Week 1: Villain – Saudi Arabia

by George_East on January 7, 2016

Saudi_villainThe first Villain of the Week Award for 2016 goes to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for executing 47 people on the second day of the year

With all the focus on ISIS it is sometimes easy to forget that one of the UK’s closest allies operates a barbarous and medieval justice system, not a million miles removed.   It took to all of the second day of the year for the swordsman to put to death 47 prisoners in the desert kingdom.

One of these number was Shi’ia political and religious leader, Nimr al-Nimr, which immediately provoked demonstrations against the Saudi  embassy in Teheran and the subsequent breach in diplomatic relations between Shi’ia Iran and the Sunni gulf states.    This is Saudi Arabia flexing its muscles and influence in the region, through the most brutal means.

As an aside and most depressingly of all, Saudi Arabia does not even feature in the British government’s list of countries to focus on, in its campaign to have the death penalty abolished.   The Kingdom must be appeased because of its financial weight, its resource richness as the biggest supplier of oil in the world and as a perceived regional power in opposition to Iran.  The protest at the executions from the Foreign Office was barely made.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jackie_South January 7, 2016 at 1:45 pm

One of the worst aspects of this was that Nimr al-Nimr was an entirely peaceful protestor: his crime of “terrorism” was to support peaceful demonstrations for greater rights and self-determination for the Shia of eastern Saudi Arabia.

Imagine the world protests if fifty years ago the USA had decided to execute Martin Luther King for “terrorism”. Now look at the lack of protest against another religious leader doing much the same thing as MLK. Have we really become that much less of a moral world over the last half-century?


George_East January 7, 2016 at 1:54 pm

The question though is where is the protest, surely? You are right that there has been none in west (except some small scale demonstrations outside of Saudi embassies) but it cannot be said that the Shi’a World has not reacted. It has in spades. Indeed the whole thing looks to me as if it has been done by the Saudis to provoke such a reaction. As with so much of what goes on in the Middle East, is it just another move in the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran?


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