Saudi Arabia’s Anti-Democratic Practices Overlooked
Questions have been raised as to whether Saudi Arabia’s status as top oil-producing country and trusted ally of the U.S. have kept the U.S. from condemning the overwhelmingly anti-democratic principles of Gulf kingdom. According to Le Monde Diplomatique (English), within the last year Saudi has “crushed democratic protests” in Bahrain, executed 76 people in 2011 (“including a woman accused of ‘sorcery’), threated to execute a blogger who engaged in an imaginary conversation with the Prophet on twitter, sentenced thieves to amputation, accounted that rape, sodomy, adultery, homosexuality, drug trafficking and apostasy are to be punished by death.
Additionally, the Saud Kingdom restricts the rights of women to travel by car “unless accompanied by a husband or chauffeur” and has decreed that they are not allowed to participate in the Olympic Games. While the U.S. has seized multiple opportunities to pounce on the Iranian regime in order to cite their oppression, the U.S. has made no such effort with respect to Saudi Arabia.
What’s more, Saudi Arabia has been labeled by some regional experts as a counter-revolution, serving as an obstacle to genuine democratic transition in the Arab Spring countries. Millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia has poured into Tunisia and Egypt in order to fund Salafi movements and T.V. channels spreading their strict interpretation of Islam. The kingdom labels the unrest within their borders as “terrorism” and diverts Western media to the ever-so-popular Shia conspiracy theory, all the while voicing support for “democratic change” in Syria. The international body, who has voiced support for democratic transition in the Middle East, remains silent in the face of oppression in Saudi Arabia.