Saudi Arabia’s announcement Saturday that it executed 47 prisoners, including an influential Shiite cleric, caused protests in Shiite neighborhoods around the world, from Saudi Arabia itself to Bahrain to Kashmir. Shiite leaders in countries including Iran, Lebanon and Iraq issued fierce warnings that the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who supported regional anti-government protests and was arrested in 2012, would herald the downfall of the Saudi regime. European officials criticized the mass executions and warned that Nimr’s death risking inflaming sectarian tensions in the region. Despite the worldwide outrage, Saudi Arabia is unlikely to face rebuke from the world’s top human rights body. Saudi Arabia wields significant influence in the United Nations Human Rights Council, where it enjoys the support of world powers including the U.S. and U.K.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.