Feb 15, 2016
Saudi Arabia, the United States’ “best friend” in the Arab world, began the year 2016 by executing 47 opponents across the country in just one day. Some were shot by a firing squad, others were beheaded. In many cases their dead bodies were crucified and publicly displayed for several days. There is not much to choose between the Saudi royals’ executions and those propagated on social media by ISIS!
The Saudi dictatorship was careful to present these executions as part of the Western “war on terror” by portraying some of those executed as members of Al-Qaeda. But several among the 47 were known to have been prosecuted due to their involvement in the country’s little-known “Arab Spring” – a long series of protests, between 2011 and 2013, in the eastern Saudi province of Qatif. Among the protestors who were executed was one of the most prominent voices of opposition to the regime, the Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
The province of Qatif is home to most of the country’s Shia minority (close to 25% of the population) which is the victim of systematic social discrimination. The Sunni rulers of Saudi Arabia have always considered this minority a threat. This is not so much for religious reasons, but because, due to this discrimination, increasing numbers of Shias have supported secessionist demands. And since most of the country’s oil reserves happen to be in Qatif, this is something that the Saudi rulers just cannot afford.
Saudi Arabia’s western allies have long chosen to look the other way.
Nor does the U.S. give a damn about the Saudi aggression against poverty-stricken Yemen, which has caused more instability in the region and has resulted, since it began last March, in 6,000 victims, tens of thousands wounded and 2.5 million refugees.
The Saudi regime fanned the flames of the Syrian civil war, by sponsoring various jihadist militias – including ISIS, in its early days. Nonetheless, the U.S. portrays Saudi Arabia as a “factor of peace” and “key partner” in the future political settlement of the Syrian crisis!
The truth is that the U.S. is determined to carry on using the Saudi rulers as its regional police, because of their “effectiveness” in crushing any form of resistance from the population.