The report was publicly presented in the Human Rights Council in Geneva, and the fact that it was presented in front of the entire world raised the ire of the Saudis, who accused Amnesty and the Council of double standards. The Saudis are extremely furious toward Amnesty specifically, and the West in general because the Saudi says to himself: “Look at these hypocrites: they travel to work in a car powered by Saudi fuel, fly first class all over the world in jets that fly on Saudi fuel, sit in a fancy air conditioned office powered by electricity from Saudi oil, run a country with banks that are based on Saudi money, and spit into the Saudi oil well that allows them to live so comfortably and criticize the Saudis so sharply “.
The problem is especially grievous when Western criticism touches on the status of women and their rights in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi ban on women walking in the street without the accompaniment of a man, and the ban on women driving, voting or being elected is a religious and cultural matter, and the Saudis are totally unwilling to accept the dictates of cultural colonialism from the West, which wants to measure them, their values and their customs and traditions, against Western criteria. The Saudi is amazed: “What makes the Western, materialistic and permissive infidels think that they are better than we are?
The negative view of the Shi’ites in East Saudi Arabia stems from the Wahhabi concept that Shi’a is a sort of heresy at its core. The ever-present suspicion that the Shi’ites are biased toward Iran makes the Saudi regime apprehensive about the residents of the Eastern area, where the country’s oil reserves are located, under the Shi’ites’ feet. The Saudi regime constantly suspects that Iran is trying to undermine it, with the support of the Shi’ite minority, so who gave Amnesty the right to stick its nose into such a sensitive matter as Saudi national security?
Recently a number of “human rights” organizations, especially Amnesty, began criticizing the way the United States uses drones in the battle against al-Qaeda and its subsidiaries, in Pakistan and Yemen. These organizations claim that not only terrorists are killed in these attacks, but innocent citizens are killed as well. The effort that the United States invests in locating the terrorists and eliminating them does not impress these organizations, and they intend to bring the public figures that are involved in operating the drones to trial for war crimes.
Saudi Arabia also suffers from terror carried out by the organization al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), mainly from those of its people who took shelter in tribal areas of Yemen. Every few weeks, the United States eliminates world jihad operatives in Yemen, apparently with the support of Saudi intelligence. Now, here come the Western bleeding hearts organizations, demanding to stop the Western drone operations against al-Qaeda, the enemy of the West and Saudi Arabia. Is this how the West conducts itself? Is this how we can count on the West? On one hand it fights terror and on the other hand tries to tie the hands that are fighting it? This Western hypocrisy discourages the Saudis from cooperating with us at all.
The activity of Western organizations like Amnesty arouses doubts among the Saudis about how closely they want to affiliate themselves with the West. If the Western countries allow Amnesty to operate within their countries against Saudi Arabia and make it a target for the arrows of unjustified and illegitimate criticism (in the Saudi view), and if Western organizations act against the war on terror, then why should the Saudis maintain a relationship with Western countries? Perhaps they should form ties with Russia and China, countries that do not burden Saudi Arabia with annoying questions about human rights, and don’t bother the royal house with matters that make no sense to them like the rights of women and foreign workers?
The United States is losing its influence in this country as well, because of its attachment to President Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood movement. The United States even froze part of its annual aid to Egypt, which very much angered the Egyptians. Even if the Egyptian army can manage if the supply of American weapons is stopped, by cutting back the aid, Obama has dealt a severe insult to the Egyptians who are proud of themselves, their country and the history of their people over thousands of years. Just for comparison: How old is the United States?
About the Author: Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Ph.D. Bar-Ilan U.) Served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. A lecturer in Arabic at Bar-Ilan U., he is also an expert on Israeli Arabs.
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