Tension has spiked to a new level in the Middle East with the Saudi Arabian execution of 47 alleged terrorists and, in particular, that of the Shia senior cleric Nimr al-Nimr. The previous King, Abdullah, would never have allowed this mass event to happen even if the genuine terrorists had been executed.
This is the second obtrusive sign of madness since the accession of King Salman. Almost as old as Abdullah was when he died, Salman in his 80s seems tk be leaving the main decisions to a cousin, a much younger Salman, only in his 30s. Firstly, leading the OPEC pack into over-producing oil and bringing the price down, in real money terms, that it hasn’t been for 100 years. The reason, it would seem, is either to bankrupt Russia, more feasibly perhaps, the new fracking industry in America.
Secondly, the executions, despite advice from many countries that ti will be provocative. Will there be a war between Iran and Saudi Arabia? Unlikely. America will step in. But if the younger Salman remains in charge, how many more provocations will he create? I’m beginning to think that a war is the only way that the Sunnis and the Shias are ever going to solve their 1400 year-old enmity.