Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

Australia’s Refugee policies: (1) women without male escorts; (2) male sports stars

We learned only this week that in 2014 the Tony Abbott government, in contravention of international obligations, authorized border officials to turn back to Saudi Arabia any Saudi Arabian woman arriving without a male escort and who, under questioning, gave indications that she would seek asylum in Australia. Further details are addressed in an interview with an Amnesty International representative from about 40 minutes into ABC’s The Drum.

If you are male and fled torture in Bahrain and happen to be a famous soccer player everyone right up to the Prime Minister will be calling for your return to Australia. Which is a good thing, of course. But inconsistent application of goodness…., barbaric.

 

A Balanced U.S. Policy in the Middle East

It’s nice to see some balance and even-handedness by the U.S. in the Middle East at last. Some of us had been somewhat concerned that the U.S. was the lackey of the state of Israel but recent events have served well to remind us that the U.S. is just as willing to advance the interests of the “the Arabs”, too.

Trump’s Saudi First Foreign Policy Strikes Again (by Daniel Larison)

citing

US ‘slams the brakes’ on UN Yemen ceasefire resolution (by )

The US has “slammed the brakes on” a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a limited ceasefire and increased humanitarian aid in Yemen over concerns about angering Saudi Arabia, two sources tell CNN.

Trump’s outrageous Saudi propaganda statement from last week confirmed that he would happily lie to defend Saudi Arabia from any and all criticism, and now he is shielding them from international scrutiny and pressure at the U.N. He is not just serving as a Saudi mouthpiece, but acts as their lackey as well.

Heroic Evangelicals Meet the King of Saudi Arabia

This story reminds me of my old Worldwide Church of God days when we were thanking God for opening doors for God’s end-time Apostle to go before the leaders, kings, presidents, prime ministers of the nations to preach the gospel, to bear witness of the good news of Jesus Christ and his soon-coming return to this earth to judge all evil-doers and exalt the righteous who would rule this earth in the “wonderful world tomorrow”.

Trump’s evangelical advisers meet with Saudi Crown Prince and discuss Jamal Khashoggi’s murder . . . . The Washington Post

Except that that “end-time Apostle”, Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA), never preached that gospel to them but always explained to his flock that he had first of all to establish credibility with these leaders, in effect to show he was not some street corner nutter preaching the end is nigh, but that the time would come when he would be in a position to preach the gospel “in all its power” to these leaders, and hence to the world’s nations. Because, you see, when God said the gospel would be preached to all nations, one had to understand that in the Bible the king was synonymous with the nation, so one did not need to preach to all the poor populace and give them all a chance to repent; the apostle only needed to preach to the leader to fulfill the prophecy.

But notice how these evangelicals are not mere preachers, they are advisors to the President of the United States! And look at their PR statement …. how powerful….

PR executive A. Larry Ross, who was in the group, told the Post that the question of human rights and Khashoggi were the first the group raised with the prince.

“We even returned to it a second time later in the discussion because of its importance, and were encouraged by the Crown Prince’s candor in his response,” Ross wrote.

“We came in the spirit and name of Jesus, to lift up His name. We don’t judge and hope not to offend, but rather to demonstrate a great faith in God’s love and leave the results to Him. In the pr>ocess, we were able to explain the meaning of an Evangelical and what we believe,” Ross wrote the Post.

Can’t you just imagine how it went? I’m sure it was something just like out of the Bible, like this, for instance, after the king of Israel’s wife killed the innocent Naboth:

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,“Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who is in Samaria; behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take possession. And you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Have you killed and also taken possession?”’ And you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: “In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your own blood.”’”  (1 Kings 21:17-19)

Of course it didn’t. Somehow I cannot imagine any of those evangelicals putting their own lives at risk by publicly denouncing the crimes of those whose company can enhance their prestige.

No, prestige will be enhanced if they can tell their followers that they were witnesses of the gospel of Jesus Christ, “lifting up his name” (whatever that means) and demonstrating just how godly they are by “not judging”.

HWA and Mubarak of Egypt

At last — consistency of policy between Obama and Trump

It is reassuring to see that Trump is not totally opposed to all of Obama’s policies and that he is toeing the line of previous administrations in maintaining a strong supportive relationship with “strong leaders who keep the region safe for American business and military interests.” The butchering of a single journalist by Saudi Arabian authorities calls for a response no different in substance from the long-term reaction to the massacre of 600 peaceful protesters and murders of several journalists by Egypt’s godfather five years ago, or Israel’s ongoing killings of Palestinians — all unfortunate events that sometimes get a little out of hand despite the best motives and intent to maintain peace and stability. Trump may be acting unconventionally with traditional allies but at least there is consistency where it really counts.

 

What will it take?

Lord, will you stop the USA from buying oil from Saudi Arabia to save the planet to climate and civilization catastrophe?

