• Russia,  Saudi Arabia

    Glad to see each other

    There’s nothing like a common interest in murdering dissidents outside one’s own borders to bring folks together. Putin and MBS greet each other with huge smiles and handshake in Buenos Aires pic.twitter.com/2jlHUfONO1 — Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) November 30, 2018

  • Saudi Arabia,  Trump

    Trump’s “blood for oil” bargain with the Saudis

    When Iraqi forces under Saddam Hussein invaded and occupied Kuwait in 1990, the “anti-imperialist” Left, opposing a military response, took up the slogan “No Blood for Oil!” Did concern about oil supplies figure in to the decision by the US, the UK, France and other countries to drive the Iraqis out of Kuwait? Probably to an extent. But it was far from the only reason. The Iraqi invasion was a clear-cut case of aggression, and the consequences of allowing Saddam to get away with it would have been disastrous for all kinds of reasons. The “No Blood for Oil!” slogan was heard again as the US and the UK prepared…

  • Saudi Arabia

    Obtuse, envious or both?

    Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who accompanied President Trump on his visit to Saudi Arabia, was interviewed on CNBC: Ross: I think the other thing that was fascinating to me … there was not a single hint of a protestor anywhere there during the whole time we were there, not one guy with a bad placard, instead … Host: But Secretary Ross, that may be but not necessarily because they don’t have those feelings there but because they control people and don’t allow them to to come and express their feelings quite the same as we do here. Ross: In theory that could be true. But boy there was certainly…

  • Saudi Arabia,  Terrorism,  Trump

    Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology

    Never mind the quasi-bow, the sword dance or the remarkably unremarkable speech to Muslim leaders. This has got to be the most fascinating part of President Trump’s Saudi visit so far: At Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology. In a few minutes @POTUS and Saudi King to touch a globe to switch it on. pic.twitter.com/8oT21fsYt1 — Steve Herman (@W7VOA) May 21, 2017 Since daily life in Saudi Arabia is currently governed by an extremist ideology which its rulers seek to spread throughout the Muslim world, I’m not sure how seriously to take this whole thing. But if it doesn’t work out, they can always rent it out as a set…

  • Iran,  Saudi Arabia

    Iran’s criticism of Saudi Arabia’s executions is outrageous hypocrisy

    This is a guest post by Peter Tatchell (originally published in the International Business Times) Iran’s criticism of the Saudi mass executions is outrageous hypocrisy. Tehran is also guilty of barbaric killing methods and, indeed, of putting to death eight times as many prisoners as Riyadh in 2014. It condemns Saudi Arabia for persecuting Shia Muslims, yet it persecutes Sunnis. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned of “divine vengeance” for the execution of Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. His website carried an image comparing the Saudis to the fanatics of Islamic State (Isis), suggesting there was little or no difference between the two. Other Iranian officials denounced Riyadh for interfering…

  • Saudi Arabia

    Thoughts on the execution of Ayatollah Nimr Al-Nimr

    This is a cross-post from The Rambling Infidel On January 2nd Saudi Arabia executed 47 people on charges of “terrorism” in what was a plainly unfair trial. Among them was a prominent and very outspoken Shia cleric Ayatollah Nimr Al-Nimr. Aside from him and 3 other Shia youth activists. Ayatollah Nimr became prominent for his role in the 2011 Shia protests in Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Arab spring. The specific charges he was convicted for included “disobeying the ruler”, “inciting sectarian strife”, “encouraging, leading & participating in protests”. In order words he was liquidated through state sponsored murder for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of speech.…

  • Iran,  Islam,  Saudi Arabia

    Saudis’ execution of Shia cleric provokes outrage in Iran

    An editor for the “reformist” Iranian newspaper Shargh has been live-tweeting the destruction of the Saudi embassy in Tehran in the wake of the Sunni Saudi regime’s execution of leading Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr. RIGHT NOW: Saudi embassy in Tehran on fire after stormed by protesters over execution of Shiite leader al-Nimr pic.twitter.com/k92bTkh5hb — Sobhan Hassanvand (@Hassanvand) January 2, 2016 Video shows protesters inside Saudi embassy in Tehran pic.twitter.com/DEmsNLI6ZG — Sobhan Hassanvand (@Hassanvand) January 2, 2016 Scores marched through Nimr’s home district of Qatif shouting “down with the Al Saud” and, in the neighboring country of Bahrain, police fired tear gas at several dozen people who gathered to protest the…

  • Freedom & Liberty,  Saudi Arabia

    Raif Badawi and blasphemy – the only victims are the guilty

    This is a cross-post by John Sargeant at homo economicus Raif Badawi has had his ten year sentence and 1,000 lashes upheld by the Saudi Arabian Supreme Court. For the last few weeks and months we have waited every single Friday to see if the remaining 950 lashes will be administered. His physical health after the first 50 has stayed the punishment. He needs to live to receive the remainder of his sentence. This is what mercy means in Saudi Arabia. His wife stated after the ruling: “The flogging will start again and no one cares,” she added. Asked what could be done now to fight for her husband’s cause,…

  • Saudi Arabia

    Saudis Lose Bid to Behead of the UN Human Rights Council

    This is a cross-post from UN Watch GENEVA, June 4, 2015 – First, the good news: following UN Watch’s forceful protest campaign, covered in newspapers worldwide, Swiss TV is now reporting that Saudi Arabia has failed in its bid to be head of the UN Human Rights Council next year. “Before we break out the champagne,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights group, “the truth is that the presidency is mostly symbolic, yet the Saudi monarchy — a regime that is beheading more people than ever before — retains their power as a full voting member of the council.” “The real question is why the U.S.…

  • Saudi Arabia

    Responding to the death of King Abdullah

    This seems to be one of those topics which brings together people who usually agree on very little.  With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to discuss this short post by Ben White (which I reproduce in full because I am not sure whether it can be accessed if you don’t have a Facebook account). The leader of a particularly horrific, dictatorial government has just died. Under this regime, dissenters and human rights defenders were arrested and tortured. Women were discriminated against by law. Sentences of flogging were handed down. Dozens of prisoners were executed annually – including through public beheadings. So how was news of his…