Shocking Footage Of Saudi Siege Against Own Citizens

The Saudi regime is in the midst of an extreme and brutal crackdown against its own citizenry in the country's Eastern province - a situation now spiraling out of control with rising civilian deaths, entire neighborhoods turned to rubble, and new reports that water and electricity have been cut to the now completely besieged town of Al-Awamiya. Though local activists continue to upload shocking ground level videos to social media revealing that entire districts have been leveled, international and US media have remained largely silent.

Tensions have been simmering in the heavily Shia populated Qatif governate throughout the past year, especially after the January execution of prominent Shia cleric and Al-Awamiya native Nimr al-Nimr. Additionally, 14 Shia citizens, among them young Mujtaba al-Sweikat - a student enrolled at Western Michigan University - currently await execution upon the signature of King Salman. The torture and mass trial of the group, charged with "protest-related" crimes has further inflamed tensions in the region. Large protests against the Saudi monarchy and security services have been frequent in Qatif going all the way back to the start of the so-called "Arab Spring" - though major international media outlets have tended to ignore such protests occurring under US/UK friendly regimes.

This was especially the case when in 2011 hundreds of Saudi tanks crossed the King Fahd Causeway to quell a popular uprising against neighboring Bahrain's Sunni monarchy. Western media treated the event as a relatively minor hiccup, with some reports even subtly framing Saudi actions as actually motivated by the protection of civilians from Bahraini security forces, while in reality it was a massive show of force pitting tanks against civilians in order to preserve the embattled Bahraini autocratic regime.

This week, things have escalated dramatically as Saudi authorities have concentrated a barrage of fire on Awamiya's four-hundred year old walled historic Al-Mosara neighborhood, including reported use of air power, heavy artillery, RPGs, snipers and armored assault vehicles in the area. Earlier this year the Saudi regime announced plans to demolish the neighborhood and hand it over to private developers in a kind of Saudi version of "eminent domain"; however, the presence of Shia militants hiding amidst its narrow roads and concealed alleyways appears the be the real motive for razing the district. Though sporadic fighting has occurred throughout the summer, the siege began in the last week of July when bulldozers and armored vehicles poured into the town to initiate demolition while security forces simultaneously attempted to root out Shia militants. Multiple Middle East based news outlets reported at least 5 civilians killed during the initial entry of Saudi forces - online activist accounts are now reporting many dozens slain since the start of the recent incursion.

Screenshot of Al Mayadeen News broadcast footage purporting to show a Saudi soldier firing into Awamiya town from a rooftop.

Before and during the start of the siege local citizens were promised government-sponsored "relocation", though activists describe it as a concealed sectarian-based cleansing of the Shia population, which has been historically persecuted by the Sunni Wahhabi state. Regional news outlets have published footage which they say reveals active sectarian anti-Shia cleansing on the part of Saudi forces currently underway:

Photo purporting to show destruction in Awamiya. Photo source: Albawaba News citing activist social media.

An activist originally from Awamiya named Ameen Nemer told Middle East Eye that there is a conscious effort on the part of the authorities to forcibly change the identity of the town:

What I see from the first day there is a collective punishment... there is a plan for forced displacement. It has nothing to do with Al-Mosara and development, it has to do with punishing this town for being vocal for calling for rights, calling for reforms since 2011.

press release issued in May by the UN Human Rights Commission responded to previously announced Saudi plans to demolish residential areas for commercial development. The UN statement hints that the town's identity is indeed what is at stake here:

The UN experts warned the development plan for the Al-Masora quarter threatens the historical and cultural heritage of the town with irreparable harm, and may result in the forced eviction of numerous people from their businesses and residences.

UN experts seemed to have forewarned that the the whole initiative would involve forceful evacuation using extreme coercive measures, yet stopped short of condemning the plans outright:

Residents have been pressured in many ways, including through power cuts, to vacate their homes and businesses without adequate alternative resettlement options, leaving them at best with insufficient compensation and at worst, with nowhere to go...


It appears that the demolition has been announced without any meaningful consultation with the residents, and without having considered less damaging alternatives, like restoration, or adequate notice informing them about the demolition plans.

