How do you punish the principal global purveyor of fundamentalist Islam, someone who backed the Taliban and continues to harshly suppress political freedoms, women and religious minorities?
If you’re President Bush, you reward him with a state visit, of course!
During his current Middle East trip, Bush is looking in on a rogues’ gallery of U.S. allies, from Bahrain and Egypt to the United Arab Emirates and Israel. But King Abdullah’s Saudi Arabia occupies the pride of place.
“The government places strict limits on freedom of association, assembly, and expression,” writes Human Rights Watch in its roundup of conditions in the kingdom in 2006. “Arbitrary detention, mistreatment and torture of detainees, restrictions on freedom of movement, and lack of official accountability remain serious concerns. Saudi women continue to face serious obstacles to their participation in society.”
All this means that the United States is basically willing to overlook the Saudi regime’s noxious export of Wahhabi fundamentalism around the world and its appalling record at home. A few years ago, Bush accorded King Abdullah the rare honor of hosting him at his Crawford ranch, and is now furthering his friendship by dropping in on his buddy.
What’s a few human rights violations between friends?
Read the entire story here.
And then there's this headline: "Saudi detains activist ahead of Bush visit"
RIYADH • Saudi Arabia has detained another reform activist, a colleague said yesterday, in the latest of a series of measures against government critics ahead of a visit by US President George W Bush.Oh yeah, there he is 'aspreadin' democracy wherever he goes ....
Mohammed Al Bijadi was detained by state security police in the northern town of Buraida on Wednesday, Matruk Al Faleh said.
Bijadi was previously held for three months over his role in two protests by women over the indefinite detention of their husbands, Faleh said.
Critics say the authorities have exploited their battle with militants to crackdown on democracy campaigners, who face a revolving door of arrest, release and re-arrest.