January 1, 2016: Saudi Arabia authorities executed 47 people among them highly esteemed Shia Muslim Sheikh Nimr al Nimr who were involved in a series of al Qaeda attacks between 2003 and 2006.
Following the execution angry protesters in Tehran, Iran (Shia Muslims dominated) ransacked the Saudi Arabian embassy. The protests prompted Saudi Arabia to cut diplomatic ties with Iran with whom they are major rivals with.
Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran are major Middle East rivals with both countries backing opposing sides in the ongoing crises in Yemen and Syria. The killing of Nimr was widely criticized with analysts warning of a wider rift between the Shia and Sunni Muslims as he was the most vocal leader in Qatif.
Following the deepening row between Saudi Arabia and Iran major Saudi allies have cut ties with Iran pulling their diplomats and expelling Iranian diplomats operating in their countries.
The row is slowly shifting into a war between the two major Muslim factions; Sunni and Shia which will without a doubt worsen the security in Middle East.
The peaceful cooperation between the Shia and Sunni Muslim has been seen as the only workable solution to routing out ISIS especially in Iraq, Syria and the Yemeni conflict.
The United States, European Union, China, Turkey and Russia are making efforts to bring calm the tension with mediation and other amicable conflict resolution on the table.
Analysts have warned of the repercussions of the split to the security in Middle East expressing the rising fear of the implication it could have on the fight against Islamic State which is slowly trying to expand out of the Middle East towards forming a global Islamic Caliphate.