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ICC Note: This is a good piece that points out the ironies and hypocrisy of Western Democracies and their interactions with the Saudis.
Two-Faced Oil Sheiks Who Trade In Terror

Saudi Arabia/UK (for the full story, go to the Daily Mail) The arrival (to the UK) yesterday of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on a state visit has already generated more than the usual share of hypocrisy from both sides of a relationship built not on affection but on oil and commerce.
. . .
Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells has spoken of the ‘shared values’ between our two countries.

What shared values? Was he thinking of Riyadh’s ‘Chop-Chop Square’ where adulterers and thieves lose heads or arms under the kingdom’s brutal Sharia law?

Was he referring to the scores of Saudi political dissenters executed and tortured every year?

Perhaps he meant the Saudis’ treatment of women who are, in effect, kept under house arrest, banned from driving or leaving their home without a male guardian and made to dress ‘modestly’ – in other words covered from head to toe.

. . .In the coming days, the Saudis will claim that both Osama Bin Laden and the 15 Saudi 9/11 hijackers had no deeper connection to the culture and mores of the kingdom than that they were born and educated there.

. . .For the truth is that for nearly three decades now, the Saudis have been exporting their indigenous extremists (ICC Note: and persecution) all over the world.

It was in 1979 that Saudi fundamentalists – fuelled by mass unemployment as well as the vast wealth, corruption and hypocrisy of the royal dynasty – stormed and occupied the holy shrine at Mecca, killing and capturing hundreds of pilgrims.

The Saudi authorities retook the mosque but they placated the growing unrest by introducing a religious crackdown and ensuring that strict Islamic codes were enforced.

They also encouraged fundamentalists to find trouble elsewhere – to go to Afghanistan and fight the atheist Soviets, even providing them with cheap flights and cash for weapons.

In this way, the authorities played a major role in financing what coalesced into Al Qaeda, whose leader, Bin Laden, is the spoilt scion of the largest Saudi construction firm.

. . .Equally disturbingly, Saudi Arabia has used its vast oil wealth to purvey on a global scale the austere Wahhabist strain of Islam on which the Saud dynasty’s legitimacy rests, but which poisons young minds and fuels murderous anti-Jewish and anti-western resentment.

. . .In Ethiopia, the Saudis have built hundreds of mosques, giving its poor citizens bribes of £300 a time to convert to Islam.

In neighbouring Somalia, a failed state which Islamist extremists are endeavouring to take over, Saudi-style religious police – the Mutawiun – now patrol the streets looking out for such dangerous manifestations of western culture as Barbie dolls.

Far more serious inroads have been made by Wahhabists through the thousands of madrassas they have established in Pakistan and the pasatrens in Indonesia, the two most populous Muslim states.

Instead of a decent school system which might equip boys and girls for gainful employment, these religious seminaries teach them rote learning of the Koran and a host of noxious attitudes.

Michael Burleigh’s Blood and Rage: A Cultural History of Terrorism will be published in February by HarperCollins.