
In 2009, he threatened to lead Saudi Arabia’s Shiite Muslims to secession, provoking a government crackdown in the minority’s eastern heartland. In his sermons, al-Nimr was critical of both Sunni and Shiite rulers; he reserved his most vicious attacks for the Saudi and Bahraini royal families.
Al-Nimr was arrested in 2012, a year after the Arab Spring swept the Middle East, and was sentenced to death in 2014.
While Saudi Shiites make up only 10-12% of the 28.8 million Saudi population, they live near the world’s largest oil fields as does the majority Shiite population of Bahrain.
Saudi Arabia is also sending a clear message to the United States that enough is enough with Iranian aggression in the region.
For now. the ball is in the Ayatollah Khamenei’s court binging to mind a famous saying of Iran’s former Sunni mortal enemy: “Control Mid-East oil, control the world” Saddam Hussein.
(See headline “After cutting Iran ties, Saudis don’t care if they anger White House’ @ BPTnews.org)