Someone had asked this question on another forum and I responded to it, I thought I would reply here as well. Many times Sunni/Wahabis will bring propaganda material about Iranian Shia pilgrims attacking the Kaaba
in 1987 but they are very keen on hiding what their Wahabi ancestors had carried out roughly a decade before that. After the 1979 Iranian revolution (which took years to accomplish), some geezers (led by a person who had studied under Bin Baaz at University) decided they would pull something like that off too in Makkah, some lad claimed to be the Mahdi [him
] so to bring peace and justice all over the world, the result was countless deaths in the holiest city in the world where even killing an insect is not allowed. The place became a hostage situation.
Some foreign observers thought in 1979 that traditionalism was no longer a strong force in Saudi Arabia. This idea was disproved when at least 500 dissidents invaded and seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca on November 20, 1979. The leader of the dissidents, Juhaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Saif al Utaiba, a Sunni, was from one of the foremost families of Najd. His grandfather had ridden with Abd al Aziz in the early decades of the century, and other family members were among the foremost of the Ikhwan. Juhaiman said that his justification was that the Al Saud had lost its legitimacy through corruption, ostentation, and mindless imitation of the West--virtually an echo of his grandfather's charge in 1921 against Abd al Aziz. Juhaiman's accusations against the Saudi monarchy closely resembled Ayatollah Ruhollah Musaui, Khomeini's diatribes against the Shah.
The Leader: 1979 Juhaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Saif al Utaiba
The Saudi leadership was stunned and initially paralyzed by the takeover. The Grand Mosque surrounds the Kaaba, symbol of the oneness of God and believed by Muslims to have been built by the Prophet Abraham. The courtyard is one of the sites where the hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam, is enacted. Because of the holiness of the place, no non-Muslims may enter the city of Mecca. Furthermore, all holy places come under a special injunction in Islam. It is forbidden to shed blood there or to deface or to pollute them in any way. Despite careful planning on Juhaiman's part, a guard was shot dead by one of the nervous dissidents. Such a desecration is a major violation under Islamic law and merits crucifixion for the convicted offender.
Juhaiman's party included women as well as men, other peninsular Arabs, and a few Egyptians. A score of the dissidents were unemployed graduates of the kingdom's seminary in Medina. They had provisions for the siege they expected as well as extensive supplies of arms.
The government's initial attempts to rout the dissidents were stymied. Before any military move could be authorized, the ulama had to issue a dispensation to allow the bearing of arms in a holy place. When the religious problems were solved by announcement of the ulama's ruling, logistical problems bogged down the efforts of the military and the national guard for several days. Finally, two weeks later the military effort succeeded, and the dissidents were dislodged. All the surviving males were eventually beheaded in the squares of four Saudi cities. Source
For more pictures and a lot of other information you can go here
Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria
We discuss the 1979 siege of Mecca and it’s implications for us today with the author of The Siege of Mecca, Yaroslav Trofimov. And a report on being a journalist in Iraq.