By Finian Cunningham
The utter barbaric nature of Saudi Arabia under the rule of the House of Saud’s absolute monarchy; and, secondly, the utter fraudulence of the US-backed military coalition bombing Syria and Iraq in the name of eradicating extremism.
Within hours of US President Barack Obama hosting military leaders from 21 countries, including favoured client state Saudi Arabia, allegedly to improve bombing tactics to defeat the IS terror network, a Saudi court announced the death penalty on Sheikh al-Nimr.
Saudi prosecutors have called for al-Nimr to be “crucified” – which means death by public beheading.
His crime? Al-Nimr is one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent and respected Shia clerics, who for the past 10 years has been an ardent critic of the kingdom’s autocratic rulers. He has consistently championed the democratic rights of ordinary Saudis, defended the thousands of political prisoners rotting away in Saudi dungeons, and has called for the end of absolute rule under the self-styled House of Saud monarchy.
In particular, Sheikh al-Nimr has highlighted the chronic injustice against the Saudi Shia population, who form a majority in the country’s oil-rich Eastern Province but who have endured decades of poverty and oppression under the Wahhabi House of Saud.
At no time in his years of campaigning for justice has Sheikh Al-Nimr advocated violence. He is on record for explicitly condemning violence and has urged followers to use the “roar of the word” to challenge Saudi despotism.
In other words, his only “crime” is that Sheikh al-Nimr has eloquently exposed the oppression and corruption of Saudi rule under a dynastic, backward family.
He has also denounced the illegal occupation of Bahrain by Saudi forces since March 2011, when they were sent into the neighbouring island state to crush a pro-democracy movement there and bolster the Al Khalifa regime, which is a surrogate of the House of Saud. Western patronage has also been a lynchpin of the Al Khalifa dictatorship in Bahrain.
In July 2012, al-Nimr was ambushed by Saudi military police while travelling in a car near his native Qatif in Eastern Province. He was shot four times in the leg. The Saudi authorities claimed that the incident was a shoot-out – a claim that the cleric’s family strenuously deny and which is wholly inconsistent with his peaceful political activism. Of course it is a smear, aimed at justifying his subsequent persecution.
The Saudis also claim that al-Nimr is a “fifth columnist” for Shia Iran – another risible slander – aimed at obscuring the real nature of massive injustice in the oil-rich kleptocratic kingdom.
Now, after months of being tortured in solitary confinement and denied any legal defence, the cleric is to be executed.
His fate exposes the barbarity of the Saudi dictatorship, headed up by King Abdullah. That feudalistic state owes its entire existence and survival completely to the patronage of Washington and London, partly because of its propping up of the bankrupt petrodollar system and partly because of its propping up of the Western military-industrial complex.
Through its monarchial family relations with other Persian Gulf Arab regimes, the Saudi rulers also ensure that these similarly despotic entities remain loyal vassals of the Anglo-American axis.
The cause of democracy in Saudi Arabia – social justice, elections, free speech, human rights, representative government – is the antithesis of American and British interests in the region. Strip away the venal rhetoric from Washington and London, and what we see is the grotesque reality of their unswerving support for despots whose every instinct is to brutally decapitate any form of democracy.
When it comes to forcing Western regime change to thwart democracy in the region, the Arab despots are ever ready to join that coalition through sponsoring extremism and terrorism – or, as of late, sending their American and British-supplied warplanes to bomb target countries.
Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr is a “dangerous” leader. His critical words and ideas have inspired sedition – for all the right reasons. Tens of thousands of Saudis have been strengthened by his courage to denounce the Western-backed, indeed the Western-mandated, oppression of the masses in that country.
Following the irreproachable logic of Sheikh al-Nimr not only undermines the shaky, criminal foundations of the House of Saud; it also leads to damning conclusions about the West’s cardinal role in sponsoring oppression and terrorism in the Middle East.
That is why this man of peace and real power is being framed up on the most specious of charges – to be executed. The despotic Saudis and their despotic Western patrons are desperate to extinguish his voice of truth.
People of the world, and especially the despotic West, must rally to the defence of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr to ensure that he is not only spared, but ultimately set free.
His fate is united with our own. We must expose the tyrants and their tyrannical system that operates all the way from the high offices of Washington and London to the streets of Saudi Arabia and beyond.
Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.
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