What next after acts of violence in Qatif?

Hassan Al Mustafa
Hassan Al Mustafa
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The bullets which aimed at the former member of the municipal council in Qatif, Engineer Nabih al-Barahim, were not stray bullets. They were intended to terrorize and were aimed at a specific victim who was targeted because of his social and political views. The person holding the weapon sees the “other” as an aggressor against his lifestyle and belief system and hence tries to assert his views through violence and coercion.

Acts of violence by outlawed groups in Qatif, and its suburbs, were not aimed only at physically eliminating their nemesis but also to prevent those from criticizing the reign of terror that they seek to impose on society. In a way, it is aimed “to rape the other of his personality, and identity,” as asserted by John Miller.

The armed assault on engineer al-Barahim was followed by threat against an active religious figure, Sheikh Jaafar al-Rebh. He is known for his public views in support of civil peace and prohibiting the use of arms. Yet, this is not the first time such an incident has happened and it won’t be the last.

I discussed with friends the seriousness of the security situation and the critical stage we find ourselves in. I also expressed fear for the fate of al-Barahim especially considering the fact that he and his relatives have been subjected to physical assaults in the past.

Acts of violence by outlawed groups in Qatif were not aimed only at physically eliminating their nemesis but also to prevent those from criticizing the reign of terror that they seek to impose on society

Hassan Al Mustafa

State of chaos

Weapons pointed at citizens and security personnel in Qatif will not lead to any political change, social development or human rights accomplishments. It will rather threaten civil peace, and create a state of chaos. This will, in turn, be exploited by “terrorist” cells to undermine any reforms or modernization efforts.

To borrow the words of the Lebanese politician Walid Jumblatt, we ask violent groups: armed assaults, where to? I do not think these outlaws have a clear or appropriate answer. They have become a burden on the community in Qatif. They are indulging in acts of terrorism, just like ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Violence is not a menace facing Qatif alone. This is a challenge in some Saudi cities in which extremists of different persuasions and backgrounds, share one goal, to undermine the authority of the state and threaten its existence. The problem of violence in the province of Qatif, specifically in the village of Al-Awamiyah, is not impossible to resolve.

However, it needs serious persuasion and cooperation between the people and civil society organizations and official bodies to develop an action plan to address the problem in all its dimensions.

This article was first published in Al Riyadh.
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Hassan AlMustafa is Saudi journalist with interest in middle east and Gulf politics. His writing focuses on social media, Arab youth affairs and Middle Eastern societal matters. His twitter handle is @halmustafa.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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