Saudi Arabia: The West’s Chosen Islamist Head-Cutters
By SAMUEL ALBERT
The latest executions in Saudi Arabia should make it very clear that the Western powers’ “war on terror” has nothing to do with opposition to chopping off heads and sectarian religious fanaticism. Instead of condemning this crime, the US, UK and other Western powers have continued to give the Saudi regime, if not their public political blessing, at least their practical backing – in the name of the necessary alliances they claim flow from that “war on terror”.
These crimes were part of the beleaguered Saudi royal family’s efforts to defend its rule by wielding state violence and religious authority, both represented by the executioner’s sword. The most prominent of those put to death was Nimr al-Nimir, a leading Shia cleric tried in secret and convicted of supporting the protest movement that swept the Shia population in eastern Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Bahrain in 2011, especially among youth influenced by the Arab Spring. Several people accused of participating in political rallies at that time, arrested when they were young teenagers, are set to be executed next.
Nimir’s execution, along with that of several other Shias, was a heinous response to legitimate protests against discrimination in employment, education and other fields – proof, if any is needed, that the Saudi regime, rather than moving away from religious fanaticism under the year-old reign of King Salman and his princes, is escalating its use of religiously-justified murder against any political challenge.