21st Century Wire says…
In the New American Century, the concept of ‘human rights’ has become a relative concept.
The recent Saudi execution of the Shi’ite cleric and political activist Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr served as a reminder that the political establishment in Washington DC, and its media counterparts, may wax lyrical about ‘human rights,’ but at the end of the day its guiding principle is Vladimir Lenin’s who, whom dictum.
Sheikh al-Nimr was accused by the Saudi government of inciting terrorism and encouraging sedition. The cleric was a firebrand for sure and he made no qualms about expressing his loathing of the Saudi-Wahhabi regime that has oppressed the Shi’ites of the Arabian peninsula for over a century, his actual “crimes” wasn’t waging a violent campaign against the government, but daring to call for an end to the vicious institutional discrimination of Shi’ites and demanding they be treated as equal to their Sunni fellow citizens. It should be noted that the Saudis encouraged violence and terrorism among Sunnis in Libya and Syria during the advent of the so-called Arab Spring, but ruthlessly suppressed al-Nimr and other Saudi Shi’ites seeking political and social reforms at the same time. The could be said for the Saudi-backed quelling of Shi’ite protests in nearby Bahrain.
That the Wahhabi establishment in Saudi Arabia hated and feared Sheikh al-Nimr and would not stand for his challenging their power comes as no surprise, the Saudi government is no friend of its resident dissidents and a pathological hatred of Shi’ites is firmly engrained in the government – sponsored Wahhabi sect’s theological outlook. So in light of that, the actions of the Saudis is hardly surprising.
What is perhaps, at least superficially, more surprising is the response of American politicians…
Former Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby briefs reporters (Image Source: WikiCommons)
‘Optics’ Not Ethics
At the U.S. State Department, John Kirby offered up only that the White House had some vague “concern” about human rights, and refused to make a more decisive condemnation, despite the fact the State Department routinely denounces other governments for far less.
Leading Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said the execution raises “serious questions,” though she never explained what these questions were, nor did she make a direct condemnation. One might wonder if Hillary’s muted response would have anything to do with the many millions of dollars in donations made to her globalist war chest, the Clinton Foundation by the Saudis.
Among the neoconservative pundit class, as outlined by the journalist Jim Lobe, the execution of al-Nimr was dismissed as a ‘minor’ item, or worse, outright defended, on the (false) pretext that the cleric was a ‘Iranian agent of influence’ (and therefore deserving of his fate). Lobe offers this quote from FOX News pundit and Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer defending the Saudis, and taking a swipe at Obama for being insufficiently bellicose with Iran:
“Just last week the U.S. responded to the firing of the missiles, illegal firing of the nuclear-capable missiles by Iran by threatening trivial sanctions and then actually canceling, or postponing the sanctions, when the Iran protested and said they would increase their production of missiles. In other words, the U.S. would not even respond to an open provocation on the missile issue, and what they read is complete abandonment. They are now on their own, and then they’re not going to have to face the Iranians and their allies on their own. And if that means they have to execute a Shiite who is an insurrectionist in their country, he’s got to be executed.”
Krauthammer would have us believe that history started five minutes ago, and that someone like al-Nimr only exists because of the sinister machinations of Tehran’s ayatollahs, abetted by Obama’s “strategy of retreat.” This being the narrative promoted by the neocons and their fellow travelers in the in the American media, including an increasing number of what amount to shills on the Saudi payroll.
Another example of this anti-Iranian narrative being standardized is to be found in an interview Congressman Ed Royce (R), chair of the Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs, gave to CNN in which he dissembled about the al-Nimr execution, instead blaming Iran and going as far to state that Saudis aggressive anti-Shi’ite policies is justified because of the supposed presence of the Iranian military in neighboring Yemen, an even more extreme and dishonest variation of the since debunked conspiracy theory that Iran is the secret hand behind the Houthi militia that ousted the Yemeni president previously installed by the Americans and the Saudis. In a most ridiculous case, Royce accuses Iran of trying to overthrow Middle Eastern regimes, which is rich coming from a man who has ardently supported the American “regime change” wars in Iraq and Libya.
Despite all the lofty rhetoric from Washington about human rights, democracy, and freedom for minorities, the response to the beheading of Sheikh al-Nimr are a reminder these things are merely rhetorical devices to undermine foreign governments that are insufficiently compliant toward Washington – as human rights concerns are dismissed for those regimes that are willing to do Washington’s bidding, and who have cash to throw around to politicians, think tanks and media outlets.
Make no mistake: the execution of Sheikh al-Nimr didn’t ‘just happen’ as per usual – it was planned, as were the reactions that we are currently witnessing on our TV screens. This event was designed to trigger a chain reaction of power-politics and forced-sectarian strife in the region – just as the assassination of assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand did in 1914.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia continues to prosecute one of the most brutal wars ever seen in Yemen (and hardly a tear from president Obama).
For Washington, all that matters now is who, and whom.