Update: This article was written 2 weeks before the death of the Saudi leader
On Jan 23, (Friday morning, local time), Saudi King, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud, died. His half brother, Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, ascended to the throne as expected. He promptly assured the international community that policies, alliances and contracts would continue as before.
The Saudi government is publicly standing with France in condemning the slaughter of editors and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, a satire magazine. They were gunned down in the name of defending the prophet’s honor.
Of course, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Iraq are waging war against extremist group Islamic State with expanding air and ground support from a US-led international coalition. Yet, I am sickened by the irony of their “outrage”.
The Saudis have no compunctions in savagely beating Raif Badawi for the crime of promoting free speech and debate. They have no problem beating women who drive a car or who travel without a male relative. We must take stock of our affiliations. It’s time to run with those who share our ideals and who appreciate a common humanity. The Saudi royals are neither just, moral or humane.
The fact that so many in the west consider the Saudi kingdom to be moderate or “a friend” is both ironic and a travesty. These are barbarians with starkly warped ideals. They are as backward and ruthless as those who slaughtered the journalists at Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Both groups respond to free thought and debate with righteous violence.
It’s time for western governments and NGOs to recognize that the Saudis are no more evolved than the Ayatollahs in Iran or the Imams and Muftis who promote and export Sharia Law the word over.
Consider the relationship of China with the US and Canada. The Chinese are a major trading partner, but few would suggest that this partnership indicates a shared kinship of political ideology or compatible individual freedoms. China’s government may change some day, but for now, modernization is limited to their economy and with a slightly heightened awareness of environmental issues. Democratic process and Personal freedoms be damned.
Like China, the Saudis are our temporary trading partner. We must not confuse trade or even military cooperation with friendship and we must constantly reevaluate the limits of our business and financial arrangements. Unlike China, Saudi Arabia bankrolls extremism and exports intolerant ideology that destabilizes the global community. They are no better than ISIL, Boka Haram or the most radical of Sharia-inspired zealots. The Saudi government is barely shy of being an enemy to every free democracy. I am not against constructive engagement. But we should also understand an ideological adversary and maintain a comfortable distance.
- Saudi Arabia Is a US Ally, Not a Friend – (NY Times)
- Rand Paul calls for Saudi boycott. Gang-raped girl sentenced to lashes
- Is Islam a Religion of Tolerance?
- stopradicalislam.org: Tactics Undermine Noble Purpose
- Colossal PR Failure: Taliban effort to silence Malala
- French air strikes in Mali: Noble effort to stem a cancer
- US soldier to be jailed for self defense
- The “Ground Zero” Mosque