In the background of this, anti-regime protests continue to erupt at regular intervals in several areas inside Saudi Arabia with demands for the release of all political prisoners from detention and chants for freedom. Protest rallies are banned in the country yet demonstrations have even reached the holy city of Mecca and numbers are observed to be increasing.
Interview with Mr. Ali al-Ahmad, Director of IGA in Washington about this issue.
Q: What is going on? We’re look at the second day in a row of protests in Buraidah, Mecca Qatif, Riyadh... and of course the numbers of people from the videos that we have seem to be much more than before?
al-Ahmad: Absolutely, I’ve said before that 2013 protests are going to increase in number and the frequency of the protest movements in Saudi Arabia and the geographical locations.
We are seeing now for the first time the protests in Mecca and we will see more of that agenda in the coming few days and we will see more of these protests in terms of frequency and geographical coverage.
Every factor of a revolution for protest movements inside Saudi Arabia is present and increasing everyday - the corruption, the oppression, the arrests, the killings, the failure of the ruling class in Saudi Arabia, the royal class, to deliver anything to the people in that country in terms of economics or participation in their government.
So, you are seeing really the prefect storm gathering in that country and 2013 is going to be a critical year especially if we see some support for that movement from regional countries or Western countries because the biggest hurdle now in the face of protests in that country is regional support. These people they need financial aid to continue with their cause.
Q: If we want to look at what is going around Saudi Arabia in terms of what they co-creating in their influence and support such as what they have done in Bahrain, such what they are doing in other countries in their engagement - Shouldn’t they be focusing more on what’s going on inside the kingdom, I mean, can they be all over the place all at the same time?
al-Ahmad: Who are you talking about?
al-Ahmad: Saudi Arabia? Of course. Look, the Saudi government is using regional conflict and supporting its brothers outside be it in Syria, Egypt, Bahrain and Tunisia even... They are trying to really occupy their population with outside issues.
The challenge here or the problem here is that in that country there are a lot of people who are willing to protest, but the problem they face in fact it is 50 years in fact that the people in that country have been fed up, but they have lacked, so far, a regional sponsor and Western countries have stood as a barrier.
Every Arab Spring revolution had regional sponsors and international support and so you can see beneath that there is no way a regional or any protest movement can succeed at its own resources. You need regional support.