Unthinkable.

Lord, will you stop the USA from selling arms to Saudi Arabia to stop the killing of Yemenis?

Unthinkable.

Lord, will you stop the USA from selling arms to Saudi Arabia to protest the killing of a single journalist with a high profile in the West?

That sounds serious. I’ll think about that one, but only if he was not killed by accident while being interrogated.

 

 

 

Masters of Propaganda — tutors of Saudi Arabia, alumni include Hitler

It has been a trying couple of weeks for Saudi Arabia. First, a tweet from an account associated with the Saudi government appeared to threaten Canada with a 9/11-style attack if they continued to “stick their nose where it doesn’t belong.” . . . . .

And then, not long afterwards, the Saudi government beheaded and crucified on a public pole a Burmese man found guilty of murder. . . . . .

Then, on August 9, a Saudi jet targeted and destroyed a school bus full of children in Yemen. . . . . .

How does one manage the “optics” for a country that behaves this way? First, you need to recruit as many public relations men and lobbyists as possible. This is exactly what Saudi Arabia has done . . . . . hiring some of the best PR and government relations firms in Washington and London.

These firms know how to mold public opinion. They are heirs to the father of the dark art of “public relations,” Edward Bernays . . . . .

(Michael Horton in The American Conservative, Aug 14, 2018.)

Which brings us to how the United States in particular became the world’s leading practitioner of propaganda.

Contrary to common assumptions, propaganda plays an important role — and certainly a more covert and sophisticated role — in tech­nologically advanced democratic societies, where the maintenance of the existing power and privileges are vulnerable to popular opinion.

In contrast, under authoritarian regimes power and privilege are not open and vulnerable to dissenting public opinion.

— Alex Carey, Taking the Risk Out of Democracy (p.12)

A more anodyne term for propaganda is “business and corporate public relations”.

In the fifty years 1890 to 1940:

Least experience of democratic institutions Limited experience of democratic institutions Longest experience of liberal, democratic institutions
Italy & Japan Germany England & USA
Least competent propaganda Nationalist Socialist propaganda better organised, more vociferous, more versatile Public relations propaganda is the most highly coloured and ambidextrous, more-so in USA than England

Compare the Soviet Union:

One area of social science that is ordinarily assumed to be useful to a total­itarian regime is research on social and political attitudes … Ironically, psychology and the other social sciences have been employed least in the Soviet Union for precisely those purposes for which Americans popularly think psychology would be used in a totalitarian state political propa­ganda and the control of human behaviour.

Democracy must be seen to be done, but the will of the elite powers-that-be must be protected and advanced. Hence, after Edward Bernays another early propaganda theorist, Harry Lasswell, as early as 1938 wrote that in the modern world more could be done by illusion than coercion and that a professional class had emerged for that purpose:

The modern world is busy developing a corps of men who do nothing but study the ways and means of changing minds or binding minds to their convictions. Propaganda … is developing its practitioners, its teachers and its theories. It is to be expected that governments will rely increasingly upon the professional propagandists for advice and aid.

An early illustration of “democratic propaganda” read more »

So why did militants turn to attack the West? — The Saudi Arabia driver

This post follows on from The Origins of Islamic Militancy. This time I change pace and copy a small section from pages 92 to 94 of Jason Burke’s book, The New Threat: The Past, Present, and Future of Islamic Militancy (2015). I have a lot of time for Burke’s books on this topic. He is one of the few to get out into the field, sometimes at risk to his own life, to talk with terrorists and their associates. Formatting and bolding are mine.

So why did militants turn to attack the West? One important reason is to be found in Saudi Arabia.

Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud
Abdulaziz ibn Saud

As a state, Saudi Arabia owed its foundation to the alliance of the battle-hardened latter-day followers of Mohammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab, who had preached an austere, puritanical interpretation of Islam in the Arabian peninsula since the late eighteenth century, and an ambitious, capable tribal leader called Abdulaziz ibn Saud.

In 1979 came three events that shook the Saudi monarchy:

  • the seizure of the grand mosque in Mecca by a group of local extremists,
  • the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets
  • and the Iranian revolution. 

Each involved a different enemy — violent local militants who branded their rulers apostates, atheist Communists and Shia Islamists — but each revealed a new and potentially deadly threat to the reign of the house of Saud.

One response of the kingdom’s rulers was to use a substantial amount of the vast wealth generated by their oil revenues to expand the proselytisation of the Wahhabi creed, one of the most rigorous, intolerant and conservative existing in Islam, throughout the Sunni Muslim world. This had been a policy for some time but now the effort was massively expanded in an updated though much more far-reaching version of the original strategy that had brought them to power sixty years before. The aim was to reinforce their own religious credentials at home while increasing their influence overseas, allowing them to reassert their claim to both religious and political leadership in the Islamic world.

