The Saudi military may have reportedly declared “victory” in the Shia town of Al-Awamiya but the online war among the Saudi people goes on.
The hashtag “Awamiya defeated” was trending on Twitter Wednesday as social media reports suggested that the battle waged by government troops on the eastern Saudi town had ended.
Al-Awamiya in the Qatif region, which is home to Saudi’s Shia minority, had reportedly been under siege by state security forces since May.
The Sunni regime claims that they are fighting “terrorists” who are threatening security in the state. This account is disputed by residents in the town who instead report a brutal crackdown on protesters, which has seen much of the town destroyed.
Saudis responding to the hashtag praised their security forces for what they described as “protecting the homeland” and “conquering terrorism”.
A victorious morning in the age of #Resolute_Salman Thank you to our soldiers, the protectors of religion and the homeland #Al-Awamiya_defeated #Al-Mosawarah_defeated
The victories of Awamiyah and what the heroes have achieved should be a tribute to this prince who planned to conquer terrorism and built a strong security edifice. Greetings to him.
Awamiyah, one of the cities of Saudi Arabia, has been purged. Religion and peace are victorious, the tails of Iran and its people fall.
However, the Twitter account “Angry Qatifi”, which has been documenting alleged regime abuses against Saudi’s Shia population, painted a very different picture of the “victory.”
An estimated 10-15% of Saudis are Shia, but they have long faced persecution in the fundamentalist Wahhabi-Sunni kingdom. Ibn Abdul-Wahhab, who alongside Muhammad bin Saud founded the first Saudi state, the Emirate of Diriyah, did not consider the Shia to be real Muslims.
A 2009 Human Rights Watch report documented institutionalized discrimination against Saudi's Shias.
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