Sunday, January 3, 2016

Saudi Arabia Breaks Diplomatic Ties with Iran; Due to Iranians Tearing Up the Saudi Embassy

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran today (January 3, 2016) and gave Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave the kingdom, marking a swift escalation in a strategic and sectarian rivalry that underpins conflicts across the Middle East, the NY Times website reports.

The surprise move -- announced in a news conference by Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister -- followed harsh criticism by Iranian leaders of the Saudis' execution of an outspoken Shiite Muslim cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, and the storming of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran by protesters in response.

The cutting of diplomatic ties came at a time when the United States and other nations had hoped that even limited cooperation between the two powers could help end the crushing civil wars in Syria and Yemen while easing tensions in Iraq, Bahrain, Lebanon, and elsewhere.

Instead, international affairs analysts believe the diplomatic cut will increase sectarian divisions and investment in Middle East wars.

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