And the violence caused such silence
What if the removal of Saddam Hussein was alright because he was an evil dictator with demonstable links to Al Qaeda?
Would that make it alright?
Would we be okay to move in on any country we considered to be a threat to global security? An ally of global terrorism? A friend to Osama bin Laden?
Saudi Arabia is an extremist state. As wikipedia says:
"Under the authoritarian rule of the Saudi royal family, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has enforced strict laws under a doctrine of Wahabism (a fundamentalist interpretation of sharia, Islamic religious law). Basic freedoms as described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are not allowed; capital punishment and other penalties are often given to suspected criminals without due process. Saudi Arabia has also come under fire for its oppression of religious and political minorities, torture of prisoners, and attitude toward foreign expatriates, homosexuality, and women. Though major human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly expressed concern about the states of human rights in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom denies that any human rights abuses take place."
Abuses of human rights are apparently commonplace. According to an Amnesty report in 2003, torture, flogging & bodily mutilation (the amputation of hands and feet) were common for even minor offences. People were executed for "apostasy, witchcraft, sexual offenses and crimes involving both hard and soft drugs". In the wake of 9/11, over 500 arrests were made with the suspects being held without access to lawyers or judicial proceedings (the names of the detainees were kept secret by the state).
In spite of this appalling record, foreign governments have supplied Saudi Arabia with tools that could be used to torture or ill-treat prisoners. For example, between 1980 and 1993 the US government authorized licences worth $5 million under the category OA82C, which includes thumb cuffs, leg irons, shackles, handcuffs and other police equipment.
They are also one of the world's largest buyers of defence equipment: total defence spending was estimated at US$ 18.2 billion in 1997 alone. Amongst those to have benefitted from this largesse are the USA, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Italy and Belgium.
So far so bad. It gets worse.
15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens.
Members of the Saudi royal family and Saudi officials have been linked to the hijackers, and may have provided them with financial support.
Some of this evidence appears to have been covered up by the Bush administration. 27 pages were cut from a 900 page report released by the US senate intelligence committee in 2003. The missing pages are said to discuss the link between the terrorists and the saudi government.
To top it all, Osama bin Laden himself was born and raised in Saudi and has close links with the ruling dynasty.
I don't know about you, but this all seems to add up to some kind of case that Saudi Arabia was fairly heavily involved in the 9/11 attacks. 15 of the 19 hijackers. Just think about that for a minute.
So why Iraq? Why the hell didn't we storm into Saudi Arabia and demand to know what the hell was going on? Regime change sounds like it might be a good idea here too.... Saddam is no angel, but these guys don't exactly smell of roses....
total value of exports ($m) 7,587
total value of petroleum exports ($m) 7,519
proven crude oil reserves (million barrels) 115,000
total value of exports ($m) 92,029
total value of petroleum exports ($m) 84,908
proven crude oil reserves (million barrels) 262,730
On July 31, 2003, Saudi Arabia and the United States signed an agreement to strengthen commercial and investment relations. As a result, the U.S.-Saudi Council for Trade and Investment was established to meet at least once a year to enable representatives of both countries to review the signing of additional agreements on trade, protection of intellectual property rights, investment, vocational training and environmental issues. With almost 300 joint ventures, American companies are the largest group of foreign investors in the Kingdom.
source: saudi embassy
US Exports to Saudi Arabia: $3737m (compared to 669.2 to Iraq)
US imports from Saudi Arabia: $14,545m (compared to 6098.3 to Iraq)
Source: US Census Bureau
Hmmmm. Surely it can't be to do with the massive amount of trade the USA is doing with Saudi Arabia? It can't be their dependence on importing Saudi oil?
In our haste to overthrow Saddam, and with our eyes fixed firmly on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, have we been overlooking one of the major sources of instabilty in the middle east? in the world?
I want answers.
forgot to mention - this debate started over here at AravisArwen's place....