Rise in Hostilities Brings Saudi Arabia and Iran Closer to Brink

Nimr al-Nimr
The Associated Press
JAFFA, Israel – Saudi Arabia and Iran have been fighting proxy wars in Syria and Yemen for quite some time, but the execution of a Saudi Shi’ite cleric over the weekend threatens to increase tensions even further.

A Jordanian intelligence source estimated that, despite the heightened tensions, “a full-blown confrontation is not imminent.”

“Iran’s military hegemony, especially thanks to its air force, is offset by the prospect of a united Arab coalition coming to Saudi Arabia’s rescue should hostilities begin,” he told Breitbart Jerusalem. “Iran won’t declare a war on Saudi Arabia, which may spiral into a multilateral war with virtually every Gulf country, Pakistan, and probably Egypt as well. Iran will always opt for wars by proxy.”

“However, Iran’s ballistic missile tests, Riyadh’s decision to end the ceasefire in Yemen, and the execution of a Saudi Shi’ite cleric will undoubtedly contribute to the tensions, and an international intervention is required to prevent escalation,” he said.

“In supporting Yemen’s Houthi rebels,” he added, “Iran has shown that its allies are capable of targeting Saudi territory with missiles. Also, Iran may well whip up anti-Saudi sentiments among Shi’ites in the kingdom and in neighboring Bahrain.”

Meanwhile, the Lebanese Arabi 21 news site  reported that a Sunni militia in Iran’s southwestern Ahwaz region – describing itself as part of the Arab Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz – claimed responsibility for attacking a local oil facility. The statement, which includes a video showing the explosion, says the attack was retaliation for “Iran’s aggression against Saudi Arabia following the execution of 47 terrorists, including [the Shi’ite cleric] Nimer al Nimer.”

Adel Sadam, a spokesperson for the Arab Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz, said the “bombing was an act of solidarity with Saudi Arabia and in response to the arson attacks on the embassy in Tehran and the consulate in Mashhad. This facility is located on our territory. It was taken from us by Iran that uses it to finance its campaign to undermine stability in the Arab world.”

Social media has not been indifferent to the winds of war, and supporters of the two sides have been trading blows. Each blames the other for stirring up sectarian conflicts and not respecting minority rights and civil liberties.