Douglas: United Nations? NATO? U.S.? EU?
Exiled Saudi dissidents said police had sealed off the village of Awwamiya after using live fire to disperse Shia protesters on Monday night. They claimed 20 people had been wounded in the worst violence in Saudi Arabia’s ast, home to much of the Sunni kingdom’s Shia minority, for years.
Observers say Sunni-Shia tension is rising in the kingdom and could be exploited by Iran, Saudi Arabia’s greatest rival in the region.
Saudi officials blamed Iran for the unrest, although it appeared that the conflict was triggered after police allegedly arrested two men in a bid to force their two sons to surrender to authorities.
The two fugitives had been accused of playing a leading role in small Shia protests that erupted in March after Saudi Arabia sent troops to quell Shia protests in nearby Bahrain.
Angry villagers surrounded Awwamiya’s police station on Monday to demand the fathers’ release, prompting policemen inside to open fire, Saudi dissidents said. “The city is now under siege by security forces,” said Ali Al Ahmed, a Saudi Shia activist in Washington.