I was just reading about the Saudi Arabia/Iran debacle (on January 2, the Kingdom executed a major Shi'ite cleric, Nimr al-Nimr, among nearly 50 other people), which, the article said, has finally exposed the frailty of the Saudi regime. While I don't doubt the Saudi's frailty, and while I understand the significance of both Nimr al-Nimr's execution to the Iranians, and their boiling-hot reaction reaction to it, I don't see much coverage about the 46 other men beheaded by the Saudi regime.
This is for good reason, of course, having to do with whatever stability is left in the Middle East. (The Saudi (read Arab Sunni) versus the Iranian (read Persian Shi'a) split is nearly as old as Islam itself, but many claim the two major powers having been fighting a proxy war in crumbling Syria.)
Yet the Saudis executed 46 other people that day by sword and firing squad, justifying the carnage by claiming that many of those the state killed were linked to al-Qaida plots from 2006 and before. So far, I haven't read any specific information on any of the individuals beyond that assertion.
What interests me with regard to the alleged al-Qaida connection(s), is the hole the Saudis have dug for themselves over the last 200 hundred years. It is the oppressive Saudis who have been selling a Medieval form of Sunni Islam since they began to gain power in the late 18th century when they aligned with a puritan (some say extremist, others reformer) from Central Arabia named Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab during his lifetime (1703–1792 C.E.).
Al-Qaida members, not least Osama bin Laden himself, absorbed and used the teachings of al-Wahhab (Wahhabism) for political ends, as has the Kingdom since its beginnings. It is their internicene struggle, more than al-Qaida's attacks on the West, that show that their jihad (struggle) has less to do with religious belief than with power, oppression, and control. And if reports coming out of Saudi Arabia are correct, the Saudis are losing their grip on that control.