Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dozen teens flogged for role in rampage

A system that cannot be fixed

Director’s Comment:

Unlike their parents and grandparents, Saudi youth, men and women, are defying crippling fear instilled by their autocratic ruling elites and their institutions’ ruthless and barbaric punishments such as flogging, limb and head chopping in public squares. Tragically, the Saudi ruling princes continue their parents’ and grandparents’ pattern of ruling; force and humiliation are their answers to any public defiance and refusal of total submission to Wali Elamr, the masters of destiny (the king and his family).

According to severely controlled Saudi media and insiders, a few hundred Saudi young men, many of them under the age of 18, went on a fierce and destructive rampage through Alkhobar city in the oil rich region of Eastern Saudi Arabia. The rioters overpowered the ubiquitous layers of the feared Saudi security apparatus and inflicted considerable damage on private businesses mostly Western based franchises. Curiously, most of the rioters came from the Saudi capital city, Riyadh, the heartland of Wahhabi religious extremists who happen to form the power base of the Saudi ruling family.

For students and analysts of the Saudi ruling family, the Alkhobar riots present many paradoxes. Why did these young men traveled several hundred Kilometers on the Saudi National day instead of celebrating in their home town, the capital? Since several hundred young men took part in the riots, is it possible that the event was organized or orchestrated from outside the group and if so by whom? Was the riot a manifestation of the growing dissension between the religious community and King Abdullah who recently inaugurated a controversial co-ed university, “his gift to the World” as some Saudis maintain? Or was it instigated by powerful rival Princes such as Naif and Salman, the Minister of Interior and governor of Riyadh respectively to embarrass King Abdullah and undermine authority? Or was it a ploy by the ruling family to convince the international community, especially West, that only the House of Saudi can maintain stability and protect Western interests in Saudi Arabia?

It’s worth noting that the Saudi people, especially youth, are among the most oppressed, frustrated and socially and politically deprived people in the undemocratic Arab and Muslim countries. As has been practiced under the Saudi-Wahhabi system of ruling by fear and intimation, the government responded by immediately rounding up the rioters and flogging them in a public square without any trial or other legal proceedings.

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