Rod Liddle

Why we have to stand by foul, brutal Saudi Arabia

In an ideal world both sides in the Sunni-Shia war would lose, with heavy injuries, but we do not want a Saudi Spring

9 January 2016

9:00 AM

9 January 2016

9:00 AM

The Saudis have got the new year off to a busy start, haven’t they? The authorities executed 47 people, including a rather grim-looking Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr — leading Shia cleric and children’s party balloon sculptor (giraffes a speciality). OK, I made that last bit up. He was just a heavily bearded religious agitator and probably not much fun at parties. He’s dead now. In time I will overcome my grief and rebuild.

As a consequence, Shia Iran has severed diplomatic links with the Sunni House of Saud and the usual furious and violent massed protests — which characterise both branches of the Religion of Peace™ — have taken place in Tehran. Screaming hordes waving placards saying stuff like ‘Down With Britain!’ and ‘America — The Great Satan.’ You’d think they’d have bothered to make new placards instead of just using the ones they usually use. They might have at least crossed out ‘Britain’ and written ‘Saudi Arabia’ above it in biro. But anyway, embassies were ransacked and the devil was invoked, as he always is on these occasions. His Infernal Majesty must find the Middle East as wearying as the rest of us.

I assume we were cited because we are Saudi allies, and because we are all-purpose affluent infidels. What-ever, Saudi Arabia’s singularly unpleasant Gulf-state allies have also shrieked abuse at Iran and some, like Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, have cut diplomatic ties. There has been unrest too in Saudi Arabia’s minority Shia strongholds. I suspect that these outpourings of anger will end in tears before bedtime — plus, further down the road, a bit of judicious decapitating. And all this before the Christmas trees have been taken down!

I knew it was going to happen. Shortly after Christmas Day I caught the tail end of a discussion on BBC Radio 4 in which a bunch of the corporation’s most gilded correspondents predicted what was going to occur in the year ahead. In amongst the predictions of the Earth burning to a crisp as a consequence of global warming and the poor dying everywhere because the West is rich, white and evil, some woman posited that, on a brighter note, Iran and Saudi Arabia would come together and heal the great rift between the Sunni and Shia faiths and the Religion of Peace™ would be even more peaceable than it is at the moment, if that scenario is even faintly possible to imagine.

‘Aha,’ I thought immediately, ‘it’s war, then.’ I admit I didn’t expect it all to kick off almost immediately after the silly woman had finished her sentence, but the principle holds true — whatever a western liberal tells you about the world of Islam, you can be assured that it is utterly wrong on every count. The invasion of Iraq (all they want is a nice secular democracy), the Arab Spring (all they want is a nice secular democracy), the bombing of Gaddafi’s Libya (all they want, etc), the support for Syrian rebels (all they want, etc.), Palestinian elections — liberals demonstrably wrong, every time, on every issue, without fail. It is only a matter of time before some well-meaning white liberal halfwit tells us that the murders and beheadings and reprisals and the setting fire to stuff which will undoubtedly result from this current contretemps between Iran and Saudi Arabia is ‘nothing to do with Islam’. And that will be the final triumph of patent absurdity for the liberal elite’s favourite canard.

Who to support in this crucial battle between the Sunni majority and the Shia recusants? It is, for the neutral observer, rather like a Premier League fixture between Chelsea and Manchester City: you just hope that somehow both manage to lose heavily, and with many injuries incurred. And that’s the most likely outcome, luckily.

To extend the footballing metaphor still further, Islam does occasionally remind me of some of the supporters of my own team, Millwall. At an FA Cup semi-final a few years back, Millwall fans were disconsolate to find that the supporters of Wigan Athletic had no desire to go ‘toe to toe’ with them. So instead the Millwall contingent kicked the hell out of each other, the Downham lot versus the Bromley lot. So it is with Islam: if there isn’t a proper infidel around to persecute, a sort of half-infidel will do — all based on a schism which occurred at the Battle of Siffin almost fourteen hundred years ago.

