A progressive Saudi Arabia?

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Doug Woodard
A progressive Saudi Arabia?

*****

Doug Woodard

In Saudi Arabia, a revolution disguised as reform?

http://wpo.st/tp_12

Also

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/09/saudi-arabia-terrorism-fu...

If they start being nice to the Houthis I might forgo some of my scepticism.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

It would be a long, steep climb to get anywhere near progressive, but I'm happy to see some gains.

6079_Smith_W

I was surprised yesterday to see they have more women in their parliament than Japan.

Checking the numbers, I was even more surprised to see they have slightly more (19.7 percent to 19.4) women in their parliament than the United States, and far more than some other places I will not mention because of sensitive ears.

(if I can use the Donald Trump method of letting you know exactly what I am talking about)

Still. Let them stop cutting off people's heads and lashing people for blogging. Then we can talk.

http://www.ipu.org/WMN-e/classif.htm

Only two countries have more women than men in parliament. Neither is in the so-called developed world.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

They let more women in a parliament that has no powers since Saudi Arabia is an absolute theocratic monarchy. The people of Saudi Arabia are truly lucky to have the right kind of despots ruling over them. As long as the Sheiks remain loyal allies of the West the normal people will not be subjected to a regime change civil war. Its a good thing they are not a secular regime like Iraq or Libya or Syria because then the West would have a Responsibility to Protect their people from their dictator. Destroying all the infrasrtructure of the country would of course be an unfortunante side effect of the R2P mission. 

NDPP

US-Armed Saudi Coalition Bombed Yemen Funeral, Massacring 140, Wounding 525 in 'Lake of Blood'

http://www.salon.com/2016/10/08/u-s-armed-saudi-coalition-bombed-yemen-f...

And after the jets first strike on the mourners, they returned to 'double-tap' the responders a couple more times. Just watch the same local liberal imperialists who support the White Helmets of Al Qaeda condemn this latest Saudi massacre in Yemen even though the same players are responsible for the nightmare in Syria. And even as Kiev does to Donbass what western propaganda accuses Russia/Damascus of doing to Aleppo. Israel, America and Saudi power means mass murder with impunity. And Canada always goes along with the ride.

Unionist

Doug Woodard, I always appreciate your posts here, but not this time. Both your links are from participants in some recent delegation run by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Both of them repeat exactly the same script. Neither of them actually reports any, like, progressive move taken by Saudi (and no, I'm not impressed by the number of women in a phony body, where they'd have to be driven to work with their husbands' permission).

Both articles heavily lean toward, "let's ramp up our aid and alliance" - because Saudi will be an increasing bulwark against the real enemy (Iran) and the "terrorists" (Hezbollah). And no mention of Yemen, of course.

So if you want to understand why this scripted whitewash job suddenly appeared under the signatures of two different authors, you might want to recall this Huff Post piece by M.J. Rosenberg:

[url=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mj-rosenberg/does-pbs-know-that-washin_b_5... PBS Know That “The Washington Institute” Was Founded By AIPAC?[/url]

So... please.

Unionist

I don't know where or whether this was reported, but I only learned about this today:

Last May, the U.S. House and Senate unanimously passed a measure allowing families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia (15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens).

On September 23, Obama vetoed that measure.

On September 30, the House and Senate voted overwhelmingly to over-ride his veto - for the first time since he became president.

Here was the White House's bizarre reaction:

Quote:
“I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done, possibly, since 1983,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters. “Ultimately these senators are going to have to answer their own conscience and their constituents as they account for their actions today.”

Read all about it here:

[url=https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/28/senate-obama-veto-septem... overrides Obama's veto of 9/11 bill letting families sue Saudi Arabia[/url]

 

 

Unionist

"Progressive" Saudi Arabia slaughters more Yemeni civilians:

[url=http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-37813569]Yemen conflict: Dozens killed as air strikes hit prison in Hudaydah[/url]

 

NDPP

UNHRC Vote On Russia Out, Saudi Arabia In - 'Shocking and Shameful'

http://on.rt.com/7tds

"According to Daoud Khairallah, International Law professor at Georgetown University, ' it is absolutely shocking...It absolutely defies any logic that a country like Saudi Arabia- with a consistent record of violating international law, any kind of civil law inside the kingdom and beyond, a promoter of terrorism,' - is being re-elected a member of the human rights body, said Khairallah..."

Canada was an active instigator/promoter.

