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Saudis Back Status Quo, Not Freedom

July 13, 2011

In an interesting Reuters analysis, Saudi Arabia is shown to be shoring up its own interests in the Gulf Region, as it relates to the Arab Spring revolts.

Saudi Arabia has helped damp down democracy movements sweeping the Arab…

After witnessing the sudden collapse of rulers in Egypt and Tunisia this year, the Al Saud family that monopolizes power in Saudi Arabia orchestrated Gulf Arab moves to stop the unrest from spreading through the Gulf region.

Saudi, United Arab Emirates and Kuwaiti forces went to Bahrain in March to help crush protests threatening to force the ruling family there to make democratic changes.

Saudi Arabia is considered, by many, to be the quintessential Arab Muslim state:  Islam is the state religion.  Shari’ah is the law.  Yet we see the House of Saud preventing democracy movements in certain Gulf countries.  It appears that they may be more interested in acting out of self-preservation, than anything else.

Riyadh was the prime mover behind a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) proposal to enhance relations with Jordan and Morocco in an apparent effort to boost other Arab dynastic systems.

Don’t get me wrong, Saudi Arabia can make whatever diplomatic moves they wish, for whatever reasons they wish.  The more fundamental point to be made, however, is a Shari’ah compliant Arab Muslim country is choosing not to back democratic reforms in other Arab Muslim countries. 

Yet, Muslim academics and jurists go to great lengths to claim that Islam supports the principles of freedom and democracy.  Some go further and claim that democracy was born out o f Islam.  If that were the case, why would Saudi Arabia support reform movements in some Arab Muslim countries, and not others?

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