Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Saudi Arabia arrests dozens of Shi'ites

A cleric's threat of secession has brought a swift government crackdown in this poor, radical Shiite town in Saudi Arabia's increasingly restive religious minority heartland atop the Sunni kingdom's main oil reserves.

Cleric Sheik Nimr al-Nimr threatened to break away if Saudi authorities don't treat Shiites better. Followers of the sect make up 10 percent of the kingdom's population of 22.6 million and they have long complained of discrimination, saying they are barred from key positions in the military and government and are not given an equal share of the country's wealth.

"Our dignity has been pawned away, and if it is not ... restored, we will call for secession," al-Nimr said during Friday prayers last month. "Our dignity is more precious than the unity of this land."

Since that incendiary sermon, more than 35 people have been arrested in a government crackdown and al-Nimr has gone into hiding. Police have set up checkpoints on the roads leading into Awwamiya, one of the Shiite area's poorest towns.

For more on this, see this AP article HERE

1 comment:

Snake Oil Baron said...

I don't know if the Iranian state is involved but the Saudis would have to be thinking that. Iran needs oil prices to rise desperately. And even if they weren't involved, seeing Shiite people being cracked down on is not going to ease any tensions between the KSA and the IRI.