Friday, October 30, 2015

UPDATED: The Devil Canada Has Made A Deal With



Although it generated some heated discussion during the election campaign, don't expect the $15 billion armoured vehicle deal the Harper government signed with human-rights-hater Saudi Arabia to be rescinded now that a new government is about to be sworn in. Because the country is seen as a stabilizing presence in the Middle East and a source of jobs in Canada, pragmatism will undoubtedly trump principle in a deal that no party exactly denounced as our votes were being courted.

Yet we should all be as familiar as possible with the devil Canada is trafficking with.

Readers may recall the case of Raif Badawi, the 31-year-old Saudi blogger who ran afoul of authorities for his criticisms of the country's religious establishment:
Badawi was sentenced in 2013 to seven years in prison and 600 lashes. In 2014, he was resentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes.
While it may provide him with cold comfort, his efforts yielded him the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought yesterday. It is unlikely that he will be released to receive the award, and, indeed, should the lashings be carried out in full, he will die.

However, Mr. Badawi's plight may seem mild compared to what is facing young Ali al-Nimr, also a Saudi citizen who
was arrested at age 17 for participating in anti-government protests. The government has said he attacked police officers and rioted, but the only known evidence is a confession apparently extracted under torture that left him a bloody mess.
Now he is facing beheading and crucifixion:
His appeals following his court sentence for this grisly execution have been exhausted, so guards may lead Nimr to a public square and hack off his head with a sword as onlookers jeer. Then, following Saudi protocol for crucifixion, they would hang his body as a warning to others.
International outrage at his sentence appears to have had no impact on the Saudi government. Last month, a
group of United Nations human rights experts ... urged the Government of Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who was convicted for a crime reportedly committed as a child. He may be executed at any time.

“Saudi Arabia may so far this year have executed at least 134 people, which already represents 44 more than the total for the whole of last year,” they noted. “Such a surge in executions in the country makes Saudi Arabia a sad exception in a world where States are increasingly moving away from the death penalty.”
The lash and decapitation seem to be expressions of a worldview that can only be described as medieval and barbaric. In the country considered to be our ally, there are at least 16 'crimes' that warrant the death penalty, including murder, adultery, gay consensual sex, apostasy, consumption of intoxicants and sorcery and witchcraft.

To embrace and sell armaments to such a benighted nation says, perhaps, more than we would like to consider about our own country and principles, doesn't it?

UPDATE: In his response to this post, The Mound of Sound has pointed out some things that go much deeper than mere beheadings and crucifixions in Saudi Arabia. Take a look at what he has to say here and here. The implications are profoundly disturbing.

18 comments:

  1. There's more, Lorne, so much more. The radical Islam that underlies al Qaeda, ISIS and their branch operations is the state religion of Saudi Arabia.

    I came across an item this morning at one of the foreign policy sites I frequent. It related how the Americans were able to target and kill a key ISIS operative, a Saudi national (of course) who has directed recruitment for the extremist group and was also its conduit to process funding from the Gulf States. The bastards - the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Emirates sheikhs and princes - are still funneling money to ISIS. These are our supposed allies in the region. We wage wars without end to protect them.

    Much as we should despise them we have only ourselves to blame for the endless cognitive dissonance without which we couldn't keep this dark and murderous farce going.

    We refuse to see this for what it is - a small but critical part in a developing Muslim theocratic civil war - Sunni versus Shiite. We're the opening act.

    Isn't it curious how we're quick to slap endless sanctions on Iran when everything we complain about - the embassy bombings, the attack on USS Cole, the World Trade Center/Pentagon attacks, al Qaeda, al Nusra, ISIS - were all undertaken by Sunnis. What part of that can we not get our head around?

    This is madness. Iran stands there, squaring off against the far larger and wealthier Sunni states - who are furiously arming themselves with the latest and greatest - and a menacing West and a nuclear armed Israel, and we wonder why Tehran wants nuclear weapons?

    The Saudis are getting light armoured fighting vehicles from us but they're stocking up on tanks, artillery, jets, drones and everything else they'll need to attack Iran and we're looking the other way.

    http://the-mound-of-sound.blogspot.ca/2015/01/our-schizophrenic-war-on-terror.html

    http://the-mound-of-sound.blogspot.ca/2015/03/are-we-allied-with-sunni-arab-states.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for that valuable information, Mound. I shall post an update with links to the posts you listed. When I wrote this post I was thinking about what Robert Fisk said recently at a talk I went to, suggesting that ISIS is, in fact a weapon being used by Saudi Arab to fight the Shias:(http://politicsanditsdiscontents.blogspot.ca/search/label/robert%20fisk)

      Delete
    2. Hi, Lorne. I wasn't aware that Fisk had also come to that conclusion. I can't find the search function for your blog. The Saudis are preparing for a genocidal war against the Shia. Then defence min Prince Bandar bin Sultan expressly said that to former MI5 head, Sir Richard Dearlove. We know from Hillary Clinton state department cables leaked through WikiLeaks that the Americans know full well that the Saudi and other Gulf princes are funding this. Look at any map. Once ISIS defeats the Shia (alawites) in Syria and the Shiites of Iraq, they've got a clear path for Sunni armies to drive onto Tehran. And, by that point, what are we going to do to interfere? Nothing.

