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    Why Saudi-Iranian Row Becoming 'Costly Game' for Riyadh

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    Qatar has recalled its ambassador to Tehran, becoming the latest contributor to the worsening Saudi-Iranian rift. On Tuesday Kuwait carried out the same move, while Bahrain and Sudan cut diplomatic ties with Tehran earlier on Monday, following Saudi Arabia’s lead.

    The moves followed an attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran which came as response to the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. He was among 47 people beheaded or shot by firing squad across Saudi Arabia on Saturday in the biggest single-day execution since 1980.

    Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned the move saying that vengeance would surely befall Saudi Arabia. The execution in Saudi Arabia has provoked a deep outrage not only in Iran as Shiite Muslims protests unfolded across the whole Gulf region.

    Dr. Stig Hansen, associate professor at the University of Life Sciences in Oslo, joined Radio Sputnik to discuss this standoff in more detail.

    “The two countries are not as experienced in dealing with each other and there is a lot of pride here as Saudi Arabia has received several blows in the past so there are issues there that are hard to fix. Foreign powers are trying to calm the situation down.”

    Hansen went on to say that Saudi Arabia has increasing internal troubles. The country has been playing a regional game but as oil prices are going down the country is becoming internally unstable and it is making playing regional games more costly now.

    “For Saudi Arabia it’s a costly game as their income is going down.”

    Talking about Washington’s role in this incident, the analyst said that he feels Washington tried to prevent this from happening but the West has been generally very lenient towards Saudi Arabia.

    “Saudi Arabia has gotten away with a lot of things that other countries can’t get away with. They have high execution rate, they use torture as punishment, they suppress their Shiite population and all of that has not been commented upon. There is a moment when these human rights violations get highlighted in Europe,” Hansen said.

    According to the analyst the country can become even more unstable than it already appears to be.

    “Foreign policy in Saudi Arabia is decided by very little number of people of its society. It is run by the Royal family that makes all the decisions. What is so fascinating is that just a few people run the foreign policy of such a big and important country,” the analyst concluded.

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    Tags:
    diplomatic ties, Shiites, oil price, Nimr al-Nimr, Iran, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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