But we do have a dog in the fight, for good or ill. As the liberals would aver, the House of Saud is indeed foul, corrupt, authoritarian, medieval and brutal. But it is also markedly much, much less of all those things than any government which might conceivably replace it. In Saudi Arabia, the rulers are exponentially more liberal than the population — and also rather more pro-western. Further, the country is in for a rough year. A primitive desert satrapy which lucked out on oil deposits, rather than by innovation or actually making anything, the Saudis will suffer enormously as a consequence of the precipitous fall in oil prices. Already, the hitherto mollycoddled and subsidised locals are seeing their enormous benefits pared back; it is only comparative affluence which has allowed the Saudi royals to remain in situ, and it is only because they have remained in situ that we have an ally in that godforsaken region.

We don’t want trouble in Saudi Arabia. Contra the agonising of the western liberals, we really do not want a Saudi Spring, ghastly though the regime undoubtedly is. For all that there is a growing secular and (as was always the case) well educated middle class in Iran, when push comes to shove it is still the ayatollahs who wield the popular power. Our bread is buttered on the Saudi side, for now.

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  • Rik

    Sunni v Shia,a plague on both their houses, both are arms of a primitive vile barbaric death cult that should be kept as far away from Europe as possible.Oh wait thanks to the quisling politicians too late.
    Welcome to the future

    • Marian Hunter

      While I wholly agree with the sentiments and content of your video, I wonder how much longer it will remain before it is taken down and dismissed as racist and anti Islamic. Some people cannot tolerate the truth.

  • Patrick

    Any discussion on a BBC radio station (or TV) would have the predictive power of a dense, slow-witted, dead slug. Each and every “prediction” would follow the same liberal template: white = bad, America = bad (any European country = bad), any brown/black country, terrorist, rapist, person = good, Israel = its all their fault.

    • flipkipper

      Carry on bombing hospitals and children to further the cause mate init. There is no such thing as bad publicity.

  • Harry Pond

    Lets just hope the Iranians haven’t managed to squirrel away a nuclear weapon under some mountain. Then the festivities will really start.

  • Liberanos

    Rod. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been quizzing allah intensively over the last few days. He’s almost decided to let them fight it out, in the hope that it becomes so bloody that the west has to intervene, and then the belligerents can come together to crush the infidel invaders. You must admit, it’s not bad for an old guy.

    • al_frick

      Christianity = the one where God dies for you and your sins.

      Islam = the one where God asks you to die for him.

      • Patrick

        Islam = the one where God asks you to die and kill for him.

      • Ahobz

        It’s quite a difference, isn’t it? The difficult question for Christians is, why does God need death to expiate sins?

        • lookout

          It’s not death, it’s blood, man’s blood, not acceptable, animal blood, partly acceptable under old covenant, Jesus blood, one and only total cleansing.

          • Ahobz

            The Proper Preface for Easter from the Book of Common Prayer is perfectly clear

            But chiefly are we bound to
            praise thee for the glorious Resurrection of thy Son Jesus Christ
            our Lord: for he is the very Paschal Lamb, which was offered for
            us, and hath taken away the sin of the world; who by his death hath
            destroyed death, and by his rising to life again hath restored to
            us everlasting life. Therefore with Angels, &c.

        • Ivan Ewan

          As a certain popular Discworld character put it, THERE IS NO JUSTICE. THERE IS ONLY ME.

  • Ahobz

    Demography is on Iran’s side. Pop Iran 78M; Pop KSA 31M (Source Wikipedia – I know, I know). The Irnians are also a people who know how to do stuff. The Saudis only know how to herd camels and goats and pay for other people to do stuff for them.

    It really doesn’t matter if the Saudi’s lose and a worse regime arrives in their desert latrine. If that happens they will already have ceased to matter. The world will get used to living without their oil, as the cost of renewables comes down. No need to let our dog get chewed up in their fight. They er anyway poor allies because most of the Sunni nonsense in the world has it origins in their fanatical exportation of Wahabist fundamentalism, that was (Muslim Brotherhood excepted) until the 1970s pretty much exclusive to the Arabian peninsular.

    • Marcus

      Remember this; no Persians have ever committed a single suicide terror attack.

      Where as Saudi and UAE have backed most of them. They are no ally.
      As far as I am concerned:
      a) Stay out of it.
      b) The stronger the Persians are, the more they are likely to antagonise the
      Arabs and keep Arab attentions away from Europe.

      • The_greyhound

        “no Persians have ever committed a single suicide terror attack.”

        According to critics of Iranian government, “children were sent to the front [in the Iraq-Iran War] as waves of human shields”.Christopher Hitchens claimed that Iranians “lost maybe a million and a half of their kids that way”, while also clearing barbed wire and taking machine gun fire

        • Marcus

          Your point….

