If ISIS had sentenced an internationally renowned poet to death on trumped up charges of “renouncing Islam,” it would be highlighted endlessly across Western media until the public was sufficiently salivating for war against the latest CIA-invented enemy.
When one of America’s closest allies does it…not so much.
It wasn’t long ago that I commented on a separate example of Saudi barbarism related to the case of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, a teenager sentenced to death by crucifixion for political dissent. Here’s a quick summary from that post:
A Saudi teenager is facing death by crucifixion in his home country of Saudi Arabia on charges activists say are politically motivated.
After being arrested, al-Nimr was held in jail and not allowed to speak to a lawyer. According to the British legal aid group Reprieve, al-Nimr was subject to torture to extract a forced confession. A closed appeals process — which he was not invited to and occurred without his knowledge — dismissed any remaining possibility that the nation’s legal system would prevent his biblical execution.
So how did the illustrious “global community,” embodied by the inept and corrupt UN decide to honor Saudi Arabia for consistent and well documented crimes against humanity? By selecting it to head its human rights panel, of course.
Now back to the topic at hand, the artist, Ashraf Fayadh, who was recently sentenced to death for “renouncing Islam.” The Guardian sums up the situation nicely:
A Palestinian poet and leading member of Saudi Arabia’s nascent contemporary art scene has been sentenced to death for renouncing Islam.
A Saudi court on Tuesday ordered the execution of Ashraf Fayadh, who has curated art shows in Jeddah and at the Venice Biennale. The poet, who said he did not have legal representation, was given 30 days to appeal against the ruling.
Fayadh, 35, a key member of the British-Saudi art organisation Edge of Arabia, was originally sentenced to four years in prison and 800 lashes by the general court in Abha, a city in the south-west of the ultraconservative kingdom, in May 2014.
But after his appeal was dismissed he was retried last month and a new panel of judges ruled that his repentance did not prevent his execution.
Fayadh’s supporters believe he is being punished by hardliners for posting a video online showing the religious police (mutaween) in Abha lashing a man in public. “Some Saudis think this was revenge by the morality police,” said Kareem.
Isn’t it cute that one of the U.S. government’s closest allies has a “morality police.” Where are the Hollywood celebs when it comes to the Saudis? Crickets, as usual.
The religious police first detained Fayadh in August 2013 after receiving a complaint that he was cursing against Allah and the prophet Muhammad, insulting Saudi Arabia and distributing a book of his poems that promoted atheism. Fayadh said the complaint arose from a personal dispute with another artist during a discussion about contemporary art in a cafe in Abha.
He was released on bail after one day but the police arrested him again on 1 January 2014, confiscating his ID and detaining him at a police station until he was transferred to the local prison 27 days later. According to Fayadh’s friends, when the police failed to prove that his poetry was atheist propaganda, they began berating him for smoking and having long hair.
The case highlights the tensions between hardline religious conservatives and the small but growing number of artists and activists who are tentatively pushing the boundaries of freedom of speech in Saudi Arabia, where cinema is banned and there are no art schools. Abha, which has become a hub for contemporary Saudi art, has been a focal point for these disputes in recent years. An anonymous collective of film-makers who set up a secret cinema in the city in October 2012received death threats from hardliners.
“He was instrumental to introducing Saudi contemporary art to Britain and connecting Tate Modern to the emerging scene,” said Stapleton. “He curated a major show in Jeddah in 2013 and co-curated a show at the Venice Biennale later that year.
Adam Coogle, a Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch, said Fayadh’s death sentence showed Saudi Arabia’s “complete intolerance of anyone who may not share government-mandated religious, political and social views”.
Of course, gross human rights violations against it’s own citizenry is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Saudi crimes. Indeed, the reason ISIS and Saudi Arabia have so much in common is because ISIS is essentially nothing more than the spawn of Saudi money and ideology. Don’t believe me? Here are a few excerpts from the post, Additional Details Emerge on How U.S. Government Policy Created, Armed, Supported and Funded ISIS:
“It was well known at the time that ISIS were beginning serious plans to attack Iraq. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey played a key role in supporting ISIS at this time, but the UAE played a bigger role in financial support than the others, which is not widely recognized.”
Intelligence was not precise on the exact timing of the assault, one source said, but it was known that various regional powers were complicit in the planned ISIS offensive, particularly Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of $1.29 billion in smart bombs to Saudi Arabia to help replenish supplies used in its battle against insurgents in Yemen and air strikes against Islamic State in Syria, the Pentagon said on Monday.
The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which facilitates foreign arms sales, notified lawmakers on Friday that the sales had been approved, it said in a statement.
The sales reflect President Barack Obama’s pledge to bolster U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia and other Sunni allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council after his administration brokered a nuclear deal with their Shiite rival Iran.
Yes, the Gulf “allies” that fueled and funded ISIS since day one.
The agency said the sale would help the Royal Saudi Air Force’s (RSAF) replenish weapons supplies that are becoming depleted due to high demand for multiple counter-terrorism operations, while providing reserves for future missions.
“This acquisition will help sustain strong military-to-military relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia, improve (the ability of Saudi forces to work) with the United States, and enable Saudi Arabia to meet regional threats and safeguard the world’s largest oil reserves,” it said.
That right there is the only statement worth paying any attention to.
Saudi Arabia, one of the largest buyers of U.S. weapons, was approved in September for a potential second sale of 600 Patriot-PAC-3 air defense missiles made by Lockheed Martin Corp, a deal valued at $5.4 billion.
Last month, the U.S. government also approved the sale to Saudi Arabia of up to four Littoral Combat Ships made by Lockheed for $11.25 billion.
The only question is whether the acquisition of “smart bombs” will cut down on the number of Yemeni wedding parties bombed by the Saudis?
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