The Saudi-Iran showdown


THE escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran over the kingdom’s execution of a prominent Shia cleric has intensified sectarian polarisation in the Middle East. This has far-reaching implications for the region and beyond. It is yet another provocative action by the new Saudi rulers which has further inflamed the strategic rivalry between the two countries that underpins the current turmoil in the region.

It is surely not just about silencing an outspoken critic of the regime; the execution of Sheikh Nimr illustrates the kingdom’s new aggressiveness under King Salman and his son, the deputy crown prince who is also responsible for the disastrous military intervention in Yemen.