Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia

This post was originally published to

Saudi Arabia, one of America’s bestest friends in the fight against extremists like IS who behead people, was ranked third in 2014, after China and Iran, and ahead of Iraq and the United States, of all countries in numbers of executed people, according to Amnesty International.

The neat thing is that while the U.S. is at war with IS, screeching about how they behead, the Saudi’s just keep sending people into really fair Sharia courts and then whacking away as the U.S. sits silent.

Now, Saudi Arabia is advertising for eight new executioners, recruiting extra staff to carry out an increasing number of death sentences, usually done by public beheading. Authorities have not said why the number of executions increased so rapidly, but diplomats have speculated it may be because more judges have been appointed, allowing a backlog of appeal cases to be heard.

No special qualifications are needed for the executioner job, whose main role is “executing a judgment of death” but also involve performing amputations on those convicted of lesser offences. The work seems to require some physical labor, is done outside and it looks like you have to buy your own sword.

The job announcement was posted in Arabic on a Saudi civil service jobs portal. It is open to Saudi citizens only. You begin the application process with a downloadable pdf application form for the executioner jobs. The jobs apparently are classified as “religious functionaries” and start at the lower end of the civil service pay scale.

Still, while the take home pay may be low, you just can’t beat this kind of thing for job satisfaction. Find something you love to do, and it’ll never be work.

Image from Secretary of Defense and in the public domain

Peter Van Buren

Peter Van Buren

Peter Van Buren has served with the Foreign Service for over 23 years. He received a Meritorious Honor Award for assistance to Americans following the Hanshin earthquake in Kobe, a Superior Honor Award for helping an American rape victim in Japan, and another award for work in the tsunami relief efforts in Thailand. Previous assignments include Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the UK and Hong Kong. He volunteered for Iraq service and was assigned to ePRT duty 2009-10. His tour extended past the withdrawal of the last combat troops.

Van Buren worked extensively with the military while overseeing evacuation planning in Japan and Korea. This experience included multiple field exercises, plus civil-military work in Seoul, Tokyo, Hawaii, and Sydney with allies from the UK, Australia, and elsewhere. The Marine Corps selected Van Buren to travel to Camp Lejeune in 2006 to participate in a field exercise that included simulated Iraqi conditions. Van Buren spent a year on the Hill in the Department of State’s Congressional Liaison Office.

Van Buren speaks Japanese, Chinese Mandarin, and some Korean (the book’s all in English, don’t worry). Born in New York City, he lives in Virginia with his spouse, two daughters, and a docile Rottweiler.

Though this is his first book, Peter’s commentary has been featured on TomDispatch, Salon, Huffington Post, The Nation, American Conservative Magazine, Mother Jones, Michael, Le Monde, Daily Kos, Middle East Online, Guernica and others.


  1. June 18, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    American on the side of Evil. Shame on you Obama

  2. Edgar
    June 18, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    The guardian link says the page has been removed. 🙁

  3. bsbafflesbrains
    June 18, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Death penalty is not a sign of an advanced civilization whether it is accomplished by beheading, injection of toxic chemicals, firing squad, hanging, impaling, draw and quartering, or any other form of death dealing. Shame on every “Advanced Society” that employs a death penalty. Malignant narcissists get an actual dopamine rush from other peoples pain and extremely wealthy and powerful people are predominantly such people. Every time it is studied the results show that it is ineffective as a deterrent, closure to victims is bullshit, and it is more costly than life imprisonment.

  4. Bluetoe2
    June 18, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Can’t they just group the “condemned” and call in a US drone strike?

  5. Bluetoe2
    June 18, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Right, now doubt the corporate lawn jockey in the WH feels “shame.”

  6. psalongo
    June 18, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    exactly. As if obama give’s a rat’s ass.

  7. JohnRedican
    June 18, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    So the existing executioners are overworked? Did their Union compile statistics showing how other country’s executioners get paid for piecework (by the head)? Or is there a mandatory minimum for how many “heads in a day” is acceptable? Of course, it’s got to be tough to go out on strike in such a bad work environment. Your job might just wind up on the chopping block.

  8. Alice X
    June 18, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Your job might just wind up on the chopping block.

    Your job AND your head.

  9. basil
    June 18, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    If you can’t get the gig in SA, and still need to satisfy that curious longing for Death Dealing . .

  10. glennk
    June 18, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    In Saudi Arabia I hear if you get caught running away from the scene of a robbery, it could cost you an arm and a leg ( literally.)

  11. JamesJoyce
    June 18, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    In Saudi Arabia the “impositions” of Sharia Law, results in “takings.” America had some “takings” in SC by a whack job imposing on people. There is little difference between the two,…

  12. jagiela
    June 18, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    No no no- the Saudis aren’t barbarians. After they chop your head off, they sew it back on and “crucify” you (put you on public display)

    There are traditions and morality at stake and you do get a decent burial

  13. jagiela
    June 18, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    There is nothing wrong with executing criminals- it leads to a much better society.

    Saudi Arabia enjoys one of the lowest crime rates in the world and their swift justice has a lot to do with it.

    Drug dealing is not a victimless crime but one that destroys the very fabric of society- like women working outside the home