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Saudi Arabia Executes 47

Even-Handed Beheadings in Saudi Arabia; Friends Must Be Friends

Saudi Arabia executed 47 people today in the biggest mass execution since 1980. Those executed include Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shi’ite Muslim cleric.

Some were beheaded, others shot. Don’t worry, there’s nothing to be concerned about, the executions were “even-handed”.

Please consider Saudi Arabia Executes Prominent Shia Cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

The execution on Saturday morning of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a staunch opponent of the ruling Al Saudi family, has further stirred sectarian tensions in the Gulf and triggered threats from regional rival Iran.

The Iranian foreign ministry accused Saudi Arabia of supporting terrorist movements and extremists abroad while confronting domestic critics with oppression and execution. “The Saudi government will pay a high price for following these policies,” the Iranian foreign ministry said.

One activist said that 45 of those executed were al-Qaeda members and sympathisers, with the other two being Shia.

Many of the charges related to terrorist attacks that took place during the al-Qaeda insurgency that was put down a decade ago.

Shia activists have denied that Sheikh Nimr was involved in violent resistance, but many Saudis argue that his incitement against the government was tantamount to terrorism and often defend his death sentence.

The activist said the government probably executed Shia dissidents at the same time as al-Qaeda sympathisers to back its claim to be taking an even-handed approach in its crackdown down on terrorism. The Shia minority in the oil-rich eastern province has for years complained of discrimination.

The Saudi Press Agency report, citing the Koran, said: “The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off from opposite sides, or be exiled from the land.

“Even-Handed” Defined

Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr’s crime was speaking out against the government.

In order to get rid of al-Nimr, Saudi Arabia had to get rid of 46 others, mostly Al Qaeda or alleged Al Qaeda sympathizers.

As further proof of even-handedness, al-Nimr was not crucified for his alleged “mischief in the land.”

We would not want to crucify people for mischief would we? Beheadings are far more appropriate.

Iran Warns of High Price to Pay

The Telegraph reports Saudi ‘will pay high price’ for execution of top Shia cleric, warns Iran.

Saudi Arabia executed prominent Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on Saturday, stirring a chorus of condemnation and sectarian anger across the region.

Nimr was a talismanic figure in protests that broke out in 2011 in the Sunni-ruled kingdom’s east, where the Shia minority complains of marginalisation. His arrest in July 2012 sparked days of protest.

Hundreds of Shias marched through Nimr’s home district of Qatif in protest at the execution, eyewitnesses told Reuters news agency, chanting “down with the Al Saud” in reference to the Saudi ruling family.

Describing the executions as acts of “mercy” to prisoners who might have committed crimes on their release, Saudi Arabia’s leading cleric, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, said they were carried out in line with Islamic law and the need to safeguard the kingdom’s security.

Acts of Mercy

There you have it. Not only were the executions “even handed”, they were also “acts of mercy”.

Global Response

Iran: Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman accused Riyadh of hypocrisy. “The Saudi government supports terrorist movements and extremists, but confronts domestic critics with oppression and execution,” said Hossein Jaber Ansari.

Lebanon: Lebanon’s Supreme Islamic Shia Council called the execution a “grave mistake”

Iraq: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said it would have repercussions on regional security.

Germany: A German foreign ministry official said Nimr’s execution strengthened “existing concerns about increasing tensions and deepening rifts in the region”.

UK: From Guardian: Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, responded to news of the executions by describing capital punishment as abhorrent, and called on the prime minister to do more to pressure foreign governments into abolishing the death penalty. Britain’s shadow foreign secretary, Hilary Benn, described the execution as “profoundly wrong”. However, “prime minister David Cameron insists UK must have close ties with Saudi Arabia”.

Bahrain: Striking image from one of the protests in Bahrain. The banner reads “to hell with you”.

image: https://tatamkuluafrica.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/a2435-bahrain2bprotest.png?w=300

Protester holds a banner saying “to hell with you” as she takes part in a protest against the execution of Saudi Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi authorities, in the village of Sanabis. Photograph: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters

US Response

In the US, there was deafening silence from president Obama as well as our state department. And why not? After all, those executions were “even-handed acts of mercy” by our Saudi friends. What else can possibly be said?

