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Iranians burn Saudi Embassy after execution of Shia Cleric

Iranians burn Saudi Embassy after execution of Shia Cleric

Can’t they both lose?

This is one of those incidents which both cannot be understood in isolation and has the real possibility of escalating.

Saudi Arabia executed 47 people, including a prominent Shia cleric:

The Middle East braced for sectarian violence Saturday after Saudi Arabia said it had executed 47 prisoners, including a prominent Shiite cleric responsible for anti-government protests.

There were warnings of a backlash against the ruling Al Saud family after Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was named on list of prisoners carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

Al-Nimr was a central figure in protests that erupted in 2011 as part of the Arab Spring, and his execution may spark new unrest among the oil powerhouse’s Shiite minority.

This was not just typical Saudi brutality, it also was a reaction to Iran’s relentless use of local Shia communities throughout the Gulf States and indeed throughout the Middle East to foment trouble for local Sunnis. So the executions don’t stand in isolation.

The Iranian reaction was, typically, to set the mobs loose in Tehran:

Iranian protesters ransacked and set fire to part of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran on Saturday after Saudi Arabia executed an outspoken Shiite cleric who had criticized the kingdom’s treatment of its Shiite minority.

Protesters broke furniture and smashed windows in an annex to the embassy, said a witness who was reached by telephone from Tehran. The protesters also set fire to the room, said the witness, who would provide only his first name, Abolfazl, because he had been involved in the protest.

The police arrived and cleared the embassy grounds of protesters and extinguished the fire, he said.

This video purports to show part of the attack:

The State Department expressed “concern” about the executions and possible escalation:

We have seen the Saudi government’s announcement that it executed 47 people.

We have previously expressed our concerns about the legal process in Saudi Arabia and have frequently raised these concerns at high levels of the Saudi Government. We reaffirm our calls on the Government of Saudi Arabia to respect and protect human rights, and to ensure fair and transparent judicial proceedings in all cases.

The United States also urges the Government of Saudi Arabia to permit peaceful expression of dissent and to work together with all community leaders to defuse tensions in the wake of these executions.‎

We are particularly concerned that the execution of prominent Shia cleric and political activist Nimr al-Nimr risks exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced.

In this context, we reiterate the need for leaders throughout the region to redouble efforts aimed at de-escalating regional tensions.


The Supreme Ayatollah’s Twitter account has been active:

[Featured image via @ianbremmer]


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Is there anyone more stupid on the face of the earth than an Obama administration State Department spokesperson? Other than Obama, of course. He’s the King of Stupid.

Things like this don’t happen in Iran spontaneously. The government organizes them. That means they want a bigger confrontation.

The Saudis can’t afford to let the Iranians become the big power in the gulf, however. They almost certainly feel a need to escalate.

If no one blinks, there will be war. This could get interesting.

    Iranian Shi’ites don’t consider the Saudi Sunnis to be the worthy keepers of the Kaaba in Mecca. Perhaps this is one of many chess moves towards the dream of seizing the Kaaba.

    Barry in reply to irv. | January 2, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    “If no one blinks, there will be war.”

    Not yet. The iranians have been there, done that (iraq). Once the iranians have nuclear weapons then there would be war. The saudi’s will “magically” appear with their own at the same time.

    This is known as Bad luck.

Is anyone in the Department of State looking for a video that may have led to the attack on the Saudi embassy?

Quick! Somebody call Hillary to mediate! She was the bestest Sec. of State EVAH!

Trying not to be a broken record…but wondering by whom and how Israel will be dragged into this. I would guess Iran will foment discord to rally their supporters to amp up total tension in the ME….especially knowing Pres. BHO is in their pocket. With the Prez on Iranian side, tacit links between SA and Israel are likely. We will be on the wrong side of this issue …. should be interesting to see what JFK(erry) says and does to look foolish…again.

There will be firmly written letters. As soon as the President gets back from the golf course.

Henry Hawkins | January 2, 2016 at 7:50 pm

And what did George W. Bush do to prevent this? NOTHING.

    Common Sense in reply to Henry Hawkins. | January 3, 2016 at 10:01 am

    The old, oh so old reliable excuse… George Bush did it!
    Didn’t you get the memo from Obama? Man made global warming caused this!

    alaskabob in reply to Henry Hawkins. | January 3, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Bush is so “yesterday”. Arab Spring, Global Apology Tour, Iran Deal, Quick Retreat from Iraq, putting Israel in its place, all these successes by the President…and he did declare peace in our time. We have turned the page on a new chapter in international affairs in these last 7 years. Bush is so long ago and the “now” so dynamic….many will come to desperately wish for the good “old” days. But soon, we can relived the glory days of Bill and Hill if it becomes Hill and Bill….

So other than a horrible screeching and whining from the far left, would there be any legal difficulties with shooting these people dead once they set foot inside the embassy grounds?

I am not sure, but i believe that the international policy has been that ambassadors and embassies were not to be harmed for several thousand years among governments. the muslims and other despicable swine claimed that they were mobs out of government control. Come to think of it that was Hillary’s story at Benghazi.