Bracing for a planned "Day of Rage" tomorrow, Saudi Arabia's scumbag foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said that the ruling family will "cut off any finger" that is raised against it. At a press conference yesterday, he told reporters:
"Reform cannot be achieved through protests ... The best way to achieve demands is through national dialogue."
Al-Faisal failed to mention that there's no such thing as "national dialogue" in Saudi Arabia, unless of course you're a member of his family. He seems to have been addressing the ungrateful citizens that King Abdullah tried to bribe with billions of dollars last month as he feared he could suffer the same fate as other deposed strongmen in the region.
A Facebook page calling for nationwide protests tomorrow has attracted thousands of fans, but we won't know until tomorrow what sort of turn out they can muster. We can be sure that there will be a heavy security presence on the streets. Hugh Miles, writing in the London Review of Books, quotes one of the group's organizers, who seems optimistic that members of the security forces are on the side of the protesters:
"I have been told by many members of the security forces that they sympathise with us 100 per cent and see us as saviours of them as well as of the nation."
The Saudi regime has for years been fighting a secret, dirty war against the Shi'ite minority in the country's south along the border with Yemen, often in unison with Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh who is also fighting Shi'ite rebels in his country's north all in the name of crushing "terrorists." Many of the disaffected protesters in both countries are Shia. Both countries' governments are also backed by massive arms shipments from the U.S. Out of every country in the world, Saudi Arabia by far spends the largest portion of its GDP on defense.
If the ruling family cracks down violently on Saudi protesters tomorrow, as they have repeatedly threatened to do, it will be interesting to see how long it takes Obama to speak up against our biggest ally in the region. Then again, with King Abdullah maintaining such tight control over the country, the scheduled protests could simply fail to materialize.
[Finger pointing Prince Saud al-Faisal via AP]