Kingdom wary of popular uprising warns unrest will be crushed with ‘an iron fist’ and plays down protests, blaming outsiders.
Saudi Arabia has made clear it will not tolerate unrest in its eastern province, where 14 people, 11 of them policemen, were injured in protests this week. Any further trouble would be crushed with “an iron fist,” the government warned, anxious to avoid any perception that the first green shoots of the Arab spring have started to emerge in the Gulf’s conservative heartland.
It is no surprise that the regime’s instinct has been to play down the dimensions and significance of the trouble – an “isolated incident” is the official line in Riyadh. Initial evidence of an over-reaction by security forces gave way to a pullout from the flashpoint, Awamiyah, near the regional capital Qatif, where the Saudi interior ministry accused protesters of carrying arms and throwing petrol bombs. YouTube picturesshowed some of that — along with the sou… >>>