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Withdraw from Riyadh By: Myles Kantor
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, January 14, 2002


IN DECEMBER 2001, police in Orlando, Florida arrested Saudi Princess Buniah al-Saud for beating her maid and throwing her down a flight of stairs. The princess is the niece of Saudi King Fahd Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al Saud.

What else should one expect from a scion of despotism?

Historian Richard Pipes observes in his recent Communism: A History:

The totalitarian state aims at obliterating all distinctions between itself and the citizenry (society) by penetrating and controlling every aspect of organized life. It attains this objective with the help of the ruling party, which enjoys a political monopoly and governs with the assistance of a security police endowed with unrestricted powers.

Totalitarian to the core, the Saudi royal family maintains power through systematic terror and foreclosure of civil society. Political parties and assemblies are forbidden, media cannot criticize the royal family, and the Minister of Information determines editorial composition. If Friedrich Hayek wrote in The Road to Serfdom of a world "where men could at least attempt to shape their own life, where man gained the opportunity of knowing and choosing between different forms of life," suffocation of opportunity and choice characterizes a Saudi’s world.

The regime’s religious policies are especially barbaric; apostasy is a capital crime. Therefore, a Saudi who reads the Old Testament and converts to Judaism can be executed. (And woe unto a homosexual in Saudi Arabia, for this too is a capital crime.)

Saudi women live in helotry. They cannot drive or receive medical treatment without a male relative’s consent and must obtain their closest male relative’s permission to leave the country.

As evident in its prohibition of apostasy and organs such as the Mutawwa'in (religious police, formally the Committee to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice), theocracy is intertwined with Saudi totalitarianism—Wahabbism in this instance. Wahabbism is a fundamentalist Islamic sect founded by Mohammad Ibn Abdul-Wahhab in the 18th century. (Unsurprisingly, advocating a separation of mosque and state in Saudi Arabia is also a crime.)

The Saudi potentates inculcate Wahabbism within the country and abroad through madrassas (Islamic schools) which foster the savagery that attacked America on September 11. Ali Al-Ahmed, a Shi’a Muslim who grew up under the Saudi regime, cautions: "Bin Laden learned this [Wahhabism] in Saudi Arabia. He didn't learn it in the moon. That message that Bin Laden received, it still is taught in Saudi Arabia. And if bin Laden dies, and this policy or curriculum stays, we will have other bin Ladens." (Jake Tapper discusses the royal family’s exportation of Wahhabism in February’s Talk magazine.)

Add to this apparatus of persecution, captivity, and anti-Americanism that the royal family harbors the butcher of Uganda, Idi Amin. During his reign of terror from 1971 to 1979, Amin murdered 300,000 people, expelled Asian Ugandans, and perpetrated other atrocities. For an account of Amin’s butchery, see Henry Kyemba’s A State of Blood. (Kyemba was Amin’s Minister of Health and fled Uganda in 1977 when he learned his murder was imminent.)

Given the Saudi regime’s totalitarianism, it is shocking that America maintains diplomatic relations with these barbarians. Many applauded last October when Rudolph Giuliani returned a $10 million check from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal after he criticized America’s policy toward Israel. Why was this totalitarian clansman allowed in America in the first place?

"As the twenty-first century dawns, the vibrancy of the U.S.-Saudi relationship, based on multifaceted interests in the political, economic, business and humanitarian fields, remains secure, " the American embassy in Saudi Arabia states on its website. This collaboration with tyranny buttresses the monarchy’s barbarism and brings to mind Bassam Tibi’s observation in The Challenge of Fundamentalism: Political Islam and the New World Disorder: "It seems not to disturb the West that in Saudi Arabia there are no foreseeable prospects for democratization whatsoever."

Bin Talal states in an interview with Newsweek, "Look, America has to face reality if they don’t want to fight terrorism for the next 100 years…I recommend to the United States—as a friend—you’ve got to address the roots of the problem."

America must indeed face reality and recognize that neither His Highness nor his despotic ilk is America’s friend. Addressing the roots of the problem entails repudiating these slave masters.

The American embassy in Riyadh is a monument to moral and strategic incoherence. The War against Terror will lack authenticity as long as it exists.

Myles Kantor is a columnist for FrontPageMagazine.com and Director of the Center for Free Emigration, a human rights organization dedicated to the abolition of state enslavement.  His e-mail address is kantor@FreeEmigration.com.


Myles Kantor is a columnist for FrontPageMagazine.com and editor-at-large for Pureplay Press, which publishes books about Cuban history and culture. His e-mail address is myles.kantor@gmail.com.


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