The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend.

It’s a lesson the West has been reluctant or indifferent to learn, particularly in Middle East policy.

Saudi Arabia’s execution of dissident Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr on Jan. 2 is setting off a firestorm of tensions in the region. While it’s likely the Saudis want this drama to distract from their own falling oil prices, the losing war in Yemen, and a resurgent Iran, it’s a situation that could spiral further out of control any day.

Canada should be helping to douse the flames, not fanning them by honouring a $14.8-billion contract to sell armoured vehicles to the Saudi military.