Nothing in the world is more expensive than oil. It’s more precious than my life, your life, and everyone else’s lives. It has been called the “black diamond”. Yet, I have underestimated the price of oil until today. Drilling for oil means drilling into human bodies, shedding blood and confiscating rights.
The Land of Hijaz, better known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is not only the home of the radical Salafists, but also one of the world’s largest exporters of oil. More than 300 years ago, Al-Saud took control of the Land of Hijaz changing its name into Saudi Arabia. Today the royal Al-Saud family controls the wealth of Saudi Arabia and preaches Salafi Islam or what’s better known as “Wahhabism” which considers all minorities in the kingdom as “infidels”. Without oil, the Al-Saud dynasty couldn’t have survived for so long. Without allies buying its oil, Saudi Arabia wouldn’t have been able to send troops to attack peaceful civilians in Bahrain.
Apart from extreme Salafi groups who equate disobeying the ruler of Saudi Arabia to disobeying God, the government of Saudi Arabia enjoys the support of what many would consider the most powerful government in the world: the government of United States of America backs the Saudi government in exchange for oil.
According to the US Department of State: ”Saudi Arabia is one of the leading sources of imported oil for the United States, providing more than one million barrels of oil a day to the U.S. market. The U.S. is Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner, and Saudi Arabia is the largest market for US exports in the Middle East.”
In order to maintain good American-Saudi good relations, the entire world is obligated to remain silent about the various human rights violations in this kingdom of fear. The United States has condemned human rights violations in Syria, and would intervene there if the situation permitted. At the same it has failed to say a word about oppression in Saudi Arabia.
Let’s take a look on some of the violations in the kingdom of Al-Saud. In addition to attacking peaceful protestors in the neighboring monarchy of Bahrain, the Saudi authorities oppress their own people in incredible manners. People are not allowed to endorse any social, political, or religious way of life contrary to “Wahhabi” law.
Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive cars. Any woman found behind the wheel can be arrested for violating the “cultural norms” of the Saudi society. Women can’t take a paid job, sign an official document or even marry without the permission of a male relative. That male relative could even be her son.
In order to clean up the image of his kingdom, King Abdullah Al-Saud proposed a new law allowing women to vote and stand for office in the municipal elections. The White House welcomed the reform efforts, whilst ignoring a new proposed “anti-terror” law. According to the Draft Penal Law for Terrorism Crimes and Financing of Terrorism, questioning the integrity of the King or the Crown Prince would carry a minimum prison sentence of 10 years. Although Amnesty International received a copy of the draft law on July 2011, until now no action has been taken by the government of United States to condemn the excesses of its ally. According to the draft law, a special court would have the permission to detain without charge or trial for up to a year, and to extend such detention indefinitely. In theory, torture and ill-treatment are not prohibited in Saudi prisons but the Minister of Interior – Prince Nayef Al-Saud, who is now the Crown Prince – could take any action towards a suspected detainee under a security case. Accusations of plotting to overthrow the government could lead to death sentence.
I can’t list all of the Saudi human rights violations in this article, but I will mention few more. According to Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia has the highest rate of executions in the world. I don’t know if Al Saud and their religious authorities are proud of that. The death penalty applies to a range of crimes that are considered non-violent acts, such as witchcraft, sexual offenses and apostasy. Anyone living in Saudi Arabia is at the risk of being beheaded after a sham trial. Flogging and amputations are used extensively: I’ll avoid being too graphic with my descriptions.
Finally, Saudi minorities are oppressed. Brutal attacks on Shia villages in Eastern Saudi Arabia are a routine. Recently, hundreds have been killed, injured and arbitrarily arrested in the Eastern Qatif Province after protesting peacefully to demand an end to the discrimination practiced by the Saudi authorities against them. The blood of those who have been killed in the recent protests is evidence of Western hypocrisy. This blood is evidence of the social, political, and religious injustices in Saudi Arabia.
The kingdom of Fear is selling cheap oil in an attempt to maintain global silence about its human rights violations. Oil is more valuable for the government of United States and other western countries than the basic rights of ordinary people living in the Land of Hijaz.