While most Westerner know next to nothing about either of these nations, nor about Islam, recent events are neither surprising nor to be quickly dismissed.
Indeed, we may all eventually be impacted by the distasterous-at-best relationship between these two nations.
Consider Dave Jolly’s take on the situation:
On June 28, 1914, a Serbian nationalist assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the nephew of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, King of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia. Archduke Ferdinand was the heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife is generally believed to be the spark that ignited World War 1.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabia executed 47 people accused of terrorist crimes. One of those executed was a Shiite cleric by the name of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. While you may not understand the importance of his execution, it may possibly lead to war between Iran and Saudi Arabia and if that happens, it may well be the final spark that launches World War 3.
Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader claims that Sheikh Nimr was not a terrorist but a peaceful man. He accuses Saudi Arabia of executing him because he was a Shiite Muslim who disagreed with Saudi Arabia’s Sunni leaders. As reported by BBC News:
But Ayatollah Khamenei said the cleric had been executed for his opposition to Saudi Arabia’s Sunni rulers.
“‘This oppressed scholar had neither invited people to armed movement, nor was involved in covert plots’ the ayatollah tweeted.”
“‘The only act of #SheikhNimr was outspoken criticism,’ he added, saying the ‘unfairly-spilled blood of oppressed martyr #SheikhNimr will affect rapidly & Divine revenge will seize Saudi politicians’.”
“Sheikh Nimr had been a figurehead in the anti-government protests that erupted in the wake of the Arab Spring up to his arrest in 2012.”
The animosity or hatred between Sunni and Shiite Muslims is stronger than the hatred held by the southern states about the northern states that led to the American civil. Allow me to explain:
“The conflict between the two Islamic sects goes back to the death of their prophet Muhammad in 632 AD when a successor was to be named to lead the Islamic people. The majority, the Sunni, wanted the community to select the new leader and a minority, the Shiites or Shia, insisted that Muhammad’s successor be a family member, namely Ali who was Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, married to his daughter Fatimah.”
“The Sunni majority won out and named the first caliph, but the Shiite minority was not happy and tensions soon flared into conflicts. Eventually Ali was named as the fourth caliph, but it was too late. Ali was murdered at Kufa in present day Iraq in 661 AD as were several of the early caliphs.”
“Ali’s son Hussein assumed the leadership of the Shiites and openly rejected the rule of the Sunni caliph. Hussein continued to defy the caliph and eventually faced the caliph’s very large army with only 72 followers, many of which were family members. The caliph’s army massacred Hussein and his small group. He was beheaded and his head was taken to the Sunni caliph in Damascus. His body was left on the battlefield until it was burned and buried.”
For the past 1300 years Sunni and Shiite Muslims have been at odds. Many of the civil wars and skirmishes that have taken place in the Middle East over the past 1300 years have been due to the bitter hatred between the two Muslim sects. That’s why I’ve long contended that it is extremely naïve of our government to believe that they can actually bring peace to the Middle East.
If Khamenei’s threat of divine revenge becomes a reality and Shiite Muslims retaliate against Saudi Arabia’s Sunni leadership, there is a good possibility of a full-fledged war breaking out between Iran and Saudi Arabia. If that happens, it could spark further conflicts between Shiite and Sunni Muslims throughout the Middle East. With so many nations dependent upon Middle East oil, a war in the entire region could very well spill out in much of the rest of world and yes, the US will most likely get involved as well but this time a world war will surely come to our shores and endanger us all.
World war happened once over the death of one man and may just happen again.
Walid Shoebat is an expert in these matters and offers a clear biblical perspective of these events:
When we tell you that Iran (biblical Elam) will soon wipe Saudi Arabia off the face of the map, you better believe it, Isaiah 21 confirmed it and it will be done. Today Iran’s Ayatullah threatens: “I have no doubt that this pure blood will stain the collar of the House of Saud and wipe them from the pages of history,” says Iran’s Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami. The threat with complete annihilation came as result when King Salman of Saudi Arabia today executed an Ayatullah figure named Nimr Al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia. So like birth pangs, this speeds up the end of Saudi Arabia by the hand of Elam/Iran (Isaiah 21).
