‘Yemen war might make Saudis bleed for long time’
A police crackdown on a Shia minority in the Saudi eastern province of Awamiyah has turned into a full scale battle. One police officer was killed and three others injured in the fighting, the country’s Interior Ministry stated Monday. Locals say more than 30 people were arrested - but those reports were denied by the authorities.
While the government says it is tackling terrorist elements in the region, activists believe the police raid came as punishment for protests against the Saudi intervention in Yemen.
RT:How much of a concern is this situation for the Saudi Arabian authorities?
Kamel Al Wazne: It is a ... tense situation in the region and in Saudi Arabia obviously. The tension that is going on, and the confrontation that is taking [place] against Yemen is not going to leave Saudi Arabia without any consequences and ramifications. There is a large minority that exists in Saudi Arabia - they have been deprived for a very long time of their basic rights and they have been treated like a second class. With the tension that is taking place in Yemen, in Bahrain, in Iraq, and throughout the region everything can fall apart if we don’t find a solution for what is taking place.
RT:Is this a spillover from the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen?
KAW: I think [the situation can explode] at any time, especially if confrontation goes on for a very long time without finding a political solution. The Saudis are playing with fire and the way they are going about it- they think they have [been investing] in the military equipment for like four years, spending more money than countries like India… thinking they can resolve things with their aircraft, not knowing that their aircraft so far haven’t achieved anything.
Logic and reason and a political solution would be the answer to solve the crisis. Otherwise, the Saudis made … a major miscalculation by entering this war and this can make the Saudis bleed for a very long time. [The intervention] has weakened the Saudi position in the international community. When you see these innocent children being killed the way they are and the level of destruction - and you’re talking about Yemen. Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the world. There are 10 million people living below the poverty level. Yemen does not need those F-16s, F-15s to bombard its territory. It needs help, it needs food, it needs shelter, it needs water, and it needs medical supplies.
RT:How much of a role did religion play in the Saudi decision to intervene in Yemen - and is there a danger of a broader Shia-Sunni conflict in the region?
KAW: The Saudis have this hype and these fears about religion. I think this fear [comes] from Saudi Arabia, from the Wahhabi, from their own ideology that is more a threat to Saudi Arabia than anything else … I think that [most of all] the Saudis are afraid that their children can turn against them. But the threat that Saudi Arabia talks about – the [one coming]…from Iran and other countries that believe in a different ideology - has no merit. Obama was right when he said that they have to take care of the internal issues before they can look at and start raising red flags here and there. The threat is from Saudi Arabia itself - what it has been doing with this ideology- that has spent hundreds of billions teaching this ideology that is spreading a lot of terrorism around the world.
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