September 29, 2010 Special Dispatch No. 3266

Article in IRGC Weekly: Newsweek's Choice of Saudi King Abdallah as Respected, Democracy-Seeking Leader is a Joke

September 29, 2010
Saudi Arabia, Iran | Special Dispatch No. 3266

An article dated August 30, 2010 in Sobh-e Sadeq, the weekly of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), called the U.S. magazine Newsweek's selection of Saudi King Abdallah as one of the world's 10 most respected leaders a joke, adding that he was chosen only because of his close relationship with the U.S. It said that the Saudi regime is the most tyrannical in the world, because the country has never held a single election, the people have no role in choosing their leaders, and Shi'ites and women there have no rights. It also hinted that global terror – that is, Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban – have their roots in the tyrannical Saudi regime, and mocked the Saudi "democracy" in which the leadership changes only after the ruler's illness or death.

The following are the main points of the Sobh-e Sadeq article:[1]

"Some time ago, Newsweek published a list of (what it considered) the 10 most prominent leaders in the world, claiming that they are respected by the international community and are working to advance democracy. An interesting point was the inclusion of Saudi King Abdallah on this list; an even more interesting [point] was that he is presented as the most prominent of the region's leaders working for advancing democracy in his country.

"On the other hand, some time ago Foreign Policy published a list of the most tyrannical leaders in the world, which included the president of China, the leader of North Korea, [and others].

"What this means is that the leaders of every country that opposes the West and America are on the list of dictatorial and anti-democracy [leaders], while the leaders who agree with the West's policy, and who work to accomplish the goals of America and the West, are presented as beloved, popular, and democracy-seeking heads [of state]. Clearly, these leaders don't need to come to power through free elections; neither do their countries need to hold elections at all; what matters is that they agree with the West. This is reflected in Newsweek's new list, which included Saudi King Abdallah.

"An analysis of [Newsweek's] selection of the Saudi king (who came to power by succession) as a democracy-seeking leader raises several points:

"First, according to most political experts in the world, Saudi Arabia can be considered the most dictatorial regime in the world – because it has no elections, not even the most miniscule. The Saudi people plays no role in electing its leaders. The Shi'ite minority in this country suffers discrimination and harsh injustice, and the women in this country have no rights at all. Considering this situation, isn't this magazine's [Newsweek's] selection of the Saudi king as a democracy-seeking leader some kind of joke?

"Second, experts see the absence of democracy as a factor producing terrorism; in this context, they consider the roots of the emergence of bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban (most of which have Saudi roots) to be in the tyrannical and dictatorial government of Saudi Arabia...

"Third, what meaning can democracy and elections have in a country where change in government leadership doesn't happen except in the case of the ruler's death or illness?

"Fourth, it seems that the Saudi king's alliance with America and the West, and Saudi Arabia's assistance in their policy in the region, are the only reason why the American magazine Newsweek picked him as a democracy-seeking leader.

"... It is only natural [that Newsweek should choose] the monarch of a country like Saudi Arabia – which during its many years of its existence has never once held a single election, and whose people have no role in appointing its ruler – as democracy-seeking and popular."


[1] Sobh-e Sadeq (Iran), August 30, 2010

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