      I am deeply worried that these armoured vehicles Canadian (American) companies are supplying to the Saudis are intended to be used for wholesale genocide.

      Delete
    3. It was a very interesting presentation, Mound, and i learned a lot about the Middle East listening to Fisk. The fact that the West, as you indicate, seems to be turning a blind eye to this and is in fact supporting it is yet another sign that we seem to have learned nothing from the sad history of our involvement in the fates of sovereign nations.

      Delete
  2. I have had this discussion with my Cons voting neighbours who were very supportive of Harper's bombing of ISIL because the latter were barbarians who beheaded people. I had asked them why then they were not angry that Harper is supporting Saudi Arabia which is also beheading its own people. The answer was that Saudi Arabia was only beheading its own people whereas ISIL was beheading other people as well. Seriously.

    Either the Cons mind must work in mysterious ways, or that was a racist attitude where the lives of Saudis are not deemed as important as those of, presumably, westerners that ISIL had decapitated, no?

    These are some of the 32% who had voted for Harper on Oct. 19, and who our FPTP system had allowed to support an undeserved majority for Harper in Parliament for the last 4 years. Trudeau had better keep his promise about electoral reform or the real barbarians just might win power again through vote splitting, eh?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Real reform will require both electoral alteration and an informed and engaged electorate, Anon. Let's hope we get both.

      Delete
  3. Interesting post! Even so, I view the situation not as one in which pragmatism trumps principle, but rather in which competing principles vie for our attention and support. Reasonable people can disagree about how high in a hierarchy of competing principles "stability in the Middle East" and "jobs, jobs, jobs" ought to be placed.

    The newly elected Liberal MP in my riding has said that jobs are her #1 concern, putting the matter as follows: “When we have good-paying middle class jobs we address so many of the other challenges that we have.” I won't argue with that.

    The Liberals have made promises during the campaign. I think that whether or not (and to what extent) they keep those promises is a good test of their principles -- and of their pragmatism.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Point well-taken, Bill, although I do think the pursuit of allies and stabilizers in the Middle East has a very murky and mixed history, tainted with a greed that has ultimately backfired. One example would be the American-backed overthrow of the democratically-elected Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran in the fifties, which led to the rise of the Shah whose brutality led to the Iranian revolution, all because it nationalized its oil.

      Delete
    2. Bill, what "stability in the Middle East?" Where has the West, our side, succeeded in bringing stability? Where have we actually destabilized the region?

      Delete
  4. There is so much we refuse to see, Lorne -- and so much suffering which we allow to go unchallenged.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We seem to have a great capacity for willful ignorance, don't we, Owen?

      Delete
  5. Lorne, "adultery" is not a crime if Sheikhs in power do themselves. Few years ago I was in London, England, and I saw a lot of very expensive cars and expensive houses . I asked my friend, who was giving me tour, about the cars. He said they belonged to Saudi Sheikhs who come to London for call- girls. Such locations are exist in U.S. too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would appear that hypocrisy, LD, is not limited to Western politicians.

      Delete
    2. I thought you might find this interesting, LD. Every 4 days on average the Saudis brutally execute somebody for drug trafficking. This goes on even as Saudi princes smuggle tonnes of hard drugs - speed and cocaine - and get away even if they're caught.

      http://www.salon.com/2015/10/27/saudi_arabia_executes_people_over_drugs_while_its_princes_are_caught_with_tons_of_drugs_at_the_airport/

      Delete
    3. Wow! The hypocrisy here is stunning, Mound.

      Delete
  6. I would like to see the liberals stand on principle here Lorne. Trudeau should cancel the deal. Jobs, or no jobs. Are we really that desperate? Owen is right, "there is so much suffering which we allow to go unchallenged" We need to say no we will not support the suffering anymore in all of our dealings! Now that would be real change.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it would indeed be real change, but I am not hopeful of that happening, Pamela. Perhaps the best we can expect is that the new government will avoid such unsavory and immoral transactions in the future.

      Delete
  7. Mound, thank you for pointing more hypocrisy and ruling Sheiks and thank you for the link.

    All the 'crimes' pointed out by Lorne which result in executions don't apply to the male members of the ruling Sheiks.

    ReplyDelete