January 5, 2016 by Chris Kite
We call Saudi Arabia our friend and ally. It isn’t hard to understand why. Saudi Arabia has lots of oil and it sells much of that oil to us. It has stood with us against Iran and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
But there is another side of Saudi Arabia that our government doesn’t talk about it. While we openly criticize China, Cuba, and Iran for their records on human rights, while we rarely take a stand against Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is by all measures a cruel and autocratic state that allows few freedoms and oppresses women, homosexuals, Shiite Muslims, and anyone that dares to speak out against the government.
Just the other day Saudi Arabia executed 47 so called terrorists, including Sheik Nimr al-Nimr, an anti-government Shiite Muslim. He was accused and found guilty of sedition, disobedience and bearing arms. Among charges were that he was involved in violent protests that resulted in deaths.
It is hard to know his level of guilt. He admitted being involved in anti government protests but insisted he never carried arms or called for violence. Saudi Arabia has long been known for a less than fair and transparent legal system which makes it quite possible he was truly guilty of nothing more than speaking up against the government. Something that is not at all tolerated in Saudi Arabia. And, of course, it is also possible that he was guilty of terrorism. But in a country where the government simply needs to charge people and then hold their own “justice proceedings” to find someone guilty puts everything in doubt. This is also a country that regularly tortures confessions out of detainees.
It is hard to imagine it being illegal to disobey or be unfaithful to a king. Imagine the number of people in the US that could be charged for disrespecting our leader. A good part of Congress could be executed immediately for it’s lack of respect! That is just insane to people in a country where freedom of speech is an important right. Even if people often take that right beyond tasteful or moral.
The thing that is without doubt in my mind is that if Saudi Arabia didn’t have oil, and didn’t willingly sell us that oil, they would certainly not be our ally and have the level of support they have. I would bet that we would stand against them if we didn’t need their oil, or, in today’s environment, need that oil to flow freely to other nations to keep oil prices stable.
I understand the complexity of world politics. And I comprehend that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. But I find our hypocrisy quite offensive and immoral.