When the Arab Spring sprung a few years ago, the world’s eyes only really cared about one nation. If Saudi Arabia’s elite could not keep paying off their poor, an uprising in the world’s largest oil supplier could have significant (and catastrophic) consequences for the rest of the world. Of course, between being paid to lose weight (in gold) and raising unemployment insurance, the government has kept trouble at bay. However, things are shifting. As DPA repots, two police were killed after coming under heavy gunfire while trying to arrest several Shiite activists. Of course, this is a one off but notable in its occurrence for the first time since 2011. Saudi Arabia blames Iran of inciting its Shiite citizens to disturb security and stability.
Two policemen and two fugitives were killed Thursday in Saudi Arabia when security forces tried to arrest the wanted men, the Interior Ministry said.
The incident occurred in Awwamiyyeh, in Qatif governorate, a stronghold of the country’s Shiite opposition.
Police came under heavy fire while carrying out the arrest operation and were forced to shoot back, ministry spokesman General Mansour al-Turki said.
A wave of protest swept the Shiite-dominated Qatif area, in eastern Saudi Arabia, in 2011. Since then there have been a number of shooting incidents, while authorities have pursued wanted Shiite activists.
The Shiites accuse authorities in the kingdom, which is dominated by the hardline Sunni Wahhabi tendency, of discrimination. Saudi Arabia denies this, describing the protesters as “rioters” financed by foreign countries to cause unrest in the world’s top oil exporter.
Saudi Arabia blames Iran of inciting its Shiite citizens to disturb security and stability.
In January, the US embassy in Riyadh warned its citizens against travelling to the district after gunmen attacked the car of two German diplomats.
Security forces who tried to arrest those suspected of being behind “armed unrest” were shot at and retaliated, a ministry spokesman was quoted as saying.
They seized “two weapons, a large quantity of ammunition, a bulletproof vest and weapons sights,” he added, warning the authorities would crush any such resistance with “an iron fist”.
Awamiya has continued to experience problems despite the end of mass protests that erupted in the eastern region in March 2011 in the wake of the Arab Spring.