Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Britain And Saudi Arabia's Sickening Love-In

Yet again money talks, and all sense of justice and basic decency goes out the window- the UK has played host to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, spending our taxes on a lavish reception including a banquet with the Queen. This man and his regime aren't exactly reminiscent of Nelson Mandela or the Dalai Lama- the attention and expenditure being lavished on the Saudis is based wholly and solely on money, given that the theocratic middle-eastern regime has control of large oil reserves and isn't shy about splashing out on military hardware manufactured in the UK.

Yes, everyone knows the importance of keeping other nations on your side, but there is a limit to what should be done. The UK may need Saudi oil and arms money, but likewise the Saudis need someone to sell their oil to and from whom to acquire their weapons of mass destruction- it's a game of give and take where both sides are mutually dependent.

I find it hard to watch western leaders lecture the world on human rights issues when they are happy to chomp on fine food in the company of people who oversee some of the worst abuses of people's rights anywhere in the world. Are the Saudis really so different from Saddam Hussein, save that they have been smart enough to keep on the right side of the Americans and British?

Abdullah's kingdom carries out public executions by beheading and stoning. While some people are also executed in private by firing squad, many executions are popular public attractions. Beheading is the punishment for murderers, rapists, drug traffickers and armed robbers, according to strict interpretation of Islamic law. In 2005, there were 191 executions, in 2006 there were 38 and as of July 2007 there were already 102 including three women.

In 2005, Saudi Arabia was designated by the United States Department of State (an ally nation of Saudi Arabia's, no less) as a Tier 3 country with respect to trafficking in human beings. Tier 3 countries are "Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so."

The Saudi government officially bans satellite television. Trade unions and political organisations are banned and public demonstrations are forbidden.

Political parties are also banned, but some political dissidents were freed in the 1990s on the condition that they disband their organisations. Only the Green Party of Saudi Arabia remains, although it is an illegal organisation.

I don't often turn down the offer of a free dinner, but I think if I had, for some bizarre reason, been invited to the banquet with Elizabeth II and Abdullah, I may have embarrassed myself by boking up at having to dine in the presence of such monsters and hyprocrites.


nineteensixtyseven said...

It sickens me when the UK government talk about Darfur yet do nothing to prevent the sale of arms there, they preach democracy yet make billions selling arms to the Saudis. The nerve of King Abdullah to criticise Britain for not acting on supposed intelligence when his country has done more than pretty much any other to finance and support fundamentalism and terrorism too.

David said...