Saudis Turn Shia Town to Rubble
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Awamiyah in eastern Saudi Arabia is a Shia town with an estimated population of about 25,000, bordering the Persian Gulf.
In early May, Saudi forces launched attacks, heavy weapons used against defenseless civilians.
The town is blockaded. Targeted areas are being systematically destroyed, essentials to life in short supply.
Clashes continue in the old city, residents dispossessed from their homes, mainly around the historic Almosara district, private companies seizing properties for development projects.
Saudi mistreatment of Shia Muslims is longstanding. Prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr came from the area.
Targeted for his activism in 2014, he was beaten, shot, arrested, tortured, and denied vitally needed medical treatment for expressing his views freely.
Last year he was executed for nonexistent sedition, authorities falsely claiming he was involved in “foreign meddling in (Saudi affairs), disobeying its rulers, and taking up arms against the security forces.”
Not a shred of evidence proved it. He justifiably criticized Saudi repressive rule, calling it “particularly reactionary.”
He opposed violence and “murder in the name of God.” He called for open, free and fair elections, advocating governance “based on justice and liberty” – entirely absent in the kingdom.
He publicly denounced Saudi oppression of Shia Muslims, enjoyed widespread popularity for his views, so he had to be eliminated – part of Riyadh’s campaign to crush dissent.
Many dispossessed Awamiya residents are homeless. Saudi activist Ameen Nemer described “forced displacement,” calling it “collective punishment” against Shia residents.
He believes dispossessing town residents is politically motivated, unrelated to redevelopment, a pretext for removing them – “punishing this town for being vocal…calling for rights (and) reforms since 2011.”
Area residents reported Saudi forces using live fire against defenseless civilians, numbers killed, wounded or arrested unclear.
Video circulating online showed much of the town reduced to rubble, residents victimized by regime state terror, what’s going on ignored by Western media scoundrels.
The Trump administration and Congress are silent, focused on punishing Russia, Iran and North Korea over nothing – while continuing economic and political war on Venezuela, along with US-orchestrated street violence.
Since 2011, Awamiyah residents have been protesting for fundamental freedoms, release of political prisoners, and an end to brutal regime treatment.
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