Saudi execution of Shia cleric sparks outrage in Middle East


The Iranian government and religious leaders across the Middle East have condemned Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shia cleric and warned of repercussions that could bring down the country’s royal family.

In a serious escalation of religious and diplomatic tensions in the region, councils and clerics in Iran, Yemen and Lebanon said the killing of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr would prompt widespread anger.
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Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Hossein Jaber Ansari, accused Riyadh of hypocrisy. “The Saudi government supports terrorists and takfiri [radical Sunni] extremists, while executing and suppressing critics inside the country,” he told the Iranian state news agency.

In Bahrain, police fired teargas at several dozen people protesting against the cleric’s execution, a witness said. Demonstrators carrying pictures of Nimr faced security forces in a standoff in Abu-Saiba, a Shia village west of the capital, Manama.


Ali Al Nimr, the nephew of the cleric was spared execution; so at least that’s good news. Ali Al Nimr is only 21 and mainly was a protester.


Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says the execution of prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr “will topple the Saudi regime”


Time for that Shia insurgency in Eastern Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.


I’m unsure about executing this cleric and I’m not for capital punishment; another one of those executed was convicted of killing a BBC cameramen, others of joining Al Qaeda.

The BBC understands that among those executed was a man convicted of shooting dead a freelance cameraman on an assignment for the BBC, Simon Cumbers, in 2004.

Adel al-Dubayti was sentenced in November 2014 for his role in multiple al-Qaeda attacks including the one in the capital Riyadh in which Cumbers was killed and which also left reporter Frank Gardner critically injured.

Have we in turn, heard about this?

Iran: Four Sunni prisoners die due to torture and lack of medical treatment

Iran set to execute 27 Sunni clerics on death row: Rights organisation - See more at:

Unfortunately, it looks like these souls are caught in a game of politics.


That did not prevent the interior ministry from accusing him of being behind attacks on police, alongside a group of other suspects it said were working on behalf of Iran, the kingdom’s main regional rival.

The article voices no opinion on whether or not the main charge against him is true.


A few years ago, I watched a soccer game of Saudi Arabia playing in Iran, these days, I hardly could see that happening but maybe sports is above that, I don’t know. There are some other rivalries like that.

Iran is heavily secured but they need to be like that apparently, many nations in the world need such.


Soccer does seem to be above that, for all non-USA nations, in any case.

Teams have met in the World Cup even while their nations were at war, IMS.



Actually these barbaric actions are hardly surprising for the spiritual fathers of ISIS and Al-Qaeda.


But the World Cup is on neutral ground more or less, USA vs. Iran in 1998 and so on.

Israel plays in the European federation, UEFA, not in the African or Asian ones. Israel has been able to play the Bosnians with no problem, I don’t know if they have been pitted against Turkey ever. Probably.

I get Iran/Saudi Arabia head 2 head games from the same site, they haven’t played since 2012; they have not played often.]=1178&team_ids]=1897

North and South Korea have played but the game I remember was played in China, so semi-neutral turf.


Sharia law does not preclude capital punishment and torture. Stoning of adulteresses (aka rape victims) and hangings of homosexuals and amputation of limbs and beheading and any variety of tortuous and oppressive punishment are mainstays of sharia law in both the Shia and the Sunni forms of Islam.

The more interesting question I think is to determine whether this man was indeed guilty of the crimes he was accused of, or whether he was executed because of his politics and/or his religion.


I noticed one of the articles say some executions were by firing squad and not beheadings, just a detail.


Possibly because beheading is considered more shameful, as in the Atlantic nations?

Or maybe because skilled headsmen are now in shortage over there?



Beheading may be more gory and horrific, but the guillotine was introduced as a more humane way of capital punishment.
For sure though there is something absolutely macabre about heads rolling away from the rest of the body like a bowling ball.


Since the head is considered to be where personhood i.e., the mind, resides, no doubt there is a particular shame attached to having it taken from oneself.

Really, there is no comforting way for the human body to die.

I had heard however, that the kingdom was in fact running out of headsmen.



It was introduced as a more efficient method of capital punishment, it wasn’t to do with being a more humane type of execution.


As this is a dispute between Saudi Arabia and Iran (ie, the theocratic heart of Sunni Islam v. the theocratic heart of Shia Islam), I’m not surprised. One of the most underreported stories of the Middle East is how the Saudis and the Iranians have been fighting proxy wars against each other for years - primarily over which of the two will have more influence in the region. Both are state sponsors of terrorism (though the house of Saud generally gets their wealthy businessmen to do their dirty work so that they can claim to be shocked and appalled when Sunni terrorism occurs, while Iran funds Shia terrorist groups directly).



Fair enough, I stand corrected.


Thanks. It was something that I read years ago. but never looked further into.

The article gives plenty of reasons why someone might not have thought to associate the guillotine with humanitarianism.

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