69 million page views

A rebuttal of the rebuttal

Reader comment on item: Blame the UN's Power on George H.W. Bush
in response to reader comment: A Rebuttal

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Feb 25, 2012 at 19:48

Pied Piper writes :

" "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"...

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. "

That one of us definitely doesn't know what he is talking about is manifest enough. So to ascertain who exactly it is let's turn a third party for arbitration. I guess we both might agree to rely on in our judgement of the nature of Saudi Arabia's regime on Human Rights Reports issued by the State Department and Amnesty International.

Stephen Lendman sums them aptly up . "Annually, the State Department publishes human rights reports for over 190 countries. Its latest April 8, 2011 Saudi Arabia assessment discusses "significant human rights abuses and the inability of citizens to change its absolute monarchal rule. Abuses include:

• "torture and physical abuse;

• poor prison and detention center conditions;

• arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention;

• denial of fair and public trials and lack of due process in the judicial system;

• political prisoners;

• restrictions on civil liberties such as freedom of speech (including the Internet);

• assembly, association, movement, and severe restrictions on religious freedom; and

• corruption and lack of transparency."

Also mentioned were inequality and violence against women, human trafficking, no labor rights, discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, sect and ethnicity, and violations of children's rights."

Saudi's absolute monarchal rule is despotic, lawless and brutal. It's a police state practicing state terrorism internally and regionally."

Last December, Amnesty International (AI) published a report on the kingdom titled, "Saudi Arabia: Repression in the Name of Security." where on page 3 it says :

" State power in Saudi Arabia rests almost entirely with the King and the ruling Al Saud family.
The Constitution gives the King absolute power over government institutions and the affairs
of the state, and severely curtails political dissent and freedom of expression. The country's
27 million residents have no political institutions independent of government, and political
parties and trade unions are not tolerated. The media is severely constrained and those who
express dissent face arrest and imprisonment, whether political critics, bloggers or
. ... women remain subject to severe discrimination in both law and practice. Women are unable to travel, engage in paid work or higher education, or marry without the permission of a male guardian."

Last April, Saudi's Interior Ministry said 5,831 people were arrested for being associated with a "deviant group," allegedly Al Qaeda. About 600 were sentenced. Another 600 awaited trials. Unsubstantiated terrorist related charges assures long, repressive prison terms.

A more recent high-profile case involved 16 men, including nine prominent reformists. They were sentenced to up to 30 years for allegedly trying to seize power by financing terrorism with laundered money. Their charges and trial had no legitimacy whatever. They were victimized for advocating political change and human rights.

AI said Saudi authorities "launched a new wave of repression in the name of security." Human rights protesters have been brutally oppressed. At the same time, a new anti-terror law exacerbates the absence of civil and human rights.

Last June, AI got a leaked copy. Provisions in it include:

• prosecuting peaceful dissent as terrorism and "harming the reputation of the state or its position;"

a minimum of 10 years imprisonment for anyone questioning the integrity of the king or crown prince;

• authorities will have carte blanche power to detain alleged security suspects indefinitely without charge or trial; and

terrorism's definition is expanded to include endangering "national unity" and/or questioning the integrity of the king or regime.

Overall, abusive practices will be legalized, including an anything goes policy of crushing dissent."

Political parties and national elections are prohibited.

In recent years, thousands have been detained on security grounds and remain imprisoned under horrific conditions. Victims include clerics, alleged Al Qaeda members, anyone with alleged connections or sympathies, and others suspected of anti-regime sentiment or its ties to Washington and other Western states.

Everyone arrested for security reasons faces torture and other forms of abuse. It's commonplace "because interrogators know that they can commit their crimes without fear of punishment."

Abuse is also encouraged by the "ready acceptance by courts of 'confessions' forced (from) detainees (by) beatings, electric shocks, and other forms of torture and ill-treatment."

Many detainees are untried. Others brought to court face grossly unfair proceedings, including secret ones with no right of appeal. Since established in October 2008, Saudi's Specialized Criminal Court hears them.

Victims are mostly human rights defenders, political reform activists, members of religious minorities, foreign nationals and many others guilty of no internationally recognized offense.

In the past, sporadic political violence occurred against state institutions, oil installations and Western nationals. Severe crackdowns followed. AI's report focused mainly on 2011 developments. Philip Luther, AI's Middle East/North Africa director said:

"Peaceful protesters and supporters of political reform in the country have been targeted for arrest in an attempt to stamp out the kinds of call for reform that have echoed across the region."

Many arrested are charged with "disrupting order." Some are forced to sign pledges to never again protest. In addition, they're forbidden to travel. Others face secret kangaroo proceedings. Those affected are guilty by accusation...."

If all of that is no genuine despotism and bloody Oriental tyranny pure and simple, then what is ?

Yet, frankly speaking I understand that the prospect of spending 10 years in a Saudi dungeon for questioning the integrity of the Saudi despot or any of his relatives and institutions does not attract you at all, does it ? But my suggestion is that you could obviate the prospect not only by impudently lying and misleading people about the real nature of the Saudi regime, its obscurantist nasty wahhabi doctrine and its medieval ruler but also by being utterly silent on the subject. That would be much more honest and quite safe as I guess that the notorious Saudi Religion Police haven't developed yet techniques to read people's minds and so is still unable to track and punish thought crimes which aren't committed outside the holy precincts of the mind.


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to A rebuttal of the rebuttal by Ianus

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2023 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)