Why is Hillary Not Defending the Rights of Saudis to Protest?
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been exhaustively in front of cameras promoting the right for people to protest in Egypt, Bahrain, Iran, and Libya. She’s been touting the freedom to use social networking sites as a way for Arab people to organize against their oppressive regimes. Now, the Administration is even considering arming the opposition in Libya.
Clinton’s perpetual propaganda efforts exposed her blatant hypocrisy when a silent peaceful protester was violently removed from one of her recent speeches on the very subject. However, the hypocrisy now seems to go much deeper in her deafening silence over the prospect for protests in Saudi Arabia.
After Human Rights Watch revealed that a nationwide “Day of Rage” protest had been planned in Saudi Arabia for this week, March 11th, Bloomberg reported that the Saudi government claims that demonstrations and marches are “strictly” prohibited by law. A Saudi Interior Ministry official said protests “contradict Islamic values” and “They harm public interest, infringe on the rights of others, spread chaos and lead to bloodshed.”
This prohibition of popular dissent proves beyond a shadow of doubt that Saudi Arabia is indeed the most tyrannical authoritarian regime in the Arab world. Yet, U.S. Administration officials have been strangely silent about supporting the people’s uprising there. Perhaps they think the protests won’t be large enough to warrant a response. Well, that certainly didn’t stop their best propaganda push to stoke the puny protests in Iran, so the size or ferocity of unrest shouldn’t matter to their exploits of supposedly backing human freedom. And one would think that given what has happened to oil prices due to the unrest in Libya and Egypt, even a minor protest in the largest oil-producing dictatorship in the world would draw more public response from the White House.
Or perhaps the Administration believes that the hastily-crafted $35 billion social aid package ordered by King Abdullah will be enough to tamp down escalating tensions in Saudi Arabia. So far, there have only been reports of small Shiite protests in Saudi Arabia, mostly demanding the release of political prisoners held by the Sunni monarchy.
These protests would seem to be very minor in comparison to the sea of people revolting in Cairo. However, the revolutionary whispers must clearly be getting louder as the Saudi stock market plummeted 11% in just two days of wild trading to its 7-year low on fears of civil unrest. It’s noteworthy that the plunge was reportedly led by large banks and insurers.
If Clinton is to stand by her new-found rhetoric, certainly she’ll call for restraint on the part of the Saudi government should a protest erupt, right? And surely she’ll demand that the kings of Internet censorship in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia, will open communication channels so the people can freely unite, right? And if push comes to shove in Saudi Arabia, she’ll definitely support arming the people’s opposition to the royal family, right? Eh hum . . . don’t count on it.
Regardless, many analysts believe the Saudi regime is the next to fall with or without the prodding of the U.S.