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Saudi Arabia’s ISIS-style Justice System Facing Criticism

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has agreed to postpone the flogging of blogger Raif Badawi to let his wounds heal. The flogging comes after Badawi was convicted of insulting Islam through electronic channels which came with a sentence of seven years in prison and 600 lashes that was amended to ten years in prison and 1000 lashes. The sentence is set to be carried out as 50 lashings every Friday for 18 weeks.

Saudi Arabia’s ISIS-esque justice system was already under criticism due to a record number of beheadings in 2014 as well as already performing nine beheadings so far this year which included a Burmese woman who was executed without painkillers and received three blows before dying from decapitation.

Saudi Arabia has been the primary source of Islamic terrorism for generations due to its support at home and abroad of a radical interpretation of Islam and subsequent Salafi movement sometimes called Wahhabism which does – unlike other forms of Islam – advocate offensive jihad, the taking of slaves, and martyrdom. And Saudis have provided assistance to Salafis in Syria and Iraq such as ISIS.

Since the oil boom of the 1970s and ’80s, ­Saudi Arabia, whose official creed is Wahhabi Islam, has exported Wahhabism to parts of Africa, Asia, and the West through scholarships and the funding of radical mosques, preachers, and groups. Al-Qaeda is a direct spinoff of Wahhabi Islam, and IS an outgrowth from al-Qaeda, while the origins of Boko Haram lie in a network of Wahhabi-Salafi groups in Nigeria.

This religious context provides the framework for justifying violence. Jihadists quote from Islamic scripture, prophetic traditions, and legal opinions to support their claims and activities. Jihad against non-Muslims and the ultimatum to convert to Islam, pay a special tax, or be killed are in fact based on Islamic law. The same is true of the tactic of capturing women and children as war booty and keeping or disposing of them as slaves. Islam also promises rewards and pleasures awaiting the martyr. It is therefore simplistic if not misleading to argue that groups like IS and Boko Haram have nothing to do with Islam.

Despite 15 of the 19 9/11 highjackers coming from Saudia Arabia and the fact that Al Qaeda was funded by Saudis and led by a member of one of Saudi Arabia’s leading families – Osama Bin Laden – it was Afghanistan and later Iraq that became the target of US forces. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and as recent as 2012 most people in Afghanistan had never even heard of the 9/11 attack. All evidence indicates that Al Qaeda fled Afghanistan in the first few months of the 2001 US invasion with Osama Bin Laden later being found in Pakistan not far from a government military installation.

Unlike Afghanistan and pre-2003 Iraq, the government of Saudi Arabia has an extensive US lobbying operation, produces sizable amounts of profit for US companies, and purchases billions of dollars worth of US military equipment it has little intention of or ability in using. Of course, present day Iraq also has considerable ties to the US energy industry especially the Kurdish section that was recently defended by US forces.

So apparently the real problem with ISIS is not its brutality or horrifying practices but that the group has yet to hire some lobbyists and throw some graft DC’s way.

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.

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