Saturday, 4 July 2015

The Saudi cringe

Margaret Thatcher was not colour-prejudiced. She was prejudiced against the poor, which, seeing as how Africa and Asia house the poorest populations on earth, may have looked like the same thing. An illustration of how she was blind to colour or creed if a person or nation were rich enough comes from recently-released papers.

The trouble is that the cringe to the Salafist kings continues, for commercial reasons. Saudi Arabia is a significant customer for British armaments and support services. We turn a blind eye to regular judicial beheadings, to extreme sexual discrimination in the area and most recently to the Saudis' effectively invading the neighbouring state of Yemen because the wrong brand of Islam looks like taking over there.

We are expected to go along with the same opposition to Shi'ism. Hence our allowing Syria, also an effective dictatorship admittedly, but one which tolerated other sects and faiths, and one with a more liberal and ancient civilisation, to fall into anarchy. As a result, the unique Yazidi culture is on the brink of extinction, along with one of the most ancient Christian communities.

Ironically, the Americans who set the house of Saud on its road to domination because of the US thirst for petroleum are no longer so dependent on the Middle East as a source. Their foreign policy in future may be less biased by a need to keep the Saudis onside.

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