There are only 47 Ayatollahs in the world and 17 of them are assigned to 8 Muslim countries outside Iran and yesterday the King of Saudi Arabia, King Salman, decided to behead one of them; Nimr Al-Nimr who was executed privately among 47 others on terrorism charges in an indoor beheading fest that was carried out in small batches throughout the kingdom.
The event sparked havoc all throughout; Shiites ignited in riots in several countries, Qatif, the Shiite community in Saudi Arabia are revolting while the Saudi Embassy in Mashhad, Iran was set ablaze with calls to destroy Saudi Arabia which echoed throughout the Shiite world while Iran vowed to destroy Al-Saud.
The execution was carried out few days when Erdogan of Turkey, the candidate for Caliph of the Muslim world had visited with King Salman and entered the Gate to Allah (Bab-Illah) in the Kabaa in Mecca. The King perhaps is confident that his back is covered by major Muslim sunni power, the Caliph to be, the neo-Ottoman Erdogan. This, we predict, will backfire on Saudi Arabia.
Ayatullah Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, the Ayatullah appointed in Saudi Arabia to represent the Shiites
Several videos surfaced showing the havoc. The first two is setting Saudi embassy ablaze in Mashhad, the other two are the riots in Qatif, the Shiite region of Saudi Arabia.
The title Ayatollah is from Arabic: آية الله, āyatu allah “Sign of Allah”, and is the highest ranking title given to Usuli Twelver Shī‘ah clerics after the Grand Ayatollah and are considered experts in Islamic jurisprudence, ethics, and philosophy.
The best way to relate this story to the western mindset is perhaps to compare the feud between the English (as the Sunnis) and the Scottish (as the Shiites) where William Wallace had become the hated enemy of King Edward I, the Longshanks who eventually had Wallace beheaded. Nimr, according to the Saudi Kingdom was a cause of much controversy for leading a Shiite uprising within the Sunni kingdom.
As it was in Wallace’s mock trial, Nimr’s trial was no ordinary criminal trial, since the prosecutor sought to convict al-Nimr of “waging war on Allah” and was ultimately convicted of “disobeying” the king; waging violence against the state; inviting “foreign meddling” in the kingdom; inciting vandalism and sectarian violence; and insulting the Prophet Muhammad’s relatives, a thing that all Shiites are accused by Sunnis because of their theological convictions. The prosecutor requested the court to have the Ayatollah to be publicly executed by “beheading crucifixion” (just as they did to William Wallace), a rare method of execution that entails beheading the individual before publicly displaying his decapitated body on a crucifix.
Since the October 15, 2014 ruling to execute Nimr, Iran was up-in-arms and the international human rights organizations including the U.S have sought to pressure Saudi Arabia into sparing al-Nimr’s life while demonstrations erupted in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen and the United Kingdom, even including Bashar Al-Assad of Syria and Hezbollah.
The King carried out the execution despite requests from U.S. state department showing that Saudi Arabia realizes its ally, the U.S., no longer is the protector. Keep in mind, the executions were carried out after Erdogan of Turkey (the new fledgling protector) of the kingdom entered into the heart of the Kaaba.
The beheading was celebrated by Saudis and scorned by Shiites.
Welcome to Muslim death festivity. Cake and Halva with decoration that says “To hell with you Nimr Al-Nimr” with two chalices of red drink resembling Nimr’s blood for drink. Keep in mind when the Two Witnesses in Revelation are executed in Jerusalem, that sweets are passed in celebration resembles Muslim joy.
Tweets like “the martyred Nimr’s blood is the beginning of the end of the Kingdom of Daesh” filled Twitter. Shiites render Saudi Arabia as the instigator and originator of Daesh (ISIS). Another tweet says “the blood of martyred Sheikh Nimr will remove Al-Saud from existence and will draw the pathway for freedom of the people of Saudi Arabia”.
The last mass execution of similar scale in Saudi Arabia was in 1980, when 63 jihadists were put to death after they seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca.
The executions of at least 157 people in 2015, a year that began with the inauguration of a new monarch, King Salman, were a sharp increase from the 90 people put to death in 2014. Saudi officials have argued that the increase reflects not a change in policy but a backlog of death sentences that had built up in the final years of the previous monarch, King Abdullah.