      • Mow_the_Grass

        Buenos Aires – just for starters.
        Hezbollah – Irans proxy army commits terror on its patrons behalf throughout the ME and beyond

        • Marcus

          Says “mow the grass”!
          N.B. That is an incredibly small overall % of terror attacks.

  • sebastian2

    Yes …….. Saudi is as you describe it and worse – if that’s possible – may follow if that cess-pit of wahhabism finally topples. It’s collapse is, of course, an IS ambition. So we may be better stuck with the mohammedan devil we know and who we have the potential drop on given what I assume we have recorded of their lascivious and perverse antics overseas. IS would end all that, installing perversions of their own. The entire Gulf would implode, violently. It’s in our tragic interest to prevent this.

    However …… KSA does not politely confine its poison to its own country. It spreads it generously around. Mosques and madrassas in the UK and elsewhere are lavishly funded by them. A vast printing press in Medina churns out mountains of wahabbist literature for free global distribution. They have been helpful to Al Qaeda (which is a bit of an irony), probably to IS (brother sunnis) who they wish to keep very much at arm’s length even though their differences are of degree rather than of basic doctrine, and quite possibly to the funding of Pakistan’s “Islamic” nuclear device. Our “allies” are the wellspring of the ideology and the money to back it, that would destroys us. They are running with the hare and hunting with the hound for as they, for their own sakes, side with us, they also side against us. Calculated duplicity.

    Given, however, that they do need us – not least as final guarantors of their own security – I’m disappointed (putting it mildly) that our effeminate and appeasist government doesn’t tell Riyadh to keep its wahabbism to itself, and to expel Saudi inspired wahabbist influences in Britain just to drive home the point. As it is, however, Cameron is more like Riyadh’s favourite eunuch than anything.

    Saudi has not entered a single “refugee”. But unless we halt it before it begins, they will be funding wahabbism for refugees in an open-door and very foolish EU that has taken those “asylum seekers” Saudi should’ve, but didn’t. We’ve got them instead, and soon they will be soaking up the mohammedan poison – the money, the literature, the imams – that will turn them against us. If the Sauds are our “allies” they are hostile ones.

    Saudi will conduct European jihad by proxy while we defend the Sauds from the Middle Eastern jihad of IS and associates. We may have to do the one, but we shouldn’t have to licence and permit the other.

  • misomiso

    No Rod, we need to switch our alegiance and side with the Shia’s.

    All we need for them to do is recognise israel, then we can form a new Global alliance against Sunni Islam.

  • Dr Bock

    I had hoped that after the colossal success of the Arab Spring – death toll approximately half a million – that any of those Humanist fetishising liberal bigots who’d intervene in the very heavens if they could might get the message and realise that the House of Saud is less awful than the likely alternatives, just as the Romanovs weren’t quite as bad as the Soviets and the NKVD. If, however, you watch a Sunni monarchy execute a Shiite rabble rouser, or an IS video in which one bunch of religious psychotics execute a bunch of regime soldiery whose own atrocities are scarcely less ghastly it does rather innoculate you against imbibing the more simplistic Humanist notions vis this world of ours, or at least should do.

  • fredimeyer

    well, he is right in choosing the lesser of two evils

    but he does not sufficiently explain just how much more inimical to the west iran is. had the persians swamped the greeks, as looked likely so many hundreds of years ago, we today would not have science or democracy at all–and certainly not christianity.

    as ron hints, the saudi leaders are all oxford/harvard educated and if not convinced of western ideal are at least aware of them and somewhat sympathetic. not so with the ayatollahs.

    most westerners are unaware of the sacrifices saudi arabia has made over the decades to keep our economies afloat and our cars on the road. that’s why the elite at the state department and in whitehall consider the kingdom an ally, and so do leaders of the jewish state

    • Alex

      Any more detail on sacrifices the Saudis have made? And/or any links if it’s too lengthy to go into? I’m genuinely curious to know.

  • Mara Naile-Akim

    you see, it’s also possible to be neutral. That’s what the author doesn’t talk about.

    it’s not a choice between being sycophantic and trying to force regime change. We can just refuse to sell them any weapons, refuse to have any business dealings and just leave them be.

    • The_greyhound

      And if Persia seeks to re-establish its Empire in the region, or continues the development of its nuclear weapon?

