Six killed in “preemptive” security operation in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province
Bill Van Auken
10 January 2019
The bloody siege by security forces of a village in the coastal Qatif region of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province has left at least six people dead and a number of others wounded.
The assault, described by Saudi officials as a “preemptive” security operation, saw heavily armed troops storm the village of Al-Jish after surrounding it for 15 hours. The Saudi regime claimed that the operation was aimed at capturing “terrorists” and that those killed had been given a chance to surrender but died in an “exchange of fire.”
No credibility whatsoever can be given to this official story from a monarchical dictatorship that describes anyone who opposes its rule or dares to insult the Saudi king or the country’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as a “terrorist,” whose offenses are punishable by beheading.
The Eastern Province, where the siege took place, has been the scene of continuous repression by the Saudi regime since 2011, when demonstrations broke out among the area’s Shia population demanding democratic rights and an end to the systemic discrimination exercised by the monarchy, whose rule is bound up with the official, state-sponsored religious doctrine of Wahhabism, an ultra-conservative Sunni sect.
The leader of the 2011 protests, the Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who called for an end to the monarchy, was executed in January 2016, along with 46 others on charges of “terrorism.” Forty-three were beheaded, and four were shot to death by firing squads.
The brutal repression has left the region, which is a center of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, but whose population is the poorest in the country, seething. Sporadic…