The Arab uprisings, democratic demands and the Saudi payroll

By Rupen Savoulian, Links, May 21, 2012

Hillary Clinton (centre) meets King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (right) in Riyadh to discuss Syria. Photograph: AP.

In April 2012, a number of high-level political officials attended conferences in Paris and Istanbul organised by the Friends of Syria group. US secretary of state Hillary Clinton attended these meetings, and joined the foreign ministers from the NATO powers and Arab Gulf monarchies in denouncing the killings committed by the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The Friends of Syria meeting brought about greater collaboration between the various imperialist countries and the Syrian rebel forces. One of the main attendees at these meetings, and now major sponsor of the Syrian rebel groups, was Saudi Arabia. Clinton and her Saudi counterpart, Prince Saud al-Faisal, now former French President Sarkozy and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan all expressed their commitment to “democracy” and vowed to do all they could to topple the Ba’athist dictatorship in Damascus. Saudi Arabia, and its Gulf ally Qatar have led the charge to arm and finance Syrian rebel forces.

It is worthwhile to take a closer look at the history of cooperation between the imperialist powers and Saudi Arabia. Claims by Clinton, Sarkozy and Erdogan that democracy is uppermost in their minds are absolutely ludicrous. Last year, Amnesty International issued a report on the Saudi Arabian government called Saudi Arabia: Repression in the name of security. The report details the many crimes of the Saudi Arabian government, specifically its total repression of political dissent, the imprisonment and torture of dissidents, the repeated crackdowns on freedom of expression, and the broad and sweeping definition of terrorism as a way to suppress a wide variety of political groups.

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One Response to “The Arab uprisings, democratic demands and the Saudi payroll”

  1. sudhan Says:

    Saudi Arabia plays a key role in the Middle East and in other Islamic countries as a close ally of the imperialist powers; it stands to uphold the power and privileges of a few thousand princes of the House of Saud in the kingdom and provide support to other reactionary Arab potentates. Rupen Savoulian in this timely article shows how the Saudi and imperialist powers cooperate in their common objectives. The main stream media may not be the best place for us to look for analyses because their wishy-washy views on the policies of the Saudi rulers pay scant attention to the fact that imperialist powers and Middle Eastern reactionaries have had the Saudi state as a bulwark of support against progressive and democratic movements and political struggles.

    In offering a brief sketch of the foundation of the Saudi state, Savoulian shows the nature of the repressive policies of its rulers. The Saudis have exploited the religion of Islam for their own ends by infusing Wahhabism which is a perversion and negation of the egalitarian and humanistic aspects of this world-religion. The fanatical creed of ‘pure’ Islam propagated by this obscurantist cult has struck at the roots of Islam. The Wahhabi potentates have been busy uprooting the multi-cultural dimension of Islam and replacing it by an official mantra of ritual and forcible conformity that leaves no room for any independent interpretation or views. They have also erased hundred of monuments and cultural artefacts associated with the rise of Islam and its prominent persons.


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