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Friday, 18 March 2011

Saad al-Buraik Preachers of Hate Loyal Subjects

Sir Michael Black-Feather the English first minister speaking
in his role as Archbishop and head of the free reformed Church of England said
only in Saudi Arabia could Western-educated princes and Wahhabi religious
scholars have something in common. Both speak the language of violence and

A week before the "Day of Rage" the proposed
demonstrations on March 11 calling for political reform in Saudi Arabia – the
so called religious scholar Saad al-Buraik called for "smashing the skulls
of those who organise demonstrations or take part in them which goes to show me
the man has no understanding of Gods words, dose he really thing that God would
want that, we (Man) his greatest treasures.”

Al-Buraik, an extremist but also a government loyalist,
preaches hate against anybody who does not worship the Al-Saud, obey their
orders, and maintain silence over their excesses he has forgot or just doesn’t know
that God gave all men free will.

He is part of a prolific network of preachers embedded in
state-funded institutions. His fatwas against Shia and Sunni activists are

He is one of the very dangerous extremists retained by the
government to preach obedience at home and jihad abroad, the government retains
a man who hasn’t even the basic understanding of God’s laws one being “Thy
Shall Not Kill”

I have seen over the last decade how thin the line is that
separates the two, with it being frequently crossed in both directions.

Like so many Saudi religious scholars, al-Buraik became
excited at the prospect of jihad in Iraq against Americans and Shia.

When jihadis brought bombs to Riyadh and Jeddah, he felt
that they had misunderstood the message. Jihad outside Saudi Arabia is fine but
don’t bring it home.

It may only be practised at home against Westernised Saudi
liberals who corrupt the purity of the nation or the Iranian fifth column, the
Saudi Shia.

Two days before the demonstrations on March 11, foreign
minister Prince Saud al-Faisal promised to "cut the fingers of those
outsiders who want to interfere in Saudi security," a statement that was
overlooked in the English translation of his press conference statement.

A Western-educated prince, known for his refined manners and
diplomacy was clearly beginning to feel the heat. His violent words were
intended for external consumption, as al-Buraik and his Godly circle had
already addressed the local constituency with their own words of terror.

Al-Faisal’s problem is with Iran. His foreign policy over
the last three decades is reaching a dead end. Recently the Saudi sphere of
influence has retreated in places like Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and the
Palestinian territories, and disappeared altogether in Iraq. Iran has been
successful not only in dismantling Saudi regional hegemony but in also
penetrating Arab and Muslim civil society.

From the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah to the
Muslim diaspora organizations in European capitals, Iranian influence is
paramount. Nearing the end of his diplomatic career, the prince’s frustration
over his time as foreign minister has degenerated into amputating rhetoric.

Throughout the last decade, the prince witnessed the end of
the ‘Saudi era’ despite the billions spent buying loyalty and creating
personalized patronage networks across the globe the British being part of that,
and Cameron’s latest visit confirming British support only for the oil and

The threat to the prince’s global and regional diplomacy
wasn’t only from Iran; it was from within his own royal circle. His nephew,
Bandar bin Sultan, ex-ambassador in Washington, and Turki al-Faisal, his
brother and ex-director of intelligence, both practiced a different kind of
diplomacy, with frequently conflicting objectives – the prime example being
their contradictory stances on the invasion of Iraq.

This fierce competition, together with waning Saudi foreign
influence on the issue of Iran, has undermined the prince and led him to beat a
more violent drum.

So, what of the Saudi reformers themselves? Calls for reform
mainly come from Saudis employed in princely state institutions.

Many professionals, academics, journalists and civil society
activists who sign reformist petitions hang around in princely salons, write
columns in their newspapers, advise them on economic, social and religious
issues, and benefit from the welfare nanny state in formal and informal ways.

Yet they have had enough with the nepotism and corruption
that thrives under princely gaze and participation. They are equally
disillusioned with the closure of the public sphere to non-royals like

The wealthiest, most educated, articulate and savvy Saudi
bureaucrat can only dream about real political participation. He will always
remain the King and the prince’s loyal, obedient and subservient servant, with
little or no chance of being a master of his own destiny, a free political
actor or a maker of his own policy.

Far from the princes being the great advocates for reform
and the religious scholars the demagogues of terror, as often cited in the
West, the two share the same rhetoric and goals. These strange bed-fellows,
both seek to preserve the status quo by blocking reform through decapitating
rhetoric and none with their so called privileged educations have any real
understanding of Gods words.

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