Gunfire as government bulldozers destroy civilian infrastructure: ground footage of Saudi authorities razing Shia neighborhoods in the country's eastern province. Some videos are reportedly being uploaded to personal social media pages by Saudi soldiers themselves to brag about their role in the siege, after which the footage is culled by opposition activists.

And now the assault has reached a violent crescendo. On Thursday Al-Masdr News reported that Saudi regime forces fired upon a civilian bus as it tried to flee Awamiya, killing the bus driver (other unconfirmed reports further mention the wounding of women and children). A Reuters report, however, presented conflicting accounts of the incident, while also attempting to justify the whole brutal siege of Awamiya merely as Saudi security attempting to apprehend "gunmen behind attacks on police." While details and the accuracy of various reports of atrocities are unclear, with activists citing dozens of civilians killed at the hands of the government and state-aligned media claiming Shia fighters have killed multiple police, lack of independent media access has made assessing the day to day situation difficult.

This week, Beirut-based Al Mayadeen News was the first Arabic language satellite broadcaster to feature video footage coming out of besieged Awamiya. The report references military jets flying over the town and shows a uniformed man firing an RPG into an urban area. Saudi opposition activists say the man is a Saudi soldier. View the report with English subtitles here:

Meanwhile, Middle East Eye has obtained a document which activists say is being placed on homes in and around the besieged town. It is a property seizure notice ordering residents to relocate and is stamped by the Saudi government's National Joint Counterterrorism Command (NJCC). It gives instructions on relocation procedures - Middle East Eye cited activists as saying displaced families have yet to be rehoused.

Requisition order stamped by the Saudi National Joint Counterterrorism Command (NJCC) and obtained by Middle East Eye.

Though still not widely reported in US press, the Canadian government has come under fire for providing armored military vehicles that the Saudis may be using in their crackdown against civilians. In 2013 Canada struck its own record breaking deal - worth over $13 billion - to supply Saudi Arabia with an undisclosed number of Light Armored Vehicles manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS).

Last week Canada's The Globe and Mail published an investigative report which found that, "video footage and photos have surfaced on social media allegedly showing the Islamic kingdom using Canadian weaponized equipment against Saudi civilians" specifically as part of the Awamiya assault which resulted in civilian deaths. The report confirmed, based on expert analysis, that Canadian vehicles are being used - though images analyzed showed Gurkha RPVs, made by Terradyne Armored Vehicles (based in Newmarket, Ontario) - and not the General Dynamics vehicles of the 2013 contract. It appears other private companies in Canada have been making their own deals with the Saudi government - all of which are now coming under scrutiny.

Footage out of Awamiya shows Canadian made armored vehicles in civilian neighborhoods.

The report prompted a response by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: "We are looking at these claims very seriously... and have immediately launched a review". Various Canadian parliamentarians have urged the current Liberal government to cancel the contract on the grounds that it allegedly violates Canada's weapons export-control rules. Rights monitoring groups also weighed in. Amnesty International Canada secretary-general Alex Neve called on the government to stop all armored vehicle exports, saying:

Indications that Canadian-made armored vehicles are perhaps being utilized as Saudi forces mobilize in the east of the country highlight how crucial it is that the government intervene and put an immediate end to the Canadian/Saudi LAV deal.

The US and UK remain Saudi Arabia's largest suppliers of advanced weaponry and have a long history of turning a blind eye to human rights abuses. Ironically, the kingdom's increasingly restive Shia population is concentrated in an eastern region which produces much of the world's oil. In 2012, a pipeline explosion possibly at the hands of Shia militants in the same region, caused the price of crude to momentarily rocket upward on fears that the "Arab Spring" had entered the oil-rich province.

It's been widely acknowledged that since Saudi Arabia's founding, Shia citizens have been marginalized on religious grounds by the official Wahhabi state religion which sees them as heretics in league with Iranian interests, especially since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Saudi Shia communities have been perpetual historic flashpoint areas witnessing cycles of protests, shootings, mass detentions, and long-term economic neglect. Demonstrations have long been banned throughout all of Saudi Arabia - a fact rarely highlighted in Western press reports. 

Currently, unconfirmed reports issued by Iran-aligned media claim Yemeni opposition fighters have sacked Saudi bases and small outposts in the southwestern Jizan region, inflicting troop casualties on Saudi soil for the first time. While Qatif in the east spirals out of control, blowback from Saudi Arabia's two year long air war on Yemen is looking increasingly likely.