When your friends sponsor terrorism and execute their own citizens simply for being dissidents, you just have to look away. Friends must be friends, otherwise they aren’t friends. And in the drive for perpetual war, Saudi Arabia is the biggest friend we have.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Read more at http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2016/01/even-handed-beheadings-in-saudi-arabia.html#3kiigbqlpevgAx5s.99

Iran Follow
Iran warns of ‘divine vengeance’ over Shia cleric execution
Ayatollah Khamenei lashes out as Saudi embassy in Tehran is set ablaze
TOPICS MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE
Iran
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People protest in front of Saudi Arabia’s embassy during a demonstration in Tehran January 2, 2016. Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran early on Sunday morning as Shi’ite Muslim Iran reacted with fury to Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shi’ite cleric. REUTERS/TIMA/Mehdi Ghasemi/ISNA ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
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AN HOUR AGO by: Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran
Iran’s supreme leader said Saudi Arabia would face “divine vengeance” for its execution of a prominent Shia cleric as heightened tensions between the two Middle Eastern superpowers threaten to stoke the flames of a vicious sectarian conflict across the region.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged the world, including Islamic countries, to react to Saturday’s decision by the Saudis to put Nimr al-Nimr to death along with 46 other people it said had terrorist links.

“Undoubtedly, the unjustly spilled blood of this oppressed martyr will soon have its effects and divine revenge will grip Saudi politicians,” Mr Khamenei said on Sunday, although he stopped short of making any direct threats.

The US State Department said it was “particularly concerned that the execution of … Nimr risks exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced”.

The execution of Saudi’s most prominent Shia cleric threatens to further fuel a power struggle with Iran in the region, particularly in Syria and Iraq where both accuse each other of fanning a sectarian war between Shia and Sunni Muslims.

Dozens of Iranian hardliners on Saturday stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran and set it ablaze.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards vowed “tough revenge in the not-too-distant future” that would “trigger the collapse” of Saudi rule.

It called for unity among Muslims to foil what it called part of a “Zionist conspiracy” carried out by “the fanatic” rulers in Riyadh who “train terrorists” to fan splits between Shia and Sunni Muslims.

Iran’s centrist president Hassan Rouhani also criticised Saudi’s rulers for what he called an “un-Islamic act” that he said would “further tarnish Saudi image in the world in particular among Islamic countries”.

“Such an act is in line with sectarian policies to fan terrorism and radicalism in the region and the world,” Mr Rouhani said on Sunday.

But at the same time his government sought to prevent further escalation of tensions by urging hardliners to take their next rally on Sunday afternoon to downtown Tehran, which is far away from the Saudi embassy.

Power struggle
Saudi Shiite women hold placards bearing portraits of prominent Shiite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr during a protest in the eastern coastal city of Qatif against his execution by Saudi authorities, on January 2, 2016. Nimr was a driving force of the protests that broke out in 2011 in the kingdom’s east, an oil-rich region where the Shiite minority of an estimated two million people complains of marginalisation. AFP PHOTO / STR / AFP / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Executions fuel Saudi-Iran regional rivalry
Brewing crisis could derail behind-the-scenes efforts to resolve civil wars in Syria and Yemen
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Hossein Jaber Ansari, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, urged protesters to respect diplomatic immunity and not to gather in front of Saudi embassy and its consulate in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad.

The Tasnim news agency, close to the elite Revolutionary Guards, said there were no diplomatic staff inside the embassy when Saturday’s attack occurred. The agency also denied rumours that Iran was evacuating its embassy in Riyadh.

Police dispersed the crowd while firefighters extinguished the blaze inside the embassy. Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, Tehran’s prosecutor-general, said 40 protesters had been “identified and arrested”.

There was heavy police presence around the Saudi embassy a few hours after the attack while some of the building’s white façade was tainted with smoke.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for Arab affairs who summoned the Saudi envoy on Saturday, accused Riyadh of being “the top culprit behind growth of terrorism and radicalism in the region”.

Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, Iran’s hardline judiciary chief, also said that Saudi Arabia tried “to cover up its failures in the region” but the executions would “prove the viciousness of al-Saud family to the world and will trigger the end of Saudi unjust rule”.

The Big Read
Saudi Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz attends a meeting with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (unseen) in the Saudi Capital Riyadh on October 13, 2015. France announced a series of deals worth 10 billion euros ($11.4 billion) with Saudi Arabia to reinforce links with the conservative Islamic kingdom despite persistent criticism from rights activists of the kingdom’s record on civil liberties. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Saudi Arabia: The wake-up call
Ensuring stability will be crucial for Riyadh’s power brokers as they face discontent and war
Read more
According to the official Saudi Press Agency, Saturday’s executions took place in 12 locations across the kingdom.

The statement said the accused — 45 Saudis, an Egyptian and a Chadian national — had been found guilty of carrying out and planning terrorist attacks on Saudis, foreigners, diplomats, security personnel and oil installations.

One activist said that 45 of those executed were al-Qaeda members and sympathisers, with the other two being Shia.

Many of the charges related to terrorist attacks that took place during the al-Qaeda insurgency that was put down a decade ago.

The charges outlined in the statement also seemed to refer to the claims previously made against Nimr, namely “calling for the shooting of security forces by firearms and throwing Molotov bombs”.

