Country Risk

Small-arms attacks likely to increase in Saudi Arabia's oil-rich Eastern province

26 February 2014

Key Points

  • While protests have been ongoing in the predominantly Shia villages in the Eastern Province since 2011, small-arms attacks targeting security forces have been isolated and rare.
  • Incidents involving exchanges of fire with security forces have increased in 2014, indicating that militants have improved access to firearms, signalling a growing risk of radical Shia opposition factions resorting to terrorism against the Saudi state.
  • The risk of shooting attacks targeting security forces, government employees and officials, foreign diplomats and expatriates is highest in al-Qatif, al-Awamiyah, Saihat Tarout, and Abha in the oil-rich Eastern Province, but energy production is unlikely to be affected in the next year.

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