As we've reported recently in Saudi Arabia’s March Towards Civil War combined tensions and fissures at multiple levels of the Saudi state, including within the royal family itselfare nearing a breaking point. Could this latest round of extreme measures against Shia dissent - which appear increasingly desperate and are now going public - mark the beginning of a permanently fractured kingdom?


takeaction Fri, 08/04/2017 - 14:00 Permalink

I tell ya.....seeing the footage from Iraq, Syria...and Saudi Arabia...these shit holes........We have it good here in the USA.  Especially here in the Northwest.  Having all the money in the world still does not make up for living in a 110 degree Sand Pit. I'm good....

Lore froze25 (not verified) Fri, 08/04/2017 - 15:45 Permalink

All so-called "monarchy" is perverse and archaic, a very expensive trick used by self-appointed psychopaths to rationalize special privilege and pampering from cradle to grave on the pitiful basis that they come from a 'speshul' womb. It's all a sick joke.  The Peerage is an abomination, long overdue for abolition, along with the so-called 'common wealth.'  Systematic milking of the public teat should have been halted generations ago.  All the imbalances that we see today start and end at the Top. 

In reply to by froze25 (not verified)

FreddieX Muddy1 Fri, 08/04/2017 - 16:16 Permalink’s Liberal government finalizes $15 billion Saudi arms dealBy Carl Bronski20 April 2016In the latest example of the unbridled hypocrisy and prevarication that is the stock-in-trade of all parties in the Canadian parliament, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his minister of foreign affairs, Stephane Dion, have been caught out lying shamelessly about Canada’s $15 billion arms deal with the brutal, US-backed Saudi monarchy....The efforts of the opposition parties to criticize the government for its role in the Saudi arms deal were no less disingenuous than the Liberals’ claims their hands were tied. Perhaps most stomach-turning was the performance of NDP leader Thomas Mulcair. Rising in parliament, he directly accused the Liberals of lying about “who signed what and when in the Saudi arms deal.” With quivering finger, he went on to excoriate the brutal practices of the Saudi regime.Only last autumn, during the federal election campaign, Mulcair and his party had been caught with their own pants down over the very same issue.During a French-language debate between party leaders, Mulcair briefly challenged Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his government’s multibillion-dollar Saudi arms deal. Harper did not deign to address the matter directly whilst Trudeau studiously avoided all comment. However, Mulcair’s tentative foray over the matter did draw the ire of Unifor official Fergo Berto, union area director for the General Dynamics Land Systems plant in London, Ontario, that is building the LAVs. Berto rebuked Mulcair for publicizing the matter. “We asked the NDP to not make this an issue, that it be kept under wraps,” he complained....During the election campaign the Conservative Harper and the Liberal Trudeau were no less duplicitous. Harper brushed off questions about supplying arms to the despotic Saudi regime by denying that the deal involved arms at all. The LAVs were simply “transport vehicles.” Trudeau concurred. “These are not arms, these are jeeps,” he said of armoured personnel carriers that are equipped with 25mm cannon and additional ports for anti-tank and anti-aircraft rocket launchers.When reporters pointed out that he was mistaken, Trudeau then incorrectly opined that in any case, it was strictly “a deal between a manufacturing company here in Canada and Saudi Arabia.” As a matter of record, the arms contract was secured thanks only to strong support from Canada’s government, including the largest ever loan guarantees from the federal government-owned Canadian Commercial Corporation. Also demands NDP keep silent on Canada-Saudi Arabia arms deal 

In reply to by Muddy1

waspwench froze25 (not verified) Fri, 08/04/2017 - 18:40 Permalink

The US should stop selling arms to the house of Saud and leave the country to sort out it's internal squabbles.   We can save ourselves a lot of trouble and we will still  be able to buy oil from whomever emerges as the victor.   Come to think of it, a very high wall around the entire feudal, barbaric Middle East would be a very good idea.

