The Guardian reported on Saturday that “[d]ozens of Saudi men caught dancing and ‘behaving like women’ at a party have been sentenced to a total of 14,200 lashes, after a trial held behind closed doors and without defence lawyers.”
The very next day, in the UK Independent, we learned that the Saudi government had executed six men “without sentence,” bringing “the total [number of executions] so far this year to 40, more than the country’s 33 executions in the whole of 2004.”
And today, respected Saudi Arabia analyst John Bradley writes that the Saudi regime…
…is not giving up power or changing its historically repressive domestic policies in the face of opposition, but — more predictably — closing ranks and reasserting its totalitarian rule. Emboldened by its success in the domestic “war on terror”, which got under way only after their rule was directly threatened, the al-Saud is flexing its other muscles so that the masses, too, are left in no doubt that it is back in total control.
The Bush administration’s reaction: a call for the Saudis to commit to basic human rights principles? A stern diplomatic admonition?
How about a prized invitation to President Bush’s Texas ranch for Saudi crown prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz.