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Home Archived Newsletters Newsletter - October 16, 2009

Newsletter - October 16, 2009

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Saudi News: Contradictions and Consequences

Commentary by Dr. Ali Alyami

 

Economic Blackmail

Director’s Comment: The objective of the attached article which states, “In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar” will render America’s global, democratic and free trade influence inconsequential, at best.

By proposing a replacement for the dollar to sell their oil and by collaborating with the US’s fierce economic competitors and former foes, the Arab Gulf States may have concluded that they can pursue policies that could potentially undermine the US’s economic and democratic influence globally and get away with it at this time. Ironically, these autocratically ruled countries (fiefdoms) depend on the US for their protection from external and internal threats. In addition to terrorists attacks from the Gulf States, this unsettling economic move (replacing the dollar with other currency) by countries praised as moderate and pro US, presents the Administration with challenges that require a sobering review of US-Saudi and other Gulf States’ relations.

President Obama has a unique and unprecedented opportunity to break away from his predecessors’ failed policy and make it clear that America will not tolerate threats to its economy and national security by autocratic monarchies whose survival depends on the US. Not only that, but the President should send an unmistakable message to the Arab Gulf States’ autocrats that a democratic America will no longer be a party to their draconian practices, rampant corruption and gross violations of basic human rights. In his first interview with Saudi Satellite TV on Jan. 27, 2009, the President promised to reach out to the oppressed, disenfranchised and voiceless in the Arab and Muslim states. There is no better time to translate that promise into reality than now.
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A System That Can Not be Fixed

Director’s Comment: Severe and humiliating punishment is upheld by the Saudi autocratic theocrats as a panacea for all occasions and societal ills regardless of reasons and objectives. After an angry riot by a few hundred Saudi youth on September 23-24, 2009 in Eastern Saudi Arabia, the Saudi authorities rounded up the rioters and flogged them in a public square which is the system’s method of sending a message of fear to those who might consider stepping out of the box.

According to eye-witnesses and guarded accounts by the Saudi severely censored media outlets, a few hundred Saudi young men (some of them under the age of 18) went on a destructive rampage through the streets of Alkhobar city in the oil rich region of Eastern Saudi Arabia on the Saudi national day. The enraged rioters overpowered the ubiquitous layers of the heavy handed Saudi security apparatus and inflicted considerable damage on private businesses, mostly Western based franchises. Curiously, most of the rioters came from the Saudi capital city, Riyadh, the heartland of Wahhabi religious zealot who happen to form the power base of the Saudi ruling family.

For knowledgeable students and analysts of the Saudi ruling family, its policies and practices, the Alkhobar riots present many paradoxes. Why did hundreds of young men travel hundreds of kilometers to commit destructive and illegal action instead of celebrating their country’s national day in their home town, the Saudi capital? Since several hundred young men took part in the riots, is it possible that the event was organized or orchestrated from outside the group and if so by whom? Was the riot a manifestation of the growing dissension between the religious community and King Abdullah who recently inaugurated a controversial co-ed university, “his gift to the World” as some Saudis maintain? Or was it instigated by powerful rival Princes such as Naif and Salman, the Minister of Interior and governor of Riyadh respectively to embarrass King Abdullah and undermine his authority? Or was it a ploy by the ruling family to convince the international community, especially the West, that only the House of Saud can maintain stability and protect Western interests in Saudi Arabia?

It’s worth noting that the Saudi people, especially the youth, are among the most oppressed, frustrated and socially and politically deprived people in the undemocratic Arab and Muslim countries. The practice of ruling by fear and intimidation is the Saudi-Wahhabi system as demonstrated in the government’s response by immediately rounding up the rioters and flogging them in a public square without any trial or other legal proceedings.
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They Can Save Lives

Director’s Comment: While traveling with her husband from Jeddah, a metropolitan city by the Red Sea, to Medina, one of Muslims’ two holist cities, a Saudi young woman was presented with a life or death situation. Her husband became sick and started to lose control of their car. Like normal human beings, she chose life over death even though she, like all Saudi women, knew that choosing life over death in this situation could incur severe punishment by Saudi authorities. She took control of the vehicle and drove her comatose husband about 80 KM to find a clinic where his life could be saved.

This occurrence would not be a major episode if it had happened anywhere other than in Saudi Arabia. However, in Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to learn how or drive even when their families’ lives are threatened unless they are willing to defy the State unwritten, but expected to be adhered to laws. Being the only country in the world where women are officially barred from diving, the Saudi theocratic regime has incurred global condemnation for its oppression and mistreatment and marginalization of women.
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Gift to the World

Director’s Comment: Building and opening a university in the 21st century would not be considered a major event if it were not in Saudi Arabia. Being the only country in the world where men and women are officially segregated in public places, King Abdullah University, located 53 miles away from the closest Saudi urban population, is a novelty because it is co-ed. Ironically, it is staffed, run and populated by non-Muslim foreigners who are not only prevented from attending and teaching in Saudi public schools, but considered enemies of Islam. Saudi officials embarked on an intense and expensive advertisement including inviting three hundred officials, including heads of states (most did not seem too to be thrilled by the event), to attend the inauguration of the school. The Saudi government wants to present an external image of progress, tolerance and openness which contradict the realities on the ground.

However, there is one positive outcome of opening King Abdullah University: It exposed the failure of the Saudi educational system. This is evidenced by the fact that King Abdullah did not feel that his ministry of education was qualified to operate his university. He placed its management in the hands of a foreign president, foreign faculty and foreign administrators. In addition, the King could not find more than 100 (out of 5 million) qualified Saudi students to join the school. His majesty had to financially pay (scholarships) for 300 foreign students to study at his “dream come true” achievement of the 21s century.
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Spreading the Saudi Brand of Islam, Wahhabism, Through Global Interfaith Conferences

Director’s Comment: King Abdullah's initiative "Interfaith Dialogue" is achieving its intended and true objective: Spreading the Saudi-Wahhabi brand of Islam, Wahhabism all over the world. This is done under the supervision and control of the Mecca based Muslim World League, MWL, and its ultra-conservative General Secretary Abdullah Al-Turki. Mr. Al-Turki said on October 1, 2009, that, “This initiative has now become a global one and we don’t want to monopolize the organization of interfaith conferences.” He went on to tell reporters at the conclusion of the two-day international interfaith conference in Geneva that the next conference would be held in Southeast Asia next year, probably in India, “the home of major religions and 200 million Muslims.”

Mr. Al-Turki is clear in explaining the intent of King Abdullah’s Interfaith Initiative. At the end of the Madrid Interfaith Conference on July 18, 2008, Mr. Al-Turki said that the interfaith dialogue is designed to disseminate knowledge (of Islam) not to promote understanding of other religions. Understandably, most Muslims resent the Saudi brand of Islam and its pervasive intrusion into every aspect of their lives. In fact, the Saudi government and its religious establishment are concentrating more on Muslims in the West because they are easier targets than in Muslim countries with the exceptions of poverty stricken communities as in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, some parts of Africa and some among Indian Muslims.
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God and King

Director’s Comment: Saudi Arabia is the only country where citizens have no national identity other than the family that rules them, i.e. they are called” Saudis”. In other words, people do not see themselves as citizens of a country, but subdued subjects of the family after whom their land and wealth are named, the House of Saud. By denying people options other than total submission to God and King, the Saudi government and its institutions prevent all forms of expressive outlets other than praising the monarchs and asking God for mercy and forgiveness. “If every family had inculcated the thoughts of patriotism (loyalty to the King) and love of religion in the minds of their children, these girls and women would not have been exposed to such deviant thoughts and ideologies”, says Fatima Al-Sulami, a member of Women’s Counseling Committee at the Interior Ministry. Tragically, the government and its institutions indoctrinate people to become intolerant religious extremists then turn around and pu nish them for acting out what they've been taught. Read Original Article



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