Beliefnet
L'Ordre

More than ever, the monarchical government of Saudi Arabia is portraying itself as the saviour of the Sunni world (the Sunnis being the largest denomination of Muslims, for readers unfamiliar with this topic).

Don’t buy into the idea that a narrow, unrepresentative monarchy can possibly represent such a vast community. The regime in Saudi Arabia is deeply unpopular with the people, more so than many of the regimes that have been overthrown or rejected as illegitimate by much of the world during the so-called Arab Spring. This only goes to show how outdated and outbound the Saudi monarchy surely is.

Such as it is, I only live in a country that is a “friend and ally” of Saudi Arabia and sells massive quantities of weapons and tear gas for it to suppress its own people’s aspirations and dictate the interests of the Sunni world at the barrel of a gun. Of these interests, there is Saudi Arabia’s commitment to oppose Iran – a country that did it no harm – apparently on the grounds of demagoguery towards another denomination, the Shia. Demagoguery that comes out of Riyadh and has no adherents anywhere else. Saudi Arabia loves the idea of causing a sectarian war or regression to the medieval era, because it doesn’t really have much else to do other than rot in the ground with other dead monarchies.

The Saudi monarchy is in fact not opposed to Iran because it is Shia, but because Saudi Arabia knows it is a rotten, corrupt monarchy whereas Iran is a sovereign republic. The Saudi monarchs have always been desperately afraid of the Islamic Revolution that took place in Iran, because they know it is the best thing that could happen to their own country and the most likely type of regime-change that will come to their country. Why does the Kingdom that claims to defend the Sunni world not believe in the right of Sunnis to govern themselves in Saudi Arabia?

Of course, by saying the Islamic Revolution will happen in the Arabian Peninsula, I am not saying Saudi Arabia will somehow be conquered by Iran, Shia, or Iranians. Quite the opposite. Saudi Arabia needs to be conquered by its own cherished Sunni world, whose destiny is in fact to establish their own republics – perhaps also on an Islamic basis because this appeals to the sensibilities of the vast majority of its population. Interestingly, Iran has actually reached out to groups like the Muslim Brotherhood that genuinely do have great influence over the Sunni community. The Iranians showed no opposition to the Morsi government when it came to power in Egypt, and Iranian media were not not at all happy with the coup that installed the Sisi government in power or the subsequent mistreatment of political prisoners. Maybe the Iranians were reminded of the dark days under the Shah, which is what they see every time they look at Saudi Arabia’s unjust monarchy.

Saudi Arabia’s portrayal of Iran as plotting against Sunnis is completely absurd. Look at the facts. It was Saudi Arabia itself that plotted to undermine and politically impoverish Sunnis in most cases. Remember, it was Saudi Arabia that conspired to overthrow the representative Sunni government of Egypt, not Iran. By all accounts, Iran was in fact overjoyed by the rise of an Islamic revolutionary party to power in Egypt, seeing a potential ally. This was despite obvious differences in the background over one issue, Syria, concerning the future of the Assad government (the Muslim Brotherhood had grievances against Hafez al-Assad and his government for decades before the 2011 violence began). Iran might have completely backed down from supporting Assad, and accepted some kind of Egyptian-led axis with respect to Syria, if it had believed the uprising there was anything other than a cynical scheme to install a pro-US dictator and encircle resistance movements opposed to Israel in Lebanon. Unfortunately for Iran, the Morsi government had been betrayed and overthrown by another pro-US dictator too quickly for Iran to come to any alliance with the now powerless and evicted Brotherhood. Now, Iran’s interest in the Muslim Brotherhood has evaporated because Saudi Arabia destroyed it, along with the political hopes of many Sunnis.

Iran or Saudi Arabia? Tally up which country has done more to suppress the political aspirations of the Sunni world, and you will find that Saudi Arabia is far guiltier than Iran. Saudi Arabia’s guilt in this area extends far beyond a single country like Syria but to a whole host of countries including Egypt and Libya, where Iran displayed no influence. There is no example of Saudi Arabia actually giving power to the Sunni community anywhere, and only examples of it taking this power away, because Saudi Arabia is fundamentally opposed to republics and opposed to revolutionary parties in all cases, including Islamist parties.

It is high time that the remaining monarchies in the world reform or are replaced. The world has seen enough dynasties, enough self-obsessed kings aspiring to gain more power for their own families rather handing over governance of their country to the people. If Saudi Arabia is too inflexible to stop talking about bringing democracy to Syria and instead talk about bringing democracy to their own country, their hypocrisy will bring an even worse pattern of escalating violence, executions, revulsion and eventual uprisings inside Saudi Arabia. Barack Obama has even alluded to the Saudi regime possibly coming to an end through a new armed uprising in the region, and ultimately everyone gets tired of a regime as ridiculous and embarrassing as this one – even its allies.

There are, of course, dedicated defenders of the Saudi regime as there are of any regime. They portray the Kingdom as being the object of their apparent patriotism, and portray opponents as “interfering” when they comment on its illegitimacy. The wars Saudi Arabia is prosecuting against innocent Sunnis in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere are based on groundless accusations that they are working for Iran, and in fact demonstrate how Saudi Arabia fails to stand up for the Sunni world and consistently stands against it and undermines it.

Nothing Saudi Arabia has said about Iran has much to do with genuine religious allegiances or decency, and everything it has said is about waging cowardly wars for the benefit of a few moldy rulers, whose families should have been thrown out of power decades if not centuries ago. While it is correct to oppose regime-change against republics and developing countries, Saudi Arabia is neither. It is a corrupt monarchy devoted to subverting justice and development in other countries, and it is not just my wish but the will of history that it should be thrown out. It is also a fact that republics are sovereign, according to modern requirements of statehood, whereas kingdoms are not.

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