Following the currents of Saudi opinion on the media and especially the more spontaneous social media is becoming more interesting than ever. The traditional media is not as important anymore, since it is owned, controlled, or otherwise preempted by the rulers and their oligarchy allies. This applies to other Gulf countries as well.
The various shades of the Wahhabi opposition in Saudi Arabia are now very active on social media. They are now the most active, more active than the ‘traditional’ liberal (or the Wahhabi-liberal?) opposition. For one, the Wahhabi opposition are more driven and more ambitious, as more extreme groups often are, than the traditional opposition. They are more absolutist and more active, which sometimes makes them the ‘main opposition’ by sheer noise and default. Remember Lenin and Trotsky and the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks? Or Khomenie and the Tudeh Communists and the Mujahideen-e-Khalq? Or Hitler and von Hindenburg?
And the educational system and the theocratic bureaucracy still reinforce their ideology of excommunicating and killing the ‘others’.
The Saudi Wahhabi opposition has lately been trying to make a case for the existence of a secret alliance between the Al Saud and the resurgent Houthis in Yemen. They also try to make a case for a secret alliance between the Al Saud and Bashar Al Assad, between the Al Saud and the ruling Shi’a-Kurdish blocs in Iraq: plotting against the ISIS Caliphate and, in their words, “against the Sunnis”. During moments of wild clarity they even tie the Al Saud to Hezbollah of Lebanon, their main nemesis in the eastern Mediterranean. Need I elaborate on where this is leading? No, it it clear that this all leads to Tehran and Qom, via Karbala and Najaf.
To wit: the Al Saud, alleged guardians of the Wahhabi right, are in fact secret allies of the Shi’a left. But the Wahhabi and no-so-Wahhabi argument is commonly heard along the Paranoid Persian Gulf that the mullahs of Iran and their allies from Baghdad to Damascus to Beirut are secret allies of the United States. Hence, they are secret allies of Israel (to the delusional faithful it is a.k.a. TZE: The Zionist Entity).
This paranoia is more frenzied than ever these days, as the nuclear talks move on and the U.S.
Knesset Congress has calmed down about its idiotic lobbyist-driven drive to bomb and maybe invade Iran. (BTW: how come the U.S. Congress never threaten to bomb North Korea, for example? Is it because it is not Muslim? Is it because of the aforementioned TZE? Is it both?)
One conclusion drawn by some of the leaders of this Wahhabi opposition is that “the Al saud will never execute Shaikh Nimr Al Nimr” (the Shi’a cleric who was sentenced to be beheaded and crucified). They opine this conclusion:”the Al Saud will never dare execute him“, they write regretfully. This is supposed to be proof that they are in cahoots with the ‘unbelievers’. Or maybe they are just trying to dare the rulers into chopping the head of Al Nimr and crucifying him.
“A well-known Shiite cleric was sentenced to death Wednesday by a court in Saudi Arabia, sparking fears of renewed unrest from his supporters in the kingdom and neighboring Bahrain……….. Al-Nimr had faced charges that include disobeying the ruler, firing on security forces, sowing discord, undermining national unity and interfering in the affairs of a sisterly nation. A statement by the cleric’s family described the verdict as discretionary, saying the judge had the option of ordering a lighter sentence. The family said the verdict sets a “dangerous precedent for decades to come. Prosecutors asked for execution followed by crucifixion…………”
Mr. Obama famously claimed last month that he was “proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with allies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, etc, etc……….” That is what we can politely call doublespeak: I doubt that privately he is really proud of it: no American can or should be.
So, maybe he will get an invitation to attend this execution of Al Nimr, this beheading and crucifixion, in a public square. It is, after all, a moderate Arab execution, carried on by a tolerant freedom-loving, democracy-seeking family oligarchy that is trying hard to liberate Syria (and probably Iraq) for the joys of Wahhabism. And, more important in this case, it is tinged with the aroma of petroleum and lucrative weapons deals and not an insubstantial dose of the odor of corruption.
Al-Nimr was arrested under suspicious and almost certainly phony pretexts, a common practice of Saudi internal security services. His will be only the latest of many executions by beheading and crucifixion in the Kingdom Without Magic. Yet his case sets a terrible precedent: he is an activist cleric who avoided violence and is very popular with the native Shi’as of the Eastern Province. I have heard and watched him in action: he may be the best and most-stirring Arab orator of recent times. Perhaps that dangerous charisma, so different from the distinctly un-charismatic and uninspiring Al Saud, is what made him such a target of their malevolence. No doubt his harsh sentence also somehow fits into the power struggle raging between Saudi princelings over who will inherit the throne and the peoples of the Arabian Peninsula from the current elderly rulers.
Al Nimr‘s name means Tiger in Arabic. It could be an omen: the princes could be riding a wilder tiger than they think.
(FYI: Death by beheading is the method used in the Wahhabi kingdom. This year so far more than 50 people have been reported beheaded by the sword. Sometimes the convict is also crucified, depending on the crime. So the regime must be truly angry with cleric Al-Nimr. The biggest one-day ‘batch’ of Saudi executions by beheading that I know of occurred in September of 1989. That was when 16 young Kuwaiti Shi’as were executed by beheading in the kingdom. Probably all in one day. It was done North Korean style: there was no prior media report of a trial or an appeal. They were accused of plotting bombings in Mecca, a strange and blasphemous thing for any Muslim to plot. Nobody knows what happened to them after that. To this day the Saudis insist on keeping their remains. They refuse to send the bodies, the remains, back home to their families. The dead remain in forced exile among their executioners).