Saudi government officials announced a cutting of diplomatic ties with Iran this week, and a growing list of supporting countries have since followed suit. But between the armed militiamen taking over a federal building in Oregon, and a fresh propoganda video released by Daesh (ISIS), the brewing battle between the two Middle East staple states might have passed you by. However, it’s development could see a huge shift in regional relations.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. At the heart of this degradation is Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr. The religious preacher was one of 47 people executed in by the Saudi state Saturday. In Shia-led Iran, this prompted huge backlash—protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and set it ablaze, while the Iranian state condemned the move.
2. The burning of the embassy led to fresh rage from Riyadh. As has been widely discussed, this is not the first time an embassy in Tehran has been the scene of violent protest. The Iranian government said it tried to prevent protesters from attacking, but critics (particularly Saudis) have cast doubt on that claim. In the wake of the attack, RIyadh annouced a cutting of diplomatic and touristic toes with Iran, suspending all flights to and from the country.
3. That move’s been followed by a host of other regional players, and things are still heating up. Since Riyadh’s announcement, Bahrain has also announced cut diplomatic ties with Iran and UAE has recalled its ambassador. Sudan followed by expelling the Iranian ambassador and the whole Iranian diplomatic mission from the country, and also recalled their own ambassador.