Shi’ites in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Provinces

Posting American Embassies’ diplomatic cables on the WikiLeaks page has accelerated lately. Nevertheless, so far, not more than a meager 6% of more than 250,000 cables have been published there. And, public interest seem to decline.

In an analysis of some 2009 cables sent from American Embassy and Consulates in Saudi Arabia, Daniel Lippman of McClatchy points to similarities between frank, albeit invited, intervention in Bahrain since March 14 and the brutal crackdown in Shi’te-dominated oil-rich Eastern Provinces of the Kingdom including closing and destroying mosques, arbitrary arrests of Shi’ite clerics and residents as well as blocking of Shi’tes from visiting the Baqi’a cemetery in Madinah where several of Shi’a Imams and some of their relatives are buried.

According to a 24 February 2009 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh skirmishes between police and as many as 2,000 Shiite pilgrims, mostly women, broke out after they were denied entering the cemetery.

“The Shi’a venerate these graves, and hold historical grudge against the Al Saud for the destruction of the tombs that occurred when King Abdalaziz conquered Medina in 1925.

“[T]he security forces used water cannon (and according to one source tear gas) to disperse the women.”

The crackdown in Bahrain has resulted in far more oppression than closing down or destroying mosques. A total of 36 people (including four police officers and one Saudi soldier) have been killed. Medical staff and patients have systemically been detained from hospitals. Forty-eight medical professionals are currently tried for treating wounded protestors, and yesterday eight activists were sentenced to lifetime imprisonment for participating in the uprising.

It is unfortunate that McClatchy and other media which have got access to the treasure trove of cables and are supposed to analyze them do not link to the original cables. I have searched but couldn’t find them on WikiLeaks own page.

Last modification June 24, 2011.

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1 Response to Shi’ites in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Provinces

  1. griffithinsider says:

    Am writing a thesis on Public Trust in WikiLeaks, the Media and the Government and need to know what your opinions are. The online survey is multiple choice and will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Please follow the link: Please encourage others to do the survey also.

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