It's the year 2015, but Saudi Arabia is meting out punishment like it's 799. On Monday, the Wahhabist-run kingdom beheaded its 45th person this year, which according to Amnesty International is more than "four times the number of people executed in the Gulf Kingdom during the same period last year -- 11." The human rights group notes that about half the executions have been for drug-related offenses.
On average, Saudi Arabia executes about 80 people a year, with 87 in 2014 according to AFP. At his torrid clip, the country is on pace to behead more than 180 people this year. One of those could be 31-year-old Raif Badawi, the blogger who was arrested in 2012 for "insulting Islam" (as if Islam has feelings), and was subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes, and the equivalent of a $257,000 fine. He received the first 50 lashes publicly in January. Now, according to Badawi's family, he will be charged with apostasy. As they noted in a Facebook post, that "offense" is punishable by beheading under Saudi law (and also Islam's Hadith):
The regime responsible for this barbarism of course, is a longtime close ally of the United States. Those extremists in the oil-rich House of Saud have enjoyed great favor with the so-called beacon of the free world for some 80 years, and this is a testament to the hollowness of the lip service to human rights emanating from Washington. This farce was on full display in January when Saudi Arabia's fake reformer King Abdullah keeled over, which prompted the arrival of President Obama and other Western leaders to pay their respects to one of the world's leading tyrannical, misogynistic, and religious fanatics.
The hypocrisy cuts both ways. Two days after Badawai was flogged, the Saudi ambassador to France was one of dozens of diplomats and world leaders to attend a free speech solidarity rally. That feel-good photo-op came on the heels of the slayings of 12 people at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris by Islamists who were upset at the staff's cartoonists for "insulting Islam."
The level of irony here is simply astronomical.
Long ago a decision was made in Washington that having close ties to one of the world's foremost human rights abusers was a price worth paying. Unfortunately the cost of doing business with Saudi Arabia isn't just measured in money, but in freedom and human blood.