Saudi Arabia’s Shiites Caught in the Crossfire Between Riyadh and Tehran

Saudi Shiites pray, Qatif, Saudi Arabia, March 26, 2008 (AP photo/STR).
Saudi Shiites pray, Qatif, Saudi Arabia, March 26, 2008 (AP photo/STR).

On Jan. 1, 2016, Saudi Arabia executed Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shiite cleric, stoking outrage in the region and beyond. His death, and the backlash that followed, highlighted long-simmering tensions both within Saudi Arabia and between Riyadh and Tehran. News of al-Nimr’s death triggered virulent protests in Iran, with demonstrators setting ablaze the Saudi Embassy in Tehran; Saudi Arabia subsequently severed diplomatic relations with Iran. The response illustrated how Saudi Arabia’s troubled relationship with its Shiite minority could rapidly inflame intercommunal and international relations in the Persian Gulf. Historically, Saudi Arabia’s Shiite communities were concentrated in what is today the […]

Keep reading for free right now!

Enter your email to get instant access to the rest of this article, get five free articles every 30 days, and to receive our free email newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having your own personal researcher and analyst for news and events around the globe. Become a member now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of 15,000+ articles
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday
  • Daily links to must-read news, analysis, and opinion from top sources around the globe, curated by our keen-eyed team of editors
  • Weekly in-depth reports, including features on important countries and issues.
  • Your choice of weekly region-specific newsletters, delivered to your inbox.
  • Smartphone- and tablet-friendly website.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you — right now for just $1 for the first 30 days.

More World Politics Review