The War Zone in Saudi Arabia: Tweets from the Besieged Town of Al-Awamiya

Published July 30th, 2017 - 01:17 GMT
The Shia-heavy town of Al-Awamiya has been besieged by Saudi government forces for two months. (Unverified photo via Twitter)
The Shia-heavy town of Al-Awamiya has been besieged by Saudi government forces for two months. (Unverified photo via Twitter)

The restive town of Al-Awamiya in the Al-Qatif province of Saudi Arabia has been the scene of a violent regime crackdown on protesters, with numerous Shia activists being reported as arrested, disappeared, or killed.

In May, the Wahhabi-Sunni government laid siege to Al-Awmaniya in a move thought to be a response to protests by Saudi’s Shia population against the regime’s announcement that it was going to demolish a four-hundred year old Shia neighborhood in the town.

Al-Awmaniya was the home of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, the Shia cleric executed in 2016 after calling for pro-democracy protests in the Sunni kingdom.

 

 

A lack of independent media access has meant that news from inside the area is filtered through official Saudi outlets and thus cannot be relied on as accurate. What is left, therefore, are numerous unverified social media posts which purport to be from inside the town and wider Shia-heavy region.

One Twitter account, @AngryQatifi, has become particularly known for its reporting on the siege.

Some Tweets have called out Western nations for supplying Saudi Arabia with armoured vehicles arms which it is using on its own people. Canada was this week accused of supplying the kingdom with the armoured vehicles which appear to be being used in the crackdown.

 

 

The Canadian government has said it will take these allegations very seriously, although Western nations do not have a very good track record when it comes to dissuading Saudi Arabia from commiting human rights violations. 

The town currently resembles a war zone. While the images and videos in the Tweets coming from Al-Awamiya and Al-Qatif province in general cannot be verified, they do appear to show high levels of destruction in the Shia-heavy areas. Activists online have been providing updates from on the ground, and if these images reflect the reality of the situation, then it is clear that the kingdom's crackdown is brutal and extremely violent.

 


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