Cody87

NDPP wrote:

UNHRC Vote On Russia Out, Saudi Arabia In - 'Shocking and Shameful'

http://on.rt.com/7tds

"According to Daoud Khairallah, International Law professor at Georgetown University, ' it is absolutely shocking...It absolutely defies any logic that a country like Saudi Arabia- with a consistent record of violating international law, any kind of civil law inside the kingdom and beyond, a promoter of terrorism,' - is being re-elected a member of the human rights body, said Khairallah..."

Canada was an active instigator/promoter.

Saudi Arabia is our friend. They don't challenge US supremacy. Russia does. It's really not that hard to understand.

Oh, you thought the UNHRC had anything to do with Human Rights?

It's just like when the US overthrows hostile dictators in the name of "spreading democracy." But, then, in other countries, oberthrows democratically elected socialist/communist leaders and replaces them with friendly capitalist dictators in the name of "human rights." It's all just smokescreens to reward loyal friends and punish those who step out of line.

(I know you get it NDPP. My reply is aimed at the faux surprise "defies any logic" in the article you linked.)

swallow

It remains scandalous that Saudi Arabia has membership on the Human Rights Council. This is alrgely because the Asian states get together in advance and agree on a slate - so in effect, Saudi Arabia ran un-opposed. Although it seems there were some write-in votes from countries unwilling to vote the straight Asian bloc slate. 

There were two countries in Eastern Europe willing to run against Russia - and both proved more popular. It's much like the year when the USA lost its seat on the Human Rights committee when George W. Bush was president. Americans were outraged. But this is what happens in a contested election - the country that's less popular with the UN membership tend to lose. 

[url=http://www.un.org/press/en/2016/ga11848.doc.htm]Full voting results[/url]

I think what's really needed, as groups like Human Rights Watch argue, is for minimum standards of human rights respect to be barred from the Council. Saudi Arabia should be barred, I think. Russia should not - but all countries should accept that they might lose an election, none of them(including the USA and Russia) have an automatic right to be elected.

Unionist

swallow wrote:

I think what's really needed, as groups like Human Rights Watch argue, is for minimum standards of human rights respect to be barred from the Council. Saudi Arabia should be barred, I think.

I don't think that's a good idea. It's bad enough (even though I understand the historical and pragmatic reasons) that some states have a birthright on the "Security" Council. Just try writing down your "minimum standards" and see how far you get. I'm not the least bit disturbed by Saudi Arabia being on this human rights council. If you bar them, you'd have to bar their suppliers and customers too, no? Want a list?

It's the United Nations. Not the Nations We LIke.

ETA: I'll tell you what does bother me. Unions and political parties thinking it's ok to sell weapons of death to the Saudis. And babblers, who should know better, innocently citing AIPAC-sponsored ass-lickers of Israel as "experts" about how Saudi Arabia is becoming more progressive. We should cure the illness in our country, and in the progressive movement, before being "scandalized" about what the U.N. is doing.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

A Russian view:

Raza Kazim, spokesperson for Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) wrote:

“What is Saudi Arabia doing on the Human Rights Council? We’ve seen it invade one country – Bahrain. We’ve seen it causing extensive damage to schools, to hospitals, to head teachers, to people’s homes; children being killed, just a general population being killed in Yemen next-door to it. What we’ve seen is a blockade of any humanitarian aid going into the country, so that people are dying of acute malnutrition,” he said. “We’ve seen Saudi Arabia clearly linked [to ISIS], Jabhat al-Nusra, and various other factions.”

Saudi Arabia, good. Russia, bad. Four legs good, two legs bad.

Quote:
“In fact, the UK army personnel or intelligence personnel are sitting in the command and control centers, from where Saudi Arabia is actually conducting its airstrikes within Yemen…” he added.

 

UNHRC vote on Russia out, Saudi Arabia in — ‘shocking and shameful’

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

‘Saudi Arabia one of top repressive countries’: What’s behind US special ties with Riyadh?

RT wrote:
Saudi Arabia has become by far the number one purchaser of US weapons, with $115 billion deals under the Obama administration alone. Congress has just rubber-stamped every single one, says author and activist Medea Benjamin.

Poor Canada! Only 10 billion or so in sales. But then such sales help to pervert the Canadian labour movement. And that's worth it's weight in... gold. [rolleyes]

Quote:
Saudi Arabia carried out 158 executions, 63 for non-violent drug crimes last year, often through public beheadings. Early this year, it executed 47 men for terrorism-related offenses, including the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. It practices gender apartheid against women, who are not allowed to drive, are banned from most jobs, and are controlled by male guardians. It prohibits freedom of expression, including freedom of religion. Homosexuals can be put to death.

t promotes a fundamentalist form of Sunni Islam throughout the Muslim world known as Wahhabism, which sanctifies violence against those considered infidels or apostates, including Sufis and Shiites. The autocratic Saudi royal family, whose wealth is estimated at 1.4 trillion dollars, lives in unimaginable extravagance, and often decadence. Yet Saudi Arabia is considered one of the US’ closest allies in the Middle East.

