The former prime minister of Iraq, Nuri al-Maliki, has said that the execution of the prominent Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia will be the downfall of the Gulf kingdom’s government.
Mr al-Maliki, who was prime minister of Iraq between 2006 and 2014, said in a statement that his countrymen “strongly condemn these detestable sectarian practices and affirm that the crime of executing Sheikh al-Nimr will topple the Saudi regime as the crime of executing the martyr al-Sadr did to Saddam,” referencing the death of another prominent cleric in Iraq in 1980.
Hundreds of armoured vehicles were sent to Qatif in Saudi Arabia to contain protests in response to the execution, while demonstrators in Bahrain have been tear-gassed.
Several protests have taken place in majority Shia Qatif and in Bahrain.
Demonstrators carrying pictures of the Shi’ite cleric were involved in a clash with police in the Bahraini village of Abu-Saiba, where dozens were tear-gassed, according to witnesses.
It is feared that the death of the outspoken cleric will exacerbate tensions in the region, with activists calling for further protests in Bahrain, and several demonstrations breaking out in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.
Armoured vehicles have been seen entering Qatif, with resistance groups in the area calling for people to join the protests against the execution of Sheikh al-Nimr, who had much popular support in the Shia community.
Security forces in other Shia-populated areas are also said to be on high alert, while many police stations and security posts have been closed following al-Nimr’s execution in case of repercussions from Saudi Arabia’s Shia community.
The regime in Saudi Arabia has been strongly criticized by human rights organizations.
Saudi Arabia has been compared to Daesh in long time now, especially for their support of terrorist organizations in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
Hashtags #SueMeSaudi and #SaudiArabiaIsISIS has now many hits every minute, and many want to mark their opposition and to show their distance to the brutal dictator regime in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia practice Wahhabism ideology, a strictly fundamentalist orientation within Sunni Islam, which in practice is the state religion in the country. It is also ideology direction that has inspired al-Qaida and Daesh.