(Check our latest two reports here and here
For the first time in decades, the Eastern Saudi Arabian volatile situation has reached the vital oil sector. A pipeline between Awamiya and Safwa has been reportedly targeted, and is under fire; the Saudi government sources were quick to claim that the fire is not an explosion and is one kilometer away from the pipeline. Our correspondent in Qatif confirmed that the area under fire is indeed where major pipelines are located; tomorrow is the anniversary of Fatima Zahraa's death, the prophet Mohamad's only daughter. It is an important and symbolic date for Saudi Shiites, and might constitute a suitable timing for such an escalation against the Saudi government's ongoing repression in the region.
Our correspondent in the area has said "I know the region where the photo was taken, it is between Safwa and Awamiya where major pipelines towards Ras Tanura are located". He said that "this is a message to the U.S. administration to convince Saudi Arabia's government to engage in serious reform". He continued that "there is another oil field on Awamiya's borders, and a second one on the edge of Safwa ... these are skirmishes to get American attention". (Saudi Arabia's revolt rarely gets media attention, especially that the U.S. is a major ally of the royal family)
The Arab Digest correspondent also said that "the region where the Awamiya oil field is located is called alrams, it is an agricultural land. Senior Saudi royal family members stole acres of this land, especially the late crown prince Sultan Ben Abdul Aziz. After stealing the land, and following local anger, he offered to sell it to them again for a high price. People still remember this incident very well. Recently, the government has made plans to destroy the natural landscape of this region, but the locals are protesting against this". The Saudi government has been trying through resettlement plans to change the demographics of the Eastern region, where Shiites remain a majority.
While the Saudi Government usually points a finger at Iran whenever a protest occurs in Qatif, Eastern Saudi activists rightly note that their cause and movement dates back decades before Iran's Islamic revolution (1979).
Awamiya's pipelines lead to Ras Tanura, the world's largest petroleum port, also located in Eastern Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia's Shiite minority, mostly residing in the oil rich east, has been protesting for years against State-sponsored discrimination and deprivation of local resources. They are treated as second class citizens, denied public sector jobs, and vital development for their oil rich areas. Saudi Arabia's powerful Wahhabi religious establishment considers Shiites heretics, and constantly incites against them. Among their demands, is a ban on media and mosque discrimination, as Shiites are regularly mocked and called heretics/infidels on TV channels.
Security forces have killed two protesters in Awamiya, Eastern Saudi Arabia. They are launching a series of arrests and raids on houses, schools and mosques. The government is dealing with the situation Saudi-style: a government newspaper columnist threatened the protesting residents with ethnic cleansing, while the Mufti cited a verse on crucifixion when discussing the proper punishment.
This is Awamiya this evening, protesters have blocked the Police road after arrests in the town.
A new photo of the pipeline under fire, from our Qatif correspondent:
The pipeline is located between Awamiya and Safwa, both areas had demonstrated in the past two days. Here is Safwa's demonstration last night:
Below is a map of oil fields in Saudi Arabia:
The Eastern region is where most of the oil fields are based. The events, if they continue, might force Saudi Arabia to lower its production expectations this year, thus affecting world supplies, and possible the world economy.
Below is a video of Awamiya, Eastern Saudi Arabia, you could see the oil fields from minute three onward. The oil fields are a vital source of Oil production in Saudi Arabia and the world.
Check our Latest Article on Saudi Arabia's revolt and oil.
Our previous articles on events in Eastern Saudi Arabia:
Saudi Forces Occupy Eastern School after Graffiti
Saudi Columnist calls for Ethnic Cleansing of Awamiya; Mufti ponders Crucifixion