Riyadh (GPA) – In the past 24 hours, Saudi Arabia has cracked down on social media dissent at home and possibly also abroad.
The kingdom arrested 22 individuals for spreading dissent on social media. Other prominent activists abroad reporting on the Saudi war crimes against Yemen have recently had their Facebook profiles deactivated as well.
Western media spent last week covering Saudi Arabia’s so-called progress due to the recent decree lifting the ban on women driving. However, their continuation of other abuses remains underreported. Such was the case yesterday when Saudi authorities arrested 46 people; 22 for the charge of spreading dissent and 24 for stirring tribal divisions.
The newly formed Presidency of State Security (SPA) issued warrants for the 22 individuals “inciting against public order.” The kingdom recently established the SPA as the new primary agency handling counter-terrorism operations and domestic intelligence gathering.
Saudi top clerical body, the General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars, later issued a statement deeming the dissenters’ online activity a threat to “kingdom security and the unity of its people” going on to reiterate that they have “committed a dangerous crime” against the people.
It’s unclear precisely what the dissenters said or did at this point. That information may never fully come to light. Saudi Arabia has a history of arresting and even executing dissenters asking for fundamental human rights. Individuals who do not abide by their strict bastardized version of Islam — Wahhabism — are particularly at risk.
For months, the majority Shia town of Awamiyah has been under siege by Saudi security forces and subjected to bombs. Due to restricted media access within the kingdom, it is unclear exactly how many have died and how many homes have been destroyed.
It’s possible Saudi Arabia is cracking down on social media activists outside the kingdom as well. In the past few days, several activists within Yemen have had their Facebook accounts permanently deactivated. One of which includes a prominent English language activist reporting nearly hourly on the Saudi war crimes from Sana’a.
Of course, Geopolitics Alert cannot confirm that the Saudi authorities directly targetted any social media accounts abroad. However, it’s already known that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg has no problem working directly with Israeli authorities to crack down on Palestinian dissent. The same is likely true for places like Syria, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia as Facebook strives to enforce the establishment narrative and neoconservative agenda.
As Saudi Arabia faces military and diplomatic failure both in Yemen and abroad, they will likely continue their crackdown on activists and social media activity. It is important to mention that the kingdom just hit their 100th execution for the year.
The western media’s and U.S. government’s hypocrisy in regards to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies is astounding. How they can point the finger at nations such as Iran, Venezuela, or the DPRK yet ally themselves with the most notorious human rights abuser on the planet is indeed beyond logical thought.
Of course, human rights are of no concern so long as U.S. hegemony remains intact.
Founder and editor of Geopolitics Alert, Randi Nord is a US-based geopolitical analyst and content strategist. She covers US imperialism with a special focus on Yemen, Iran, and Lebanon. Born in Detroit, Michigan, she started learning about the media’s pivotal role in selling “humanitarian” interventions as a teenager during the aftermath of 9/11 and Iraq war. Randi Nord has lived in the Empire’s neoliberal tropical paradise (Kingdom of Hawai’i) and Lebanon. She frequently participates in the UN Human Rights Council as a guest of NGOs speaking about Yemen.