The execution of Sheikh Baqir Al Nimr which took place on the 2nd of January, 2016 has caused granite tremors to engulf the entire Muslim world. The conflict has pitted Saudi Arabia against Iran in a disturbingly hostile posture. The night following Sheikh Baqir Al Nimr’s execution saw a furious mob storming the Saudi embassy in Tehran while also thrashing and ransacking it partially. Saudis reacted in the sternest manner and immediately resorted to sever all diplomatic ties it held with Iran on official scale. Breakdown of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia exacerbates an already difficult relation.

While most befitting it may be for Saudi Arabia to sever all ties with Iran in wake of rampage on its embassy by an indignant mob in Tehran, it is not the sole reason owing to which such an extreme measure was taken. Saudi move of severing diplomatic relations with Iran, in fact, entails within itself an intractable competition for regional dominance in which Saudis have recently encountered some setbacks . To ward off these setbacks, Saudis have demonstrated that they shall not be diffident in hiking up escalation in their relations with Iran.

One such debacle is the Syrian civil war in which Saudis, as of 2016, have faltered in ousting Bashar al-Assad (staunchly supported by Iran). A more sullen feature was added in 2015 for Saudis, when Washington also reluctantly warmed up to idea of tolerating Bashar al-Assad at helm of affairs in Syria till 2017.

In fact, no one can predict whether Saudi designs of toppling the last chapter of Arab Ba’athist regime in Syria would see the light of the day even post 2017. Hence, all the Saudi endeavors of shoring up opposition to Bashar Al-Assad slated at altering the entire landscape of Middle East still remains in shambles.

Secondly, the pompous Saudi led coalition invasion of Yemen has grown into a protracted ulcer in Saudi propinquity, with no sign of cession in near future. The Saudi-led melee on Yemen has now raged on for over nine months with most intense aerial blitz, claiming lives up to the numerical figure of six thousand. But the belligerence doesn’t seem like providing any relief to the Houthi presence in Sana’a. Even if Saudis somehow miraculously ascend to the position of routing the Houthi’s out, it would still be a pyrrhic victory.

Thirdly,  Saudi economy has entered a phase where it is reeling from a budget deficit of a record-making $98 billion which is in fact an indication of a weakness that is hampering  its war efforts in the protracted Yemen’s civil war. An exchange of views which the defense minister of Saudi Arabia had with the Economist as published  respectively on January 6 also revealed the regime’s resolve of putting ARAMCO, the Principle Saudi Oil company up for grab in the International market. The notion itself speaks volumes about the brunt of war effort in Yemen and domineering strives elsewhere in the region which has begun to take toll on the Saudi economy.  Plus the oil glut created to put both Iran and Russia in a difficult situation, has also not fulfilled the hopes which Saudis pinned to debilitate the clout of its most eager adversary in the region . To quote

Pepe Escobar who commented most lucidly in this context in Sputnik news:

“ Riyadh, which is clueless on how to play geopolitical chess — or backgammon — will keep insisting on the oil war, as it cannot even contemplate a military confrontation with Tehran ”.

These aforementioned factors closely manifest the tailpiece of Riyadh's regional aspirations and the bungled ventures which Saudis embarked upon in these past few years. Despite different pleas from the international community and sane voices from inside the Muslim world, Saudis acted according to their calculations and took the most audacious step of executing Sheikh al-Nimr. Rampage upon the Saudi embassy in Tehran in wake of Sheikh Nimr’s execution provided impetus to Saudis in severing already strained diplomatic ties with Iran owing most to abovementioned factors. With the blatant move of silencing a prominent espouser of human rights for minority denominations in Saudi Arabia, the dynastical regime has indicated most emphatically that it shall show no regard for minimum common standards of rights as long as the regional entanglements in Yemen and Syria do not provide results according to the Saudi’s calculations. Anything short of attainment of positive outcomes in these quests for regional dominance, shall not desist the Saudi regime in toughening up their already stiff relations with the Iranians and their auxiliaries.

Saudis shall even go to the extent of rallying round all Gulf Sheikhdoms in its stead and lure the indifferent countries like Pakistan in its zone of ambit to ward off the affect of demonstrations en masse taking place across the globe over Sheikh Nimr’s execution and abominable state of human rights in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

By cobbling a loose bi-polarity in the Muslim world in wake of severing diplomatic ties with Iran, Saudis have attempted to corner their regional rivals, as any retaliation taken by them would also draw the onus of raising escalations in the region and the Muslim world squarely on them.  It further means that Saudi regime will continue to thwart all attempts of hammering out a congenial concordat with the disgruntled sections of the Arabian Peninsula with an ironclad fist.

Misgivings in different domineering ventures on regional scale may embolden marginalized sections in Saudi Arabia but with the execution of a political critic such as Sheikh Nimr, Saudi regime has emphatically signaled its domineering resolve to the opponents of all sorts at home and abroad that an all inclusive political participation driven order shall continue to be for the dynastical regime,  a sort of bête noire.