'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What's Happening in Saudi Arabia? 

From The Global Mail:

It's all happening in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, home to most of the Kingdom's Shia minority, and 90 per cent of its oil. Seven people have been shot dead by Saudi security forces since October 2011, two in the past month alone. The Saudi Interior Ministry says these deaths resulted from gun battles between protesters and police. But in all amateur videos that show protesters being shot, there is no evidence that protesters were shooting back.

There have been remarkable scenes of rebellion. One photograph, taken on February 10 this year, shows a young man hurling an effigy of Crown Prince Nayef at a row of armoured anti-riot tanks. It's an extraordinary provocation. Prince Nayef is not only the head of the Interior Ministry - he's also the heir to the throne.

But it's not just a few people defying the Prince. On February 13, at a funeral for the most recent 'martyr', 21-year-old Zuhair al Said, tens of thousands of people marched through the streets, chanting No Sunna, No Shia, but Islamic unity! We're not afraid, down with Nayef! You're the terrorist, you're the criminal, you're the butcher, ya Nayef!

We will never rest, country of oppressors! Son of Saud [royal family], hear the voice! We will never give up 'til death!

The article is excellent, and I recommend that people read it in its entirety. Protests intensified after Saudi Arabia sent troops into nearby Bahrain last spring to participate in the ongoing suppression of the democracy movement. There is speculation that the Saudi royal family has not acted even more aggressively because of fears that the populace might interrupt the flow of oil from the region.

Hat tip to the Angry Arab.

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