My mission is not to tell you that you-know-who is fabulously ignorant, since I’m sure that whoever reads these pages will be more than aware of that. Nor is it a matter of honour for me to convince you that his ignorance is his most endearing quality.
My mission is, rather, to point out that due to his ignorance, he repeatedly puts his foot in the mouth and exposes the rest of us, for which I am grateful, since we all have an awful lot dirty linen lying around.
Yes, ignorance can create the most embarrassing situations. When the US president went to visit Saudi Arabia, a country notoriously known for human rights abuses (e.g. the war on Yemen, the torturing of political dissidents and the suppression of women and alien workers) he virtually genuflected to his Saudi counterpart, according to Washington Post, without apparently realising that Wahhabi Saudi Arabia is suspected of being the principle financier of Islamic extremism in Europe. I quote Washington Post:
Almost every terrorist attack in the West has had some connection to Saudi Arabia. Virtually none has been linked to Iran.
Wahhabism is named after the eighteenth century activist Muhammad ibn Abd Al-Wahhab, whose teachings inspire the official, state-sponsored form of Sunni Islam in Saudi Arabia, and also – please note – the ideology of ISIL/ISIS.
With the help of funding from Saudi petroleum exports, the movement underwent explosive growth beginning in the 1970s and now has worldwide influence. The US State Department has estimated that over the past four decades the capital Riyadh has invested more than $10bn (£6bn) into charitable foundations in an attempt to replace mainstream Sunni Islam with the harsh intolerance of its Wahhabism. (Source: Wikipedia as at 17/6/17).
What puzzles me is why we all need to be such buddies with Saudi Arabia. For instance, according to the Guardian, the UK recently found, when the laundry was taken out of the washing machine, that every piece was grey. There the press is getting restless about UK-Saudi relations in the wake of the recent massacres of civilians on the streets and in concert halls, the genocidal war on Yemen, and by a strange and apparently irrational boycott of Qatar, a tiny country with an important, global news outlet, Al Jazeera.
Now, Qatar is also a Wahhabi state, just like its neighbour Saudi Arabia. But unlike the Saudis, Qatar is on civilised terms with Iran and the country’s stance on the Moslem Brotherhood and Hamas is nuanced. What’s worse, from a Saudi perspective, is that Qatar is doing extremely well, whereas Saudi Arabia is amassing colossal debts and will soon run out of funds. Is there reason to suspect that Saudi Arabia hopes to annex Qatar?
The US president suffers from a visceral loathing of Iran and played right into the hands of the Saudis. Qatar, they told him, is supporting Iranian terrorism. The president was more than willing to believe them. He signed the largest arms deal in American history on 20/5/2017, claiming that this would create “jobs” for Americans. Amazingly, attempts to block the deal in the Senate failed on 13/6/2017. Just imagine what the Saudis can do, not only with tanks and weaponry but also with the radar, communications and cybersecurity technology they have been promised! Truly, the thought should make your hair stand on end.
While many analysts tend to focus exclusively on Saudi oil and the country’s leading position in OPEC when explaining the West’s shameful relationship with Saudi Arabia, I believe we need to take a closer look at Saudi Arabia’s fascinating consumption of arms. Why is the country so obsessed with weaponry? I find that Newsweek has an interesting take on the matter. Here are a few tidbits:
Additionally, … religious restrictions within Saudi Arabia make it nearly impossible for the kingdom to diversify or grow its non-oil economy. … Thus, as discussed in “Why the Saudis May Be Preparing for a Real War”, due to … a steady decline in the relative importance of oil in the world economy, …. hawks within Saudi Arabia’s political establishment may have decided to grow their economy not internally but externally, through conquest and violent expansion. Accordingly, Saudi Arabia has dedicated 13 percent of its gross domestic product to its military for six years and has become the largest per capita purchaser of weapons in the world.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Teresa May is embarrassed in more ways than one. Not only is Saudi Arabia probably grooming potential terrorists among marginalised British citizens (e.g. the victims of the recent ghastly fire and their friends and relatives), but the UK economy depends on that distant medieval country. I quote the Economist:
The war in Yemen has certainly been lucrative. Since the bombardment began in March 2015, Saudi Arabia has spent £2.8 billion on British arms, making it Britain’s largest arms market, according to government figures analysed by Campaign Against Arms Trade. America supplies even more.
Let’s face it, however, the US and the UK are not the only countries who depend on arms sales to Saudi Arabia.