Clashes in Mecca

Hours after polls closed in Saudi Arabia’s third and final round of quasi-democratic elections, presumed Islamic militants attacked a security checkpoint in the holy city of Mecca, sparking a gunbattle in which one police officer was killed and several wounded. Up to 15 police and civilian vehicels were also reported destroyed. The battle reportedly began when a group of men in a taxi attempted to run the checkpoint.(AP, AHN, April 21)

This is but the most recent outburst in a wave of unrest, which ominously comes just as speculation mounts that Saudi Arabia, which has been unable to bring down world petrol prices through boosted production, is approaching peak oil.