      While we share a planet with these goons we are compelled to be involved.

  • Baron

    If the Saudi unwashed, Sunni and Shia, are going to have their welfare noticeably cut, how do you reckon they’ll react?

    Before the year’s over, we’ll have another liberating Spring on our hands, Rod, in Riyadh.

    • Mary Ann

      Trouble with most of these Springs is, we seem to end up with far more religious governments and women have to step back into the past.

  • zhu jiang

    The mess really is the fault of the western world in kissing the rear ends of both Iranian and Arab Leaders over the last 60 or 70 years.Bowing to their customs, giving them grandiose titles, bending over backwards so as not to offend them and allowing them to ride roughshod over and ridicule our own customs.
    Give me a list of the accomplishments of any of these middle eastern countries… how many cars have they made ? how many airplanes do they produce? what medical breakthroughs have they achieved? What political progress have they made? What religious progress have they made?
    Er…. that would be none! Now tell me why our respective governments grovel at their feet? Blair,Bush, Kerry .. they’re all the same.
    Many years back, when I worked in a bank in Jersey and the Arab ( sorry,make that Middle Eastern) money started to pour in, we were required to sign off on our letters to the multitude of Sheikhs and tent living desert nomads like this ” May I have the honour to remain your obedient servant” Me? I wouldn’t sign any letter with that salutation, even though the boss threatened me!

    This sort of obsequiousness towards these people, who are essentially nobodies with lots of money, has pervaded Western Society, even moreso since those days, and means that we negotiate from a position of weakness on every occasion.If you read “The Oil Kings” you’ll see how embarrassingly craven Kissinger and his cohorts were to the Shah. If the Shah said “Jump” ,they asked how high
    It’s time we stood up to them and told them to look after their own problems… if that means they wipe each other out then so be it, there’s no other way to resolution.

    • Tim Greening-Jackson

      “Give me a list of the accomplishments of any of these middle eastern countries”

      They invented the suicide belt.

      • scampy

        Sorry this was Tamil tigers in Sri Lanka

      • Mary Ann

        I still find it amazing that they can persuade anyone to use one.

        • Harryagain

          It’s the promise of vir gins.

      • Bluesman_1

        China against the Japanese.

      • Harryagain

        They invented the three “Rs” to start with.
        And virtually every field of science and technology was started by them.
        Doing just great until Islam came along.

        • Tim Greening-Jackson

          Call me old-fashioned, but I tend to judge a society by what it’s produced in the past 500 years. We’ve had the enlightenment, Newton, Darwin, the industrial revolution and secular democracy.

          What have our little chums of the religion of peace produced?

          • Harryagain

            All inventions are based on knowledge previously gained.
            Stuff doesn’t appear out of thin air.

          • Harryagain
          • zhu jiang

            Interesting list, but they missed out “the stick” and of course “the tent” .Even with those additional items, it’s one of Wikipedia’s shortest entries. Somebody will probably come along and say they invented comedy.

    • johnb1945

      Say wha…? I got as far as ‘the west is to blame’. Nobody is forcing them to fight devastating genocidal proxy wars over some schismatic quibble 1300 years ago.

      They do this of their own volition.

    • Harryagain

      Regarding technology etc, they were doing pretty good until Islam came along.
      They invented writing, maths, accountants, lawyers, architects, astronomy, shipbuilding, numerous weapons etc etc. Endless list.
      All of them ancestors of Saddam Hussein.

      It’s Islam we need to wipe out.

      • Mow_the_Grass

        Would’nt compare the ancient Egyptians – to the bunch of peasants currently residing in the arab ME

        • Harryagain

          I was thinking of the Babylonians but Egyptians too.

  • Thaddeus lovelock

    Rod is right. It is like the choice between a bad case of the flu, and cancer. I’ll choose the flu.

    • Mow_the_Grass

      Actually its more a comparison between lung cancer and liver cancer.
      Both pretty deadly

  • jim

    So long as they all stay in their own countries I don’t care. Iran seems slightly less dangerous to the west so if I absolutely have to choose between a Puff adder and a Boa constrictor………

    • johnb1945

      Ha ha! You think? The Ayatollahs remain committed to acquiring nukes and there is always a risk that they really believe the apocalyptic eschatology they espouse. The Ayatollahs nearly lost it in 2011, but while they remain we have to side with our only biddable ally in the region, no matter what we think of them.

