The beheading of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr (along with sixteen others who apparently don't matter to anyone) has sent any hope of diplomacy to solve regional problems into a tailspin. The best known spokesperson for the Shi'a minority in eastern Saudi Arabia as well as for the Shi'a majority in Bahrain was exactly the wrong person to kill at this juncture if there is to be any hope of something resembling peace in Syria or Yemen, an effective coalition against IS, or a little more stability in Lebanon.
So the USofA sent a "naughty-naughty" message to King Salman the Senile, which will have no impact whatsoever on the likely instigator of the crisis, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud. My heavens! But what more can we do?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Stop providing logistic support to the Saudis in Yemen. It hasn't done anything to limit Saudi aerial massacres of civilians; and without it, they just might lose and go home.
- Stop selling the Saudis advanced weapons systems. Yes, the military contractors will whine about it, but there are plenty of other autocrats to arm around the world.
- Invite President Hassan Rouhani of Iran to meet privately with Obama. Hint that they're close to relaxing the sanctions against Iranian oil.
- In diplomatic cables, refer to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the young dipshit behind the current mess, as "the young dipshit." Leak the cables to Wikileaks.