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▸ [Saudi Arabia: Shooting and capturing of Shiite Cleric Nimr al-Nimr] Ellen Knickmeyer - Wall St Journal

There was a similarly detailed report from Reuters, but this WallSt Journal piece provides a narration of how the incident happened. (*Not necessarily true or whole truth thing)

Prince Nayef’s death - Shiite Sheik al-Nimr post a video calling for ‘rejoicing’ Prince’s death on Youtube (WallSt Journal says verified it) - then somehow Saudi security force attempted arrest/capture of the Shiek - and that somehow resulted in shootings, injuries and deaths.

And views are that this could only escalate the tension within Saudi Arabia, esp in its Eastern province (Qatif). 

RIYADH—Two protesters were killed amid demonstrations in Saudi Arabia over the shooting and capture by security forces of a Shiite cleric who had called for “rejoicing” over the recent death of the crown prince, activists said Monday.

The arrest of the Saudi cleric, Nimr al-Nimr, disappointed some activists and diplomats who had hoped that the Sunni monarchy might ease up on crackdowns under a new interior minister who had succeeded one considered to be a hard-liner on dissent.

Sheik al-Nimr, known for his fiery speeches against the kingdom’s rulers, played into government worries of opposition figures seeking to incite unrest among Saudi Shiites to destabilize the state and widen the influence of neighboring Iran.

The new interior minister, Ahmed bin Abdulaziz al Saud, succeeded his older brother, former Crown Prince and Interior Minister Nayef, after the prince died on June 16.

Saudi Shiites, who mostly hail from the oil-rich Eastern Province, have long alleged discrimination in majority Sunni Saudi Arabia. Last year, six Shiite protesters died in confrontations with security forces during several protests.

Jafer al-Shayeb, a longtime Shiite activist there, said Monday that the situation had calmed this year.

"But after the developments last night, for today and coming days, we will see more protests and violence," Mr. al-Shayeb said. "It’s not in the interest of anyone."

Shortly after Crown Prince Nayef’s death, Sheik al-Nimr appeared in a sermon posted on YouTube and viewed by The Wall Street Journal calling for “rejoicing” over the prince’s passing.

The video caused a stir among Saudis in a kingdom whose royal family has religious stature and functions as the guardian of Islam’s two holiest shrines. Open criticism by Saudis of the monarchy is rare.


Despite some earlier Western expectations that a change at the top of the Interior Ministry might bring a softer approach, “change rarely comes quickly” in Saudi Arabia. Jane Kinninmont, a senior research fellow at London-based Chatham House think-tank, noted Monday.

"It’d be too early to expect much of a difference," Ms. Kinninmont said. "If anything, the direct targeting of Sheik Nimr represents an escalation."

Jul 09, 2012, 5:33pm  1 note      

  1. akio posted this