      • jim

        Saudis refuse to accept a single Syrian immigrant but will bankroll the construction of 200 new mosques in Germany.

        • johnb1945

          They’re both bad. Right now Iran is worse but has more potential to change. They are not Arab and have a growing secular and Christian population.

  • The_greyhound

    The Governments of the region are mostly foul and brutal because they stand at the head of foul brutal societies, characterized for the most part by foul brutal cultures. There really isn’t an option on this – the Arabian peninsula will be a foul brutal place, with or without the House of Saud. So we might as well be purely pragmatic – “they may be savages, but at least they are our savages”.

    I am left wondering why there are so many foul brutal people from this foul brutal region intent on pursuing their foul brutal way of life in Europe, but that is maybe because I don’t just understand.

    • lakelander

      It’s because oil wealth has allowed them to retain and propagate their “foul brutal ideas”. Like the ignorant loudmouth who inherits a lot of money, they have no need to change.

    • Harryagain

      It’s down to their foul brutal cult of Islam.
      The ones in Europe have not arrived by accident.
      It’s a plan to overrun our society and make us also into a foul brutal cult.
      Refugees/migrants can be a weapon of war.

  • mikewaller

    So what precisely, Mr Liddle, is your point? The above is the usual display of crowd-pleasing pyrotechnics rounded off with two conclusions most of us had long since reached for ourselves: we hang on to Saudi Arabia (a) for much the same reason we were told to hang onto nanny: for fear of something worse; and (b) we need the money and jobs. Did so many trees have to be feed into the pulping mills just to remind us of that?

  • Boras

    “In Saudi Arabia, the rulers are exponentially more liberal than the population” – that is patent nonsense. There is a sizable section of the young population, who are more liberal by a long shot, than the rulers. The Saudi leaders could have been introducing incremental reforms to induce a cultural change in a more conservative population, but in reality – as opposed to the fantasy of Mr Liddle – they have been the ones dragging their feet. When rulers execute a 17 year old for a peaceful street protest, you can hardly get a better illustration that it is the rulers who are maintaining a non-liberal status quo. If Mr Liddle doesn’t know what he is talking about, wouldn’t he be better to comment on cricket?

    • johnb1945

      That isn’t true. Have you been there? The population is immensely conservative with a tiny, possibly growing liberal stratum. Many of the ruling class don’t give a hoot, but they have a contract with the wahabbis which helps them retain power, so they give the appearance they do.
      There are far more liberals generally in Iran, although even there there are huge numbers of Islamozealots.

      • Boras

        I would counter that 50% of the population – women – have aspirations that are unmet, where liberalisation would be something in their interest but is suppressed by those in power. For example, women may not go anywhere without a chaperone, drive a car, wear clothes or makeup that show their beauty, interact with men, go for a swim, compete freely in sports, try on clothes when shopping, enter a cemetry, read an uncensored fashion magazine, buy a barbie (!). Seeing as women are powerless currently in Saudi Arabia, under the rule of Islamozealots, it is probably impossible to see the fulll extent to liberal unmet desires. But, I would find it hard to imagine that any normal woman if given the option to be allowed those liberties mentioned above would refuse all of them. I would expect that most would be open to some of them, therefore, that means there is a large silent “underclass” who are unable as of now to express those wishes, but who would given the opportunity. My living in Saudi Arabia would not allow me to know any better as by definition interaction between women and men is restricted; it might give me the impression that all are ultra-conservative, but like under a communist regime, who would know if people harbour views that don’t toe the party line? It is only through human rights organisations and networks that we get a sense of what is happening in the shadows.

        One of the biggest social ills in Saudi Arabia at the moment is addiction to drugs and alcohol, but banned under Islam. If huge numbers are engaging in this -and they are, which is why Saudi Arabia is coming down hard on both – it means that the reality is many are not ultra-conservative. 50% of the population are under 25, and many turn to chemical highs as an escape from the spiritual desert that this Islamic regime offers.

        It will be only after the revolution has occurs that you will see that all wasn’t what it seemed. In the mean time, the regime is executing people in larger numbers to suppress these desires for greater liberties.

  • John Andrews

    The fundamental point is that fundamentalism is fundamentally wrong, be it Islamic, Jewish or Christian. So far as I know it is