Today, the International Business Times published an op-ed by ADHRB Executive Director Husain Abdulla regarding international fallout over the execution of Saudi cleric and political activist Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. The first paragraphs of the article are found below; the rest can be viewed on the IB Times website.

Saudi authorities were not always so rash. A governing elite that for decades prided itself on caution and keeping a low profile has, with the execution of popular cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, embraced a posture of bellicose irresponsibility.

When Saudi officials carried out his death sentence on 2 January, they knew that their beleaguered Shia population would take to the streets. They knew that they were undermining the viability of a recently opened embassy in Baghdad. They knew that diplomatic relations with Iran, already at their most fragile, would devolve, and possibly be suspended entirely. They knew that they were heightening tensions in the region’s developing cold war.

They knew, and they chose the reckless approach anyway.