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A Rebuttal

Reader comment on item: Blame the UN's Power on George H.W. Bush
in response to reader comment: Democracies and their undemocratic allies

Submitted by Pied Piper (Saudi Arabia), Feb 25, 2012 at 18:00

"Also these words don't belong to any high or low level US officials but to the Saudi despotic ruler Abdullah.......So our ladies have got another important ally who after drowning protests in his own medieval kingdom in blood is now offering his useful democratic ideas and huge resources to help "democratize" Syria."

"Ianus" has some interesting things to say about Syria, Turkey and al-Zawahiri with which I mostly agree, but he is way off base when he characterizes the Saudi monarch as "despotic".

Although Abdullah has the final say in anything that happens in the Kingdom, important decisions are reached only by consensus involving a multitude of advisors and, especially in the last decade or so, involving a growing group of technocrats who are neither "royals" nor "Islamists" but can be classified as "pragmatists", many of them educated in the West.

It is true that most of the political positions - governors of provinces, ministers of defense, interior and so on are still held by royals, but many non-political positions are now held by "civilians" and as such, policy decisions are usually based on their considered opinions and justifications. The Ministeries of HIgher Education, National Economy and Planning, Housing, Transportation, Health, to name just a few, are all headed by these new technocrats.

As far as "drowning protests in his own medieval kingdom in blood", "Ianus" must be referring to the sporadic protests that take place in the Eastern Province largely populated by Shia citizens. I can't deny that this is a troubling ongoing problem in the Kingdom, but have you ever been to the south side of Chicago on a weekend? I venture to state that more "blood" is spilled in that section of the Windy City on a weekend than has been spilled in all the Saudi Eastern Province during all of the last year. There has been no "drowning" of protests in the Kingdom in the sense meant by "Ianus's" phrase. That's simply a gross exaggeration.

It is inconceivable that the Kingdom will ever "enjoy" a democratic process as we know it in the West, at least in my lifetime, but that doesn't mean that the people's voices in the Kingdom aren't heard or aren't heeded. They are and they are becoming more important and influential with each passing year. Anyone who denies this simply doesn't know what he's talking about.

Submitting....

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