Over the ensuing decades,

  • tens of thousands of religious schools, mosques, Islamic universities and religious centres were built worldwide. 
  • Hundreds of thousands of scholarships to Saudi universities were offered and stipends paid to preachers.
  • Tens of millions of copies of holy texts and, more importantly, deeply conservative interpretations of them, were published and distributed.

This strategic choice was to have a huge impact on the Muslim world, fundamentally altering faith, observance and religious identity for hundreds of millions of people. It also contributed, as intended, to a shift of cultural influence from Egypt, once the unchallenged intellectual centre of the Arab world, to Saudi Arabia, its religious centre.
read more »

Saudi Monstrosity and International Silence

Saudi Monstrosity and International Silence

By Huda Jawad

February 04, 2009 “Information Clearinghouse” — – For the past several weeks, dozens of family members have been reaching out to the Iraqi government in a fragile gesture meant to save the lives of their sons. In January 2009, Saudi courts convicted 25 young Iraqi men of trespassing into Saudi Arabia. Their punishment: beheading. Among the Iraqi prisoners are at least several men suffering from tuberculosis, all of whom are being denied medical attention by the Saudi judiciary.

Relatives of the Iraqi prisoners in Saudi prisons have been holding protests in the southern province of Al-Muthana, withstanding the bitter cold and wind. The response by the Iraqi officials has been ridiculously indifferent, with the buck being passed between the bureaucracies. Human rights officials have announced today that the case should be pursued by National Security Advisor Mowaffak al-Rubaie. However, Rubaie has refused to take any proactive action in this regard. In September 2008, Rubaie had met with the Saudi King and authorized the transfer of 400 Saudi terrorists out of Iraq and back to Saudi Arabia. Any mention of the Iraqi death-row prisoners in Saudi Arabia was not present.

Iraqi politicians are far too engulfed in the elections to even grant a second glance to the young men about to lose their lives for petty crimes. However, these same power holders have no grievance with releasing Saudi terrorists and allowing them to live a normal life, long after they had wrecked that of the Iraqi children. Saudi Arabia has become the shame of the Muslim and Arab world; to think some claim these barbarians represent us is an insult to humanity and Islam.

Saudi Arabia is a state party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Secrecy and the lack of internationally recognized standards of due process have long been distinctive features of the Saudi justice system. None of the Iraqi men had access to any form of legal representation, nor were they offered such an option. This is a recurring theme within the Saudi legal system, and it strips away the most basic of rights for prisoners, both foreign and domestic.

The treatment of detained foreign nationals both in the case of the Iraqi men and other multinationals gives insight into the closed world and fundamental flaws of the Saudi judicial system, including prolonged incommunicado detention, the absence of protection against torture, and other forms of mistreatment during interrogation. In many cases involving foreigners, foreign governments rarely if ever publicly raise fair-trial concerns or engage in other vigorous public advocacy on behalf of their nationals, prior to or even after their executions.

If this was any other nation, there would outrage, but since it is Saudi Arabia, the world has become complacent. The kingdom spends a fortune on US public relations firms to cover up human rights violations. In the year 2000, Amnesty International reported that Saudi Arabia has spent more than one million dollars on public relations firms to ensure secrecy about abuses of human rights. An oil-dependent international community sits back in silence as the suffering continues inside the kingdom.

The death penalty is used in Saudi Arabia more than in any other country, mainly because many crimes are punishable by execution. Defendants are typically poor foreign migrant workers from developing countries in Africa and Asia, often have no defense lawyer, and are usually unable to follow court proceedings in Arabic. For countless prisoners, they had no knowledge of their sentence until the actual day of their execution.

We must act now to save the Iraqi prisoners in Saudi custody. These Iraqi nationals were beaten until they confessed, and all claim that they are innocent. Prisoners in Saudi Arabia can be put to death without a scheduled date for execution being made known to them or their families. Subsequently, these men could be put to death any time.

Here is whom to contact regarding appeals in the cases of the Iraqi prisoners, while also expressing our outrage at the abuse of all prisoners:

Ambassador Adel A. Al-Jubeir
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
601 New Hampshire Ave. NW
Washington DC 20037
Fax: 1 202 944 3113
Email: info[AT]saudiembassy.net

His Majesty King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al- Saud
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Office of His Majesty the King
Royal Court
Riyadh
KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA
Fax (via Ministry of the Interior): 011 966 1 403 1185 (please keep trying)
Salutation: Your Majesty

Turki bin Khaled Al-Sudairy
President
Human Rights Commission
P.O. Box 58889
King Fahad Road, Building No. 373
Riyadh 11515
KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA
Fax: 011 966 1 4612061

Huda Jawad is a writer for http://islamicinsights.com/, a weekly publication in North America.