Iran-Saudi sectarian proxy wars set to explode, Israeli experts say

Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shi’ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr seems likely to escalate sectarian Sunni- Shi’ite violence in the Middle East, experts told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

Gulf Sunni states, with the exception of independent- minded Oman, are expected to publicly back the Saudis, while Shi’ite-dominated Iraq and allied Syria back Iran.

“The Shia Sunni conflict is boiling,” Eliezer “Geizi” Tsafrir, a former Arab affairs adviser to the prime minister and senior Mossad and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) official, who is currently a fellow at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, told the Post.

“Backed by petro-dollars and aggressiveness” revolutionary Iran is supporting its allies throughout the region and the “Sunni world is terribly afraid of the Iranian threat, perhaps dreaming that the US or Israel will do the job,” Tsafrir said.

Tsafrir pointed at how tensions were already rife since the Saudis, having had enough of Iranian subversion near its border, launched a war in Yemen last year to defend its interests against Iranian- backed Houthis taking over the country.

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