"Saudi officials denied that sectarianism had played any role in the [47 Saudi] executions." (Embassy attack inflames tensions, Ben Hubbard, Sydney Morning Herald, 4/1/16)
The mind-boggling question arises: did the Saudis execute 43 alleged Sunni jihadis simply so that they could claim that their execution of Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr an-Nimr and 3 other Shia political prisoners had nothing to do with sectarianism?
The simple fact of the matter is that anti-Shia sectarianism is part of the Saudi/Wahhabi DNA.
The following text, part of a fatwa issued in 1927 to King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud (1876-1953), the founder of Saudi Arabia (1925-), by the Wahhabi Ikhwan of Nejd, the tribal army that brought him to power, illustrates the kind of Wahhabi sectarianism that the Shia population of Saudi Arabia,* concentrated in Eastern Province, has had to contend with from the very foundation of the Saudi state in 1925:
"As to the Shi'a, we have told the Imam that our ruling is that they must be asked to surrender to true Moslems, and should not be allowed to perform their misguided religious rites in public. We ask that the Imam should order his Viceroy in Hasa to summon the Shi'a to Sheikh Ibn Bishr, before whom they should undertake to follow the religion of God and His Prophet, to cease all prayers to the saintly members of the Prophet's house or others, to cease their heretical innovations such as the commemoration rites performed on the anniversaries of the deaths of members of the House of the Prophet and all other such rites performed in error, and that they should cease to visit the so-called sacred cities such as Karbala and Najaf. They must also attend compulsorily at the Five Prayers in the Mosques, along with the rest of the congregation, and Sunni Imams and muezzins, each with an assistant, should be appointed to instruct them. Shi'as must also be forced to study Sheikh Ibn Abdul Wahhab's Three Principles.
"Any places specially erected for the practice of their rites must be destroyed, and these practices forbidden in mosques or anywhere else.
"Any Shi'a who refuses to keep to these rules must be exiled from Moslem territory.
"With regard to the Shi'as of Qatif, the Imam... should compel the Sheikh Ibn Bishr to go and see personally that our requirements are carried out. We have advised the Imam to send missionaries and teachers to certain districts and villages which have now come under the rule of true Moslems, and to order his viceroys, emirs and other officials to co-operate with these missionaries in bringing these people back to Islam and forbidding sin and lawfulness." (Arabian Days, Sheikh Hafiz Wahba, 1964, pp 135-36)
[*Around 30% of the population of Eastern Province.]