Saudi Arabia's execution of Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr has exposed the dangerous political, religious and socioeconomic fault lines that run through the kingdom and the Gulf.

News of the execution sparked some unrest among Shiite communities in Saudi Arabia's oil-rich Eastern Province and in neighboring Bahrain as well as in southern Iraq.

Iran's supreme leader effectively called for the overthrow of the Saudi monarchy, drawing a furious response from the Saudi government, which accused the Islamic Republic of interfering in the kingdom's internal affairs.