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US Struggles to Explain Alliance with Saudis [David E. Sanger / NYT]

January 5, 2016

NYT article on the tensions precipitated by Saudi Arabia’s provocative execution of a prominent Shiite Cleric, who himself provocatively spoke out against the monarchy, and allegedly urged rebellion.

In the day since the execution was reported, the SA embassy in Iran was torched, Iran’s grand regular Ayatollah publicly condemned and pretty much cursed the Saudi Kingom in about the worst possible way that you would expect from him, and SA and some of its gulf allies broke off diplomatic relations with Iran.

Iraq, geographically straddling the two rival nations, and split more evenly between Sunni and Shia, is again caught in the crosshairs. (not to mention Syria).

So with that, here is our most prominent paper’s take on the situation.


Incidentally, according to Wikipedia, Iran actually executed the most people, per capita, of all countries (other than tiny ones), with ~3.7 executions per million people in 2014, vs SA’s ~2.9 per million. North Korea takes the bronze with ~2.0 per million. [source: Wikipedia]. Alas, the tally does not include informal programs like targetted killings, precision bombing, collective punishment type bombing, assasinations, terrorism, and sundry war-mongering.

My take-away is that current US policy is to stand back and watch the fireworks.


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