24 August 2015
Discontent is bubbling over among the majority Shi’a population in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, home to the kingdom’s major oil fields and petrochemical industry. Disgruntlement is no less in the Iranian province of Khuzestan, where up to 90% of Iran’s oil reserves are located. Iranian Arabs, who account for approximately half of the four million inhabitants of Khuzestan, chafe at perceived cultural and ethnic abuse and repression.
The fact that dissatisfied minorities populate the oil-rich regions of Iran and Saudi Arabia creates an ironic parallel, in which in the rivalry between two of the Middle East’s larger powers often amounts to the pot calling the kettle black. Rather than recognising that protests and mounting incidents of violence are the result of government failure to address legitimate grievances, both Iran and Saudi Arabia have blamed each other for the unrest in their strategic backyards.
… James M. Dorsey is a Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and co-director of the Institute of Fan Culture of the University of Würzburg.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 24/08/2015