The Gulf: Shi'Ites: Poorer Cousins

On Sept. 30, 1988, shortly after Friday noon prayers, four young Shi'ite men were beheaded by royal decree in the Saudi town of Dammam. They had been convicted of blowing up fuel storage tanks at the Sadaf petrochemical facility in Jubail. The capture of the Shi'ites ended a six-month investigation that imposed virtual martial law around the coastal towns of Tarut and Qatif -- the strategic, oil-rich area of Saudi Arabia's Eastern province, where most of the country's 300,000 Shi'ites live.

The aftershocks from the Jubail blast and firestorm are still being felt. Fearful of sabotage, Saudi Aramco, the country's national...

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