Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SAUDI ARABIA - Facing the challenge, stick out his Riyadh

On 4 March, the Saudi government sent 10,000 security forces in the Shiite provinces of the north-east, blocking access to Dammam and other cities with buses full of soldiers in preparation for mobilization that now called "the revolution of Hunayn. The worst nightmare for Saudi Arabia - the arrival of the new wave of rebellion and insurrection in the kingdom - now weighs on the House of Saud.

According to several sources, King Abdullah, shaken by the revolt of the Shiite majority in Bahrain - the nearby island dominated by Sunnis where demonstrators demand beyond the start-ruling family reportedly told the Bahraini authorities that if they do not mataient their revolt Shia, his own army would.

The opposition says at least 20,000 Saudis are expected to meet March 11 in Riyadh and in the Shiite provinces of the northeast to demand an end to corruption and, if necessary, the end of the House of Saud. [Edicts Religious (fatwa) issued by religious authorities affiliated to the Saudi monarchy have called for banning the demonstration].

Although he tried to avoid external information on the extent of the wave of revolt, the Saudi security officials have known for over a month that the Shiite uprising in the small island of Bahrain was likely to spread to Saudi Arabia. Inside the country, thousands of messages on the Internet and Facebook have encouraged Sunni Saudis to join the events organized in the Kingdom "conservative" and highly corrupt.

They propose - and this idea has clearly been the subject of consultation - that women are placed at the forefront of confrontations with the army or the police to deter Saudi to open fire. If the Saudi royal family decided to use maximum violence against demonstrators, the president of the United States will face one of the decisions regarding the Middle East the most delicate of its mandate.

In Egypt, Barack Obama has supported the protesters only after the police used firearms without restriction. But in Saudi Arabia - a country supposed to be a "key ally" of the United States and one of the major oil producers in the world - it will hesitate to protect the innocent. So far, Saudi authorities have tried to dissuade people from supporting the mobilizations of March 11, stating that many demonstrators were "Iraqis and Iranians." It's the same old excuse that have been used Ben Ali in Tunisia, Egypt Mubarak, Bouteflika in Algeria, Yemen and Saleh Al-Khalifa in Bahrain.

Their argument is that "foreign hands" were behind all the democratic uprisings in the Middle East. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Obama will be on tenterhooks on March 11 and hope that the protesters will be low or that the Saudis "retain" their police and security officers. But experience shows that these scenarios are unlikely.

In the past, the Saudi intellectuals who demanded reforms were simply harassed or arrested. Although very old, King Abdullah will not tolerate the rebel lords or serfs tell him reluctant to make concessions for youth. His bribe of $ 36 billion [financing reforms proposed by the plan to appease popular discontent] to improve education and provide housing assistance is unlikely to meet their demands.

With the price of oil reaching $ 120 and the debacle Jamahiriya lowering its production up to 75%, the big economic issue - and moral, in case that would interest the Western powers - is how long the " civilized world "will continue to support the country whose citizens were almost all suicide bombers of September 11.

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