Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Saudi Arabia Takes Cautious Step Into Twenty-First Century

Or maybe just the thirteenth century; but it’s a start anyway. Saudi King Abdullah has shown that Islamic extremists actually do have a few limitations.

On Saturday he had a big shake-up which included firing the chief of the religious police. He also fired a high-ranking sheik who had advocated murdering the owners of TV stations that broadcast “immoral” programs. Sorry, Pat Robertson — looks like your swashbuckling hero went all secular on you.

Saturday’s shake-up also included appointing a woman as a deputy minister — the highest position a woman has ever obtained in Saudi Arabia. He also changed the makeup of a powerful religious organization, giving more representation to moderates.

These changes are significant in and of themselves. But the fact that the king’s shake-up was even possible is even more telling. This indicates that the vast Saudi ruling family and the all-powerful religious establishment might be starting to lighten up just a little. Otherwise King Abdullah — who does not have absolute power — wouldn’t have been able to make these changes.

In a note of irony, Christian Fundamentalists and Dominionists — who would just love to establish a Christian theocracy in America — are probably ecstatic over this little bit of secular freedom in an Islamic theocracy.

It’s that same schizoid mindset that a lot of Americans displayed during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s when Poland was developing a fledgling labor movement. A ray of sunshine! A beacon of freedom behind the Iron Curtain!

Then the same people would read about a labor dispute somewhere in the U.S. and go “those commie labor unions!”

cross-posted at Bring It On!



Blogger People in the Sun said...

But will he make Obama kiss his cheek and hold his hand as they go for a stroll? I think the real sign of progress will come when the Saudis move to hand-shaking.

February 15, 2009 at 11:51 AM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

I can't get very enthused about S.A. and what it does because the U.S. and its leaders are scared spitless of the Saudi Arabia's rulers. We're utterly dependent on their oil. Our leaders know it and so do theirs.

The scariest part is how that elephant in the room is almost never mentioned openly and discussed rationally. Most 9-11 highjackers and most foreign fighters caught or killed in Iraq have been Saudis. The story for suicide bombers is similar. I don't now if it was the most, but a very significant amount of funding going to al Qaeda since 9-11 has been traced to Saudi individuals, families and "charities."

When the U.S. invaded Iraq, the Saudis wouldn't let us fly troops in or fly combat missions from the fabulously costly Prince Sultan Air Base out in the middle of the S.A. desert (there because Saudi rulers wanted no fraternization between our military people and their citizens). Since it was of no use to us, given the Saudi policy, our fearless misleader quietly ordered the abandonment of Pince Sultan A.B., which was very quietly handed over as one extremely expensive gift to the needy Saudi royal family and its government.

So, while it's nice the king appointed a female deputy minister, I wish more Americans were well enough informed to put that piece of news in perspective.

February 15, 2009 at 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Bee said...

I thought this was a pretty major development in a country that even has a Religion & Vice police squad.

And yeah, people call unions socialist bugaboos, but the fact is: Reagan did not cause the Berlin Wall to come down. The Polish labor movement, spearheaded by Lech Walesa, and supported by (suprise) the Pope. So, those two did far more to help along the collapse of the Soviet experiment than Reagan ever did.
Oy, that was a tangent, eh? :)

February 15, 2009 at 4:06 PM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

Normal. McCarthyists never understood just how much like Stalinists they were, did they? Today's wingtards don't either.

February 15, 2009 at 8:49 PM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

Bee, I have to disagree. The Afghanistan war and utterly foolish military spending caused the USSR to extend itself, debt-wise. They extended themselves to a point that Gorbachev knew coming in that they either had to change or die. He tried to manage the change, but for a broke country with a seething population, it was too little, too late. The wall fell because its builders couldn't afford to shore it up anymore.

I can think of at least one other country that might well be in a similar position.

February 15, 2009 at 8:52 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

PITS: LOL, can't wait for that first photo of Obama and the Saudi prince walking hand in hand.

SW: No argument about Saudi Arabia. The whole relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia is so full of irony and shady deals and Orwellian doublespeak -- I doubt if any of us can imagine the extent.

Mostly I wanted to point up the irony of gung ho "Christians" being horrified by Islamic religious police, even though they'd just love to have that same thing here in America.

Bee: Good point. I think Al Gore summed it up in the 1992 debates when he said "Reagan taking credit for the collapse of the Berlin Wall is like the rooster taking credit for the sunrise."

JR: True, the wingnuts and McCarthy types would never grasp (or admit) how much they have in common with Societ dictators. Maybe it's an example of Freudian "projection."

I agree about Reagan and Gorbachev; they were both spending themselves into bankruptcy building up their armies and invading other countries. Russia blinked first, but it was absurd for Reagan to come out of that looking like a hero.

February 15, 2009 at 9:47 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Our American fundamentalists LOVE to see other nations remain fundamentalist OR to go secular... it makes them easier to paint as enemies either way. First, strict adherence to any religion besides a narrow interpretation of Christianity = the devil. Second, anything secular = the devil, although if an Islamic nation starts going secular it at least gives our fundamentalists the hope that maybe Christianity can make inroads in that country.

I think taking over the world is the ultimare goal of fundamentalists, anyway. It's all about power, reallya about nothing else.

Re. Reagan looking like a hero, he is especially a hero only to those Americans who are extremely wealthy, because his efforts were major in reversing the part of the New Deal that redistributed wealth by instituting high income tax rates on the wealthiest Americans.

I think Reagan was an awful president. For him to become a hero because he said "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" or whatever is absurd. A close look at the details of our economy over the last 30 years reveals him for the scoundrel he was.

February 16, 2009 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Yeah, it's funny how devoutly religious people want religious freedom, but only in countries that have a different religion. Like you said, maybe the Bible fanatics get their hopes up when the Moslem authorities lighten up just a little; maybe there'll be a foot in the door for Christian missionaries someday.

Reagan was pretty much a preview to GW Bush. He started this perverted process; Bush finished it. Now we all have our work cut out for us.

February 16, 2009 at 7:16 PM  
Anonymous Bee said...

Jolly, What I said (badly, admittedly) was that the polish labor movement helped it along more than Reagan. I didn't say it was the sole cause, because it wasn't. It was one of several, but still far more than Reagan ever could hope to have taken credit for.

Somebody on cable last night, maybe CSpan was rating the presidents in order of their horrible-ness. Did anyone catch which number Reagan was? I missed that part...

February 17, 2009 at 5:59 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Bee: I saw an article about that in the Sunday paper, rating every president from best to worst. (I assume that's what you're talking about.)

I think Reagan was fairly near the top; God only knows why. And Dumbya was only the tenth worst president. That's just not possible.

February 17, 2009 at 7:21 PM  

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