When Al Jazeera presenter Mehdi Hasan asked the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United Nations why he supports democratic elections in Syria but not in the country he represents, the response that followed was cringeworthy.
The ambassador insisted that if you asked Saudi people about the current structure of their government, they’d voice their support.
“Isn’t that partly because if they do say they don’t want this government, they want another government, they’ll go to jail?” Hasan asked, noting that it’s a crime in Saudi Arabia to call for a change in the system of government.
“No,” al-Mouallimi replied. “I’m saying that if there was a way by which you can ask the common people in the street anonymously, privately, any way —”
“There is,” Hasan interjected. “It’s called voting.”
While oppressing its own people. Saudi Arabia is also the world’s leading sponsor of Islamic extremism.
On Jan. 2, Saudi Arabia beheaded 47 people across 13 cities. Among the executed was cleric Nimr al-Nimr, a leader from the country’s Shia religious minority who was arrested for leading peaceful protests against the regime in 2011-12.
Sheikh al-Nimr was known throughout the Islamic world for his staunch opposition to sectarianism. The outspoken Saudi dissident firmly insisted that Sunnis and Shias are not enemies, and should unite against the sectarian regimes oppressing them. “The oppressed should unite together against the oppressors, instead of becoming tools in the hands of the oppressors,” he declared.
By executing a dissident who challenged sectarianism, the Saudi monarchy was only further fomenting it. If the US is serious about its war on terror, destroying the source would make sense.