Riyadh waging war on Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority: Analyst

The file photo shows Saudi police officers.

An American university lecturer says Saudi Arabia is waging a war on the country’s Shia minority, slaughtering members of the community instead of engaging in dialog with them, Press TV reports.

“The Saudis are essentially waging war on the minority citizenry and this is not unique to the Saudis at this present time,” Lawrence Davidson, a professor at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, said in an interview with Press TV on Friday.

He also drew a parallel between the Saudi purge and the Egyptian crackdown on the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

“I think the Egyptians are waging war on the... Muslim Brotherhood … and so I think there is a trend of dealing with minority groups that you fear: instead of negotiating and talking and what have you, simply going and shooting them,” Davidson added.

Since February 2011, Saudi Arabia has stepped up security measures in the Shia-dominated Eastern Province, which has been rocked by anti-regime demonstrations, with protesters demanding free speech, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination.

The Egyptian government has also been cracking down on opposition since the country’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, was ousted in a military coup led by former army chief and current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in July 2013.

Back in March, Saudi Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud met with US President Donald Trump at the White House. During the meeting, Salman hailed Trump as a “true friend of Muslims” in total disregard of the US president’s hostile stance toward world Muslims.

Davidson said elsewhere in his comments that what Salman really means is that Trump “is a true friend of Saudi Arabia and doesn’t get in the way of Saudi militancy and Saudi violence in Yemen or in eastern Saudi Arabia. So, it doesn’t matter what’s true.”

Yemeni children look at a school that was damaged in a Saudi airstrike in the city of Ta’izz, Yemen, March 16, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The United Nations included Saudi Arabia on its annual list of violators of children’s rights in 2016, but removed it shortly after Riyadh threatened to cut funding for the UN’s humanitarian programs.

“Well, the UN... is essentially emasculated. It can’t react particularly when it’s being blackmailed by its chief donors,” Davidson said.

Saudi Arabia has been leading a brutal military campaign against Yemen since March 2015. Riyadh has also imposed an aerial and naval blockade on its southern neighbor.

The Saudi war, which seeks to reinstate Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi as president, has killed over 12,000 Yemenis, according to recent tallies.

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