Saudi Arabia’s execution last week of a prominent Saudi Shiite cleric, Nimr al-Nimr, for peacefully protesting the kingdom’s discriminatory anti-Shiite policies has escalated sectarian tensions in the Middle East and plunged Saudi-Iranian relations to a new low. The rupture in diplomatic ties between the two countries could worsen the conflicts in Syria and Yemen and complicate efforts to end them; it could also undercut the U.S.-led campaign against the self-proclaimed Islamic State (also known as ISIS) in Syria and Iraq...

This article was originally published by Foreign Affairs.

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