For decades, mainstream media presented Saudi Arabia as “moderate”. Praising its role as a guardian of peace in the region. Suddenly, now that king Abdallah is dead, the same media talk of the many human rights violations committed in the Wahhabi kingdom. Suddenly, they discovered floggings, beheadings, and women’s dreadful condition in Saudi society…
Look well, almost all these media are running more or less the same story: “beyond the praise of world leaders, the gruesome reality of the ruthless Saudi dictatorship.”
Such a coincidence is never innocent. It always seem to predict the worst. It always seem to precede mayhem and war.
Remember Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. For years, the Iraqi regime was presented as a moderate and modern force in a backward region, a secular regime fighting the evil theocracy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Then that shifted. Saddam became a new Hitler and Iraq the worst dictatorship on the planet. Soon after, world leaders followed. And we all know what happened next: the destruction and division of Iraq.
The same thing took place with the Assad regime in Syria. First, it was a force of "moderation and stability" in a troubled Middle East (Lebanese know that more than others and paid a terrible price for it). Then the media started “discovering” the reality of the Syrian regime, soon joined by politicians and world leaders. And, again, we all know what happened next: a raging and destructive civil war and a de facto division of Syria.
These are the two most notorious examples, but there are many more around the globe. The plot is always the same; the results are also always the same.
What's most striking here is that Arab countries are falling one after the other and are being divided following a map that was widely shared by the media for the past few years. Syria, Iraq, Libya and to some extent Yemen, are becoming what this map prophesied. The only country on this map that has not yet fell into chaos is Saudi Arabia.
So does the mainstream media charge on the Saudi monarchy in the aftermath of king Abdallah’s passing signals a change for the kingdom? Does it mean that it’s time for Saudi Arabia to be thrown into turmoil and be ultimately divided? We will find out soon enough.
We just need to watch carefully how the story unfolds, and listen to what world leaders say in the coming weeks and months. Some are already lecturing the new king on the country's awful human rights record and are advising, if not ordering him to act fast…
Unfortunately, we all know what usually comes after that, don't we?
© Claude El Khal, 2015