Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tells supporters in New Hampshire that the beheading of a prominent Shi'ite cleric by Saudi Arabia was ''not a smart decision'' and will inflame regional tensions. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY- U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Sunday (January 3) criticized Saudi Arabia's beheading of a prominent Shiite cleric. She told a campaign rally in Derry, New Hampshire that the beheading "was not a smart decision", and that the beheading "will inflame the region even more." Cleric Nimr al-Nimr was among the 47 killed on Saturday (January 2) in the kingdom's biggest mass execution for decades. Most were Sunnis convicted of al Qaeda attacks in Saudi Arabia a decade ago. Four, including Nimr, were Shi'ites accused of involvement in shooting policemen. Clinton said "even our friends" are not immune to criticism and that the U.S. should raise this issue with the Saudi government. "We have to keep doing everything we can to try to influence their behavior because frankly, I think this is counter-productive for them," she told her supporters. "If they were trying to send a strong message they were going to stand against internal dissent, terrorist behavior, this will inflame the region even more and, I think, cause even more dissent and more upheaval within Saudi Arabia. And so even in the short and medium term, I don't think it was a smart decision for them to make, and I will criticize them publicly for that." The rally was the first of several that Clinton was scheduled to hold on Sunday, as the state prepares for its crucial presidential primary early next month.