RT/Chris Hedges: "Let's talk about this special relationship with Saudi Arabia, especially in light of the fact, as you point out in the book, the US now takes only 13 percent of Saudi oil…"

Quote:
One of the most repressive countries in the world, where there is no freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, no political parties, no unions allowed, where dissent  is treated as treason. You can be beheaded for insulting Islam, for insulting the King, for spreading atheism, for being convicted of being a homosexual, for sorcery. There is discrimination against entire groups of people like women who are not only forced to fully cover in public, it is the only country where women aren't allowed to drive. A guardianship system where women have to have a male legal guardian from the day they're born to the day they die. It is the most sex-segregated society in the world. Immigrant population, which is huge – of a 30 million population, 10 million are migrant workers, many of whom are coming from some of the poorest countries in the world and are treated like indentured servants.... slavery was only eliminated in 1962 in Saudi Arabia ...



swallow

It's shocking and shameful, sure - but again, only because there was no Asian ountry willing to run against the Asian slate, so Saudi Arabia ran un-opposed. But for the eastern Eoropean spots, there was an open contest, and Hungary and Croatia got more votes than Russia. 

Saudi Arabia and Russia were not running against each other for a seat, a fact overlooked in 90% of the Western and pro-Krelmin press.

Just a short factual comment, since we are in the midst of a spin cycle of outrage. 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Doug Woodard wrote:

Is Saudi Arabia on the cusp of change?

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38951539

For many years there has been informed speculation that Saidi Arabia, lacking reform, was headed for a blowup. I judge it will remain an issue for many years more.

Lucky for the Monarchy that countries like Canada are willing to sell them urban warfare machines to use against any real dissent. 

Doug Woodard

Is Saudi Arabia on the cusp of change?

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38951539

For many years there has been informed speculation that Saudi Arabia, lacking reform, was headed for a blowup. I judge it will remain an issue for many years more.

Doug Woodard

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Lucky for the Monarchy that countries like Canada are willing to sell them urban warfare machines to use against any real dissent. 

Revolutions usually happen when the soldiers and police become unwilling to defend the old regime. "Urban warfare machines" may not make a great deal of difference.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Doug Woodard wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Lucky for the Monarchy that countries like Canada are willing to sell them urban warfare machines to use against any real dissent. 

Revolutions usually happen when the soldiers and police become unwilling to defend the old regime. "Urban warfare machines" may not make a great deal of difference.

So are you supporting the sale of these small tanks because you don't think they are effective or merely engaging in wishful thinking.

Doug Woodard

kropotkin1951 wrote:

So are you supporting the sale of these small tanks because you don't think they are effective or merely engaging in wishful thinking.

I don't like the fact that we sell arms to Saudi Arabia, but I don't think it's highly significant. I think that moves toward internal reform in Saudi Arabia are very significant indeed, and I hope they succeed. I wonder somewhat why you seem to want to draw a red herring across this issue and talk about something else.

I have no objection to a reformed, preferably constitutional monarchy in a Saudi Arabia undergoing a process of evolutionary change. I don't want to see a political explosion in SA with a likelihood of civil war, foreign intervention, and quite possibly a wider war involving Iran, the U.S. (which might try to drag NATO in) and Russia.

Doug Woodard

The smell of burnt rubber: Saudi Arabia's young prince U-turns on reform:

http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21721405-cuts-pay-a...

He seems rather impulsive. I'm not optimistic about the future of the kingdom.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Doug Woodard wrote:

I have no objection to a reformed, preferably constitutional monarchy in a Saudi Arabia undergoing a process of evolutionary change. I don't want to see a political explosion in SA with a likelihood of civil war, foreign intervention, and quite possibly a wider war involving Iran, the U.S. (which might try to drag NATO in) and Russia.

As a NATO ally they are held to a different set of rules than Syria or Libya or Iraq. Hell Syria even had a referendum to introduce a multi-party system and we're still actively trying to destablize them.  I am happy for the Saudi's that there is one country in  the region that NATO will allow to gradually change their system. I would not wish the complete destruction of the civil order and infrastructure that has been the West's prescription for change in the area, for all those not seen as allies.