Washington D.C. (GPA) – While western mainstream media focuses on alleged human rights abuses and a creeping “dictatorial regime” in Venezuela, a genuine human rights catastrophe is taking place in Saudi Arabia.
One of the strongest and closest U.S. allies in the middle east region is not a democracy but a monarchy: Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom meets dissidence with violence. Religious diversity is not tolerated, in fact, it’s deemed a national security threat. Minorities face a life of oppression. Women have virtually no basic rights as citizens.
But the Saudis’ strict rule and oppression extend beyond their borders as well. For the past two years, they’ve attempted to bomb and invade neighboring Yemen into oblivion. Which given the circumstances could arguably fit the definition of genocide.
Despite all this, the United States not only tolerates but encourages the Kingdom’s actions. And of course, mainstream media mirrors this attitude in their reporting.
Al-Awamiyah: a Saudi Town Under Siege
For the past few months, Saudi authorities have initiated a virtual holocaust on citizens in the Shia-majority town of al-Awamiyah located in the country’s eastern province of Qatif. Citizens are subjected to bombs, a siege, a stiff military presence, and forced evictions.
“Residents have been pressured in many ways, including through power cuts, to vacate their homes and businesses without adequate alternative resettlement options, leaving them at best with insufficient compensation and at worst, with nowhere to go,” UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha stated in April. Almost four months ago the UN urged Saudi Arabia to halt forced evictions and home demolitions.
Unfortunately, things have only gotten worse since then. While Saudi government forces carry out what many would consider fitting the description of genocide, western media such as the New York Times paints quite a different picture by portraying the very victims as aggressors. But anyone with knowledge of Saudi Arabia’s intolerant, violent, and bastardized version of Islam– Wahhabism– knows better than to believe this nonsense.
Forced evictions, power cuts, restricted movement, and military force. Indeed, it seems Saudi Arabia is taking notes on oppression directly from Israel’s playbook.
14 Activists Facing Beheading
The Kingdom has already executed 66 citizens in 2017. At least 14 more face imminent beheading for participating in anti-government protests. Saudi officials arrested one young man– just 17 years old– at the airport as he prepared to leave for school at Western Michigan University.
Despite only making up between 10 and 15 percent of the Saudi population, Shia Muslim residents are sentenced to death significantly more often than their Sunni counterparts and subjected to unfair sham trials. In 2013 Saudi officials initiated a violent crackdown on Shia dissidents asking for things like basic human rights. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s the same reason western media provided for justifying the U.S. intervention in Syria.
Hypocritical Outrage Over Venezuela
If western media outlets genuinely cared about human rights, Saudi Arabia would make front page news on a daily basis. But their atrocities are rarely even mentioned.
What does make front page news, however, is Venezuela. Why? Because the United States doesn’t care about human rights, they care about U.S. assets and profits. Venezuela is an oil rich country. The socialist government of Venezuela takes power away from U.S. companies and puts that power into the hands of the Venezuelan government and its people. Which directly affects profits for U.S. entities.
This is why the CIA has invested millions into the right-wing Venezuelan opposition. This is also why U.S. officials didn’t bat an eye at Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s constitutional reforms which secured his grip on power– U.S. assets weren’t at risk. Nicolás Maduro faced immediate sanctions from the U.S. for his government’s recent reforms. Why did Erdoğan not face the same fate?
The fact that the United States will not initiate a regime change in Saudi Arabia– despite pressing and chronic human rights abuses– tells the public all they need to know about U.S. intentions in countries like Syria and Venezuela.
Also published on Medium.