Lest we forget that Saudi Arabia and Iran are bitter rivals

GlobalPost
Iranian protesters hold pictures of Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr during a demonstration outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran, Jan. 3, 2016. 
Raheb Homavandi/TIMA

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Need to know:

Lest we forget that Saudi Arabia and Iran are bitter rivals, they are back at it and fiercer than ever this weekend. 

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shia cleric named Nimr al-Nimr, who led anti-government protests in 2011, along with 46 others (mostly Sunnis) labeled as terrorists within the kingdom. The move appears to be designed to stoke Sunni-Shia tensions and shows that Sunni Saudi Arabia is taking a more provocative stance toward Shia Iran than it has in the past. 

Just hours after news of the executions was made public, protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran as well as the consulate in Mashhad. This morning, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swore "divine vengeance" against its enemy. Riyadh slapped back that Iran's vitriol shows its "true face" in support of terrorism.

But it's more than a war of words. What's really at stake has to do with Syria and Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and Iran back opposite sides of each conflict. Renewed tensions between two Middle East powerhouses does not bode well for the battle field. 

Want to know:

Hillary Clinton may have been premature when she called Donald Trump "ISIS' best recruiter" back in December, but come January she wasn't exactly wrong either. 

Somalia's Al Shabaab, an Al Qaeda affiliate, has used a clip of the Republican presidential candidate knocking Muslims in its latest recruitment video. The 51-minute video (parts of which you can see here) is all about racial injustice in the US and how the country is turning against Muslims. Cue Trump.

Of course, Al Shabaab used the now famous clip of Trump calling for a "shutdown" on Muslims entering the US last month. The clip is placed between shots of the late militant leader Anwar al-Awlaki, killed by US drones in Yemen in 2011, warning that the West is anti-Muslim. 

You might say they got what they need from Trump. He is the cream in Awlaki's Oreo sandwich.

And what does the man have to say for himself? He has to say what he has to say. "There's a problem." We agree.

Strange but true:

Let's talk about South Africa's "Native American" fetish, because it is a very strange thing indeed. 

Take Spur Steak Ranches, a chain serving burgers, steaks and schnitzel, where the restaurant's official logo is a chief in a feathered headdress. The décor is a jumble of teepees, tomahawks and totem poles. South Africans love it! 

Party shops sell gaudy “Native American” masks, while a leading department store recently dressed mannequins in stylized pink headdresses to match their bras and underwear. 

That many South Africans are tone deaf when it comes to America's history is not without irony, given their own history with apartheid. But who's really to blame here?

South Africa, like many countries around the world, knows about North America's indigenous people via dated Hollywood portrayals that have remained stubbornly unchanged.