On the 2nd of January, just a day after entering 2016, the world was informed by the Saudi Interior ministry that Sheikh Baqir al-Nimr, the dissident Shia cleric from the Al-Awamiyah Eastern province had been beheaded along with 46 other convicted prisoners. Sheikh’s execution immediately drew an outpour of heavily worded response from Iran and its Shia auxiliaries around the world.

Spokesperson of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Hossein Jaber Ansari was quoted as  saying  “The Saudi government supports terrorist movements and extremists but confronts domestic critics with oppression and execution. Saudi government will pay a heavy price for these policies.”  Likewise Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenai, was also heard saying on January 3, “This blood will create troubles for them.”

However, the Saudi official response was dismissive of this entire censure being exacted towards them and sought to portray the entire matter as an “internal affair”. They deemed the remarks made by the Iranian officials as a flagrant invasion of their sovereignty.

In wake of this baffling execution, it would’ve been most appropriate for the Saudi government to make a referral to its supposed unfettered manipulation over internal sovereignty. However, the kind and the depth of sovereignty that Saudi Arabia is asking the external world to recognize does not pertain to what has happened in Sheikh al-Nimr’s case.

In the contemporary world, there are certain stipulations and conditions imposed on the sovereignty of a nation-state. These stipulations are in fact incurred to curb a regime’s attempt to assume a demeanor of a Hobbesian state in which a ruler, monarch or a regime has unfettered sway over the life and property of its subjects.

These stipulations are invoked for two reasons; one is the existence of an international capital driven economy in which every nation-state currently operates. Contours of economy in the present context are international in nature and economic interests which the enterprising individuals and corporations seek to pursue are not confined to the territories of their respective states, but are sought and competed for upon a global scale. So, for a stable and thriving capital driven economy, it is necessary that there must be some stipulations upon the sovereignty of every nation-state conducive to the smooth operation of capital driven global economy.

Secondly the stipulation which concerns us in the existing issue of Sheikh Baqir al-Nimr, is the heterogeneous feature of the contemporary nation-states. No state in the existing political order entails within its populace a hard and fast homogeneity, which could prevent such a Utopian state from drawing ire from the outside world. Saudi Arabia itself is no exception to this heterogeneity.

Shias in the Eastern Qatif region of Saudi Arabia represent that plurality and as long as Saudi regime fails to commix them in a political order, which offers them the opportunity to live and thrive, estrangement is bound to ensue. This disenchantment, in turn, is bound to push them to look towards a source of political emulation, which may be available at home or abroad.

Iranian regime does share the denomination of Saudi Shias and also emulates an Islamic uprising; hence, it is bound to connect with them. The Saudi Shias are most susceptible to seek refuge in their standard of political uprising against the oppression of dynastic regime at home.

There is a plethora of reports which already have surfaced in the global media circles noting as to how Shias are discriminated against in workforce, education and freedom to practice religion in Saudi Arabia. The kind of repressive treatment meted out by the Saudi regime is bound to alienate them and the global nature of political notions and ideas - which are trans-national - are bound to conscript Shias of Saudi Arabia within their ranks. The use of force in this regard shall only further alienate them.

In face of exacting such discriminating and segregating policies , Saudi monarchical regime is also bound to invite international ire and involvement. Its attempt to ward it off only by citing its sway of unfettered internal and external sovereignty to deem any affair occurring within its territory as purely an “internal matter” shall not stop Iran, its Shia auxiliaries and other organizations from raising hue and cry over Saudi acts like beheading a notable Shia scholar and cleric.

In fact the Saudi regime itself does not have the privilege to lecture others on desisting from meddling into internal affairs of other countries and states. President of Syrian Arab Republic Bashar al-Assad himself has been chastising the entire Syrian insurrection as a sponsored movement of Gulf countries and lambasts it as an intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign Arab republic.

Last month the Saudi regime hosted an array of Syrian opposition groups battling the Syrian government. Was that not meddling into the internal affairs of a sovereign country? It was. But this is bound to happen as long as the state is reeling from the disaffection and does not conclude an all inclusive political order with certain groups, ethnicities and denominations living on the periphery. 

The Saudi regime must also learn and hammer out such a political system, where it converges its peripheral groups in an all inclusive political order. Anything short of that will definitely pave the way for marginalized sections to look towards external patrons for their relief and Saudi regime’s attempt to cite its attempt of asphyxiating any marginalized group opposed to its rule as an “internal affair” shall be devoid of substance.