In reply to by froze25 (not verified)

Freddie Manthong Fri, 08/04/2017 - 15:34 Permalink

The Saudis always been zio puppets.   Lawrence of Arabia aka TE Lawrence was an Mi6 agent for the Rothscilds.Funny how they probably hired British director Davd Lean to gloritt and also the Reds aka Bolsheviks taking over Russia see law or Arabia d Dr. Zhivago-stein.Total white wash of the Red Bolshevik non-Christians murdering 25 millioin Russian Christians.The English versions of Solzynisyn's books whitewash who the Bolsheviks were.  They murdered Czar royal family in the basement.  No Christians Reds were there to muder the children.  The*ds did it. 

In reply to by Manthong

LightBulb18 JohninMK Fri, 08/04/2017 - 16:07 Permalink

If they wanted to learn to lie, to be hipocryts and how to oppress people while censoring it in the news they would learn it from the dishonest american people and their government. Israel is in the spotlight constantly, but it doesnt suprise me that A Jew hating anti semite would also lie to promote his fascist supremacy thats threatened by Jewish economic freedom passing his people by. In God I trust.

In reply to by JohninMK

Freddie froze25 (not verified) Fri, 08/04/2017 - 15:18 Permalink

Go to Google Imagaes and search for Damascus Christmas.  Christmas lights everywhere.The USSA INc - a Rothschild bank holding company and serfdom - commited genocide against Syria, iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan aka Heroin Inc., Serbia, Western Ukraine and the list goes on.  Vietnam for drugs and defense contractor and LBJ money too.These people should be up for war crimes for their mass miurder.The Rothschilds were also there for that phony USA INc "Civil" War.  It was all about money, looting and taking over the south for European banksters.  The South textile business was hurting the Rothschild companies.  

In reply to by froze25 (not verified)

SmackDaddy LastLegion Fri, 08/04/2017 - 14:36 Permalink

Happy belated Tisha B'Av, Rabbi Shekelstein. I hope you're enjoying your current stay in the Jewnited States of Weimerica.  What more can we do to please you digusting, blood-thirsty jews?  We already fire-bombed our German brothers to ashes in WWII, gave you Israel, and now attack whoever you tell us.....Leon Degrelle- We dreamed of something marvelous: 

In reply to by LastLegion

Freddie takeaction Fri, 08/04/2017 - 15:13 Permalink

Syrias and Iraq were pretty mice places before the Bush/Clinton/Obama - neocons zioested the place. Add Libya and the Ukraine to the list.  Your avatar Putin risked Russian lives to save innocent Syrians including Syrian Christians from these Nudelman CIA State Dept Bolshevik Yinon zio monsters. I would love to see Hizbullah come in an librate the Saudi people from the Saudi Royal Cohen family.   I had a friend who had some dealings with Saudi military officers. Pathetic dwa, effeminate switch hitters with wives but when they are away from the wives they hold hands.  Creepy little fucks.Hizbullah would kick tasses in a week. Hizbullah, Russiana dn Iran are in Syria propecting ALL Syrians including Christians. Meanwhile - the USSA Inc a Rothschild banking corp has Bibi's Congress killg Christains in the middle east, Balkans and Ukraine.  Evil fux.  

In reply to by takeaction

BigCumulusClouds Fri, 08/04/2017 - 14:08 Permalink

The Saudis have been doing this to the Yemenese for the past two years with US and British support.  The Royal family is like so many other monarchies: just a bunch of lazy worthless rich fucks who could care less about anyone but themselves.  And when they do care, it is only to help enhance there own wealth.  That is they need slaves to keep themselves in power.

booboo BigCumulusClouds Fri, 08/04/2017 - 14:31 Permalink

The Royals will be short lived, this is just a symptom of a failing empire, our children will be fight a retreating battle soon much like the German, being surrounded at stalingrad and what managed to escape fought running backwards until they were finally snuffed out in berlin. you have been warned, keep your children out of the grasp of a ever increasing desperate oligarchy. Ridding our own country of these bastard arm chair warriors will prove much easier but go ahead and wait, the easy road has driverless taxi's so you can sleep your way to a bullet in the back of the head.

In reply to by BigCumulusClouds

Friedrich not Salma Fri, 08/04/2017 - 14:06 Permalink

Everyone tells me that can never happen here in the USA. OUR military would never do that to us. Kinda like what my Venezuelan friends said about their army guys. Kinda like what I used to say about our boys in blue.