Prof. Joshua Teitelbaum
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On December 16, the Saudi city of Medina witnessed severe clashes between Sunnis and Shiites. The clashes occurred at the time of the annual Ashura gathering, when Shiites commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Although the local press referred only to anonymous mobs, it was clear from international reporting and Saudi Shiite websites that this was a sectarian riot.
Posted in Persian Gulf on April 25, 2011
While unrest has rattled the Middle East in recent months, Saudi Arabia has taken all necessary measures to maintain stability within its own borders. Its success in doing so stems from two factors: oil wealth and tradition. The royal family has appeased its citizens by pumping more money into the economy and into their pockets. At the same time, religious inclinations as well as a lack of tradition of mass political activity have ingrained in most of the Saudi people a sense of loyalty toward its leadership.