Shia activists have denied that Nimr was involved in violent resistance, but many Saudis argue that his incitement against the government was tantamount to terrorism and often defend his death sentence.

Additional reporting by Simeon Kerr in Dubai

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. You may share using our article tools. Please don’t cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

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Saudi Shiite women hold placards bearing portraits of prominent Shiite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr during a protest in the eastern coastal city of Qatif against his execution by Saudi authorities, on January 2, 2016. Nimr was a driving force of the protests that broke out in 2011 in the kingdom’s east, an oil-rich region where the Shiite minority of an estimated two million people complains of marginalisation. AFP PHOTO / STR / AFP / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
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COMMENTS (44)
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EdoRoshi 23 minutes ago
Iran is complaining about the Saudi justice system when it holds a number of Americans on b.s. falsified charges. Iran should get used to drinking its own medicine.

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Namely 1 hour ago
2+2=3 vs 2+2=5
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Eric Cantona 1 hour ago
Divine vengeance and killing in the name of god. Is it time to ban religion completely?

At the very least censor it and avoid our children’s minds being corrupted with religious indoctrination before the age of 16 say. A bit like how we control access to other corrupting vices like porn and alcohol….
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Phily 1 hour ago
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/23/executions-iran-1000-this-year-amnesty-international

Iranian authorities or media acknowledged 246 executions from Jan 1 to July 15 2015, Amnesty says much more. Maybe a few of them were deemed Saudi agents?
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theweakestlinkseeswhereyourloyaltieslie 1 hour ago
Surprised the Saud approach is not tempted by the expediency of simply executing all of their Shia minority….? The outrage would be rather larger but reaction….?

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theweakestlinkseeswhereyourloyaltieslie 1 hour ago
Self-righteousness, self-indulgence, ignorance, arrogance – call “it” what you will, it is what Christianity and philosophy identify as the source of evil in the world, and is a pre-requisite for the self-defeating idiocy of rivalry. Devilishness comes from deviance and deviousness is why we wonder what is wrong with the world. Scarcity is not a practical problem, it is a political one. Self-indulgence leads to trespass. Trespass leads to affront. Affront leads to recrimination. Recrimination leads to resentment. Resentment leads to retaliation. Retaliation leads to rupture. Rupture leads to strife. Strife leads to war. In the long run, before we are all dead, we are defending ourselves from premature death at the hands of another. Hobbes must be looking down in despair at his unheeded and unimproved urgings.

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Coase Theorem 2 hours ago
I wonder if the Saudis were hoping that this could be presented as an anti-IS batch of executions in the West and that the Shiia cleric’s death would slip through unnoticed?

Or is it all a big “F U” to everyone – the West, Iran,
ReportShare3RecommendReply
Hephaestus of London 1 hour ago
I wonder if the Saudis saught prior consent from the US.

In other words, the Shia death was the price to pay for the saudis agreeing to eliminate IS supporters?
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HELLO55 2 hours ago
Oil prices up next week ?

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The real greybeard 2 hours ago
@HELLO55 Wouldn’t that be nice.

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maljoffre 2 hours ago
Robert Fisk of the Independent writes about the Saudi beheadings, compares them to Isis and questions our attachment to the kingdom. Article has a revealing photograph of Saudi Arabia’s Defence and Interior Ministers:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/saudi-arabias-executions-were-worthy-of-isis-so-will-david-cameron-and-the-west-now-stop-their-a6794046.html
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maljoffre 3 hours ago
Well, “only” three Shia beheaded including an advocate for democracy in a country where the minority Shia have no civil rights does not seem very many and the correction is warranted. The process of decapitation, however, is not without interest and explained in this link to Newsweek. Incidentally, a young man who was a teenager when he protested for democracy and human rights in Saudi Arabia has been convicted and is scheduled for beheading AND crucifixion, in that order:

http://europe.newsweek.com/when-it-comes-beheadings-isis-has-nothing-over-saudi-arabia-277385?rm=eu
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The Zeus 2 hours ago
Interestingly, there is no western media coverage and even western Governments reaction of the case! Strange, huh?

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Gulliver 2 hours ago
@maljoffre and to think that this very same country was helped by the UK to gain a seat at the UN High Commission for Human Rights.

Now the Saudis have a good seat to keep our hands tied as the flood of Muslim “refugees” come in to smoother us.
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About tatamkuluafrica

I am a man who has lived n 6 of the 7 continents. I first arrived in Africa on April 18, 1981. Africa has been a part of my life since. I spent 8 months living in a Xhosa village in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. I was given he nickname Tatamkulu Africa. In Xhosa it means "Grandfather Africa." In April of 1994 I was allowed to vote in the first democratic election in South Africa..I was honored to be part of such a historical moment. It was a beautiful and a magical day.

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