Saudi protests highlight US hypocrisy

As unrest in the Arab world continues the Obama administration finds itself in a bind when it comes to undemocratic nations it actively supports.

A planned Day of Rage in Saudi Arabia was nearly scrubbed as the laws prohibit demonstrations. However, many did come out and voice their opposition to the Saudi government.

The nation is actively supported and praised by the US and is highly undemocratic. It is a known abuser of human rights, including its well known apartheid like attitude towards women. The White House’s failure to address concerns over Saudi Arabia’s record reflects a 70-year-old policy of US administrations ignoring abuses against both the Saudi people ant American citizens.

Fear over losing a strong Arab ally and threatening the Middle East oil supply, past US presidents have been too afraid to confront the Saudis.

Michel Chossudovsky, the director of the Center for Research on Globalization in Montréal, Canada said Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States are US protectorates, they are oil economies dependant on US protection and interests.

There were protests in eastern Saudi Arabia,” he said, but argued it was more of a media show than anything else. “This Saudi event was a little bit exaggerated by the media.”

Many protesting or speaking out are not Saudis of citizens of the Gulf States, he said. They are migrant workers who are not calling for pro-democracy, but other demands. In addition, some protestors were seeking closer ties to Islam.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States have openly spoken against the governments in Libya and elsewhere experiencing protests. However, they have not addressed their own Chossudovsky, he said.

The US has no interest in unrest in the Gulf region, and neither does most of the west. The states in that area boast US supported autocratic regimes, similar to what Mubarak was in Egypt, he argued.

There’s a lot of media distortion in what is happening in the Middle East,” said Chossudovsky. “We all lose from that. The people of the Middle East are not getting democratic governments.”