Thursday 07 Oct 2021 | 21:23 | SYDNEY
Thursday 07 Oct 2021 | 21:23 | SYDNEY

Arabian Gulf: Shi'a shenanigans


Rodger Shanahan


27 February 2009 09:52

Just as one issue involving international Shi'a tensions in the Gulf has been resolved, another internal dispute has arisen.

The latest episode of Iranian irredentist claims over Bahrain (discussed in this post) appears to have been resolved with a suitable visit to Bahrain by the Iranian interior minister conveying a message from President Ahmedinejad to Bahrain's King Hamad. The beauty of disputes between countries who speak different languages was that this issue, like many others before it, was blamed on 'misinterpretation' of remarks.
Further west, a dispute between Saudi Shi'a piligrims and Saudi mutawwa (religious police) in Medina spilled over into the the Saudi Shi'a heartland in the eastern province, across the causeway from neighbouring Bahrain. Although some arrests were made, the protests were non-violent. 

These were minor incidents but serve as examples of the tensions that exist below the surface in both these communities regarding the sometimes contested notions of national identity and religious affiliation.