The spark to end Saudi Arabia perhaps has begun. Emirati political scientist, Abdulkhaliq Abdulla,wrote on Twitter, adding that the kingdom was better prepared to confront Iran “than at any other time.”
The cyber rattling between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia stems from ancient wounds that will never be resolved, with Saudi Arabia having destroyed Shiite holy places and Iran making countless claims of persecution. Iran has recently forbidden its citizens from traveling to Mecca to practice the Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam. Iran’s prohibition on traveling to Islam’s holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, confirms that Iran will even eventually abandon Mecca altogether. As it seems, the Sunni-Shiite divide reveals a major schism between two Muslim holy cities, Mecca on the one hand and Karbala (holiest site for Shiites in Iraq) on the other. The execution of Ayatullah Nimr will backfire on Al-Saud. Anyone today now can deduce that Iran with Iraq, a majority Shiite nation, soon to become Iranian controlled, this including Iranian controlled Yemen, Oman and later Bahrain will pin Saudi Arabia where they have only the Red Sea behind them and the enemy on its eastern flank leaving no escape. This is definitely a deadly combination and Saudi Arabia sees the writing on the wall: the Persians (Elam) are coming for Arabia (Isaiah 21). This is no longer prophetic theory but is becoming prophetic reality. In the geo-politics of everything Middle East, when Iran eventually controls these nations, even if one takes Jordan (Edom and Moab), prophetically will likely be entered by Turkey (Daniel 11:41) leaving no escape for the harlot except by the Red Sea. Yet the Bible even tells us that her destruction is heard at the Red Sea (Jeremiah 49:21) and is where the shipmasters will weep and wail “Alas Alas that great city …” (Revelation 18).
Saudi Arabia is rummaging to find a solution and sees the writing on the wall. The dual fulfillment of “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN ()” is on the horizon. And while it is explained to mean that God had “numbered” the kingdom of Babylon and brought it to an end; that the king had been weighed and found wanting; and that his kingdom was divided and given to the Medes and Persians (Dan. v. 1-28), we need not forget the duality of fulfillment here. This also applies to the end time Mystery Babylon which is not in Iraq, New York or Rome (see full detailed explanation here) but Arabia. Within few years, Mecca and its 7 massive structures, the largest building structure on earth, called “The Towers Of The House” that overlooks the Ka’ba, Islam’s holiest place will meet its doom in accordance to prophecy. There is no place on earth today where stands the largest structure in the world, used for a religious purpose, all worshipping in one tongue, regardless of their mother tongue, and is holy to more than 1.5 billion people on earth that is literally called Mount Babel today, except the one in Mecca overlooking the Ka’ba.
This is an un-healable divide and the Scriptures in Isaiah 21 predict that Iran will end up destroying Arabia, so let the symphony begin and let the angels proclaim God’s judgment which right after, the earth will rest and the holy people will rejoice.
Finally, Mark Davidson offers a brief but important comment:
Iran will run out and invade in the three directions: north, south and west. So says Daniel 8:4. This is the Second Signpost
To the west, Iran is already engaged antagonistically in limited combat with its enemy to the west: Islamic State.
We have yet to see a significant development to the north. However, Iran’s enemy, Turkey has restarted its war with the Kurds and perhaps Iran would be seen as a liberator.
But we have just witnessed a major development with Iran’s enemy to the south: Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. I believe we have just seen a big step forward to setting the stage for the Second Signpost in the south. Saudi Arabia has cut off diplomatic relations with Iran, and so has one of the Gulf States, Bahrain. A second Gulf State, the UAE, has cooled relations with Iran.
Like dominoes, the events are falling one after the other. First there was the execution of Nimr, than the burning of the Saudi embassy, then the cutting off of diplomatic relations. Historically, the cutting off of relations is a common sign often seen when two nations drift slowly towards war with each other.
The two best candidates for the longer horn on the ram, to lead the charge in the three directions: Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, on the left, and Major General Ali Jafari, commander of the other four branches (Army, Navy, Rocket forces, Basij) of the IRGC, on the right. Both men report directly only to the first horn of the ram, the supreme leader.
We don’t know what exactly is next. But I believe we can know that it will culminate in the Second Signpost. Remember to keep the actual Second Signpost as the sign God’s word tells us to watch. All events preceding and marching towards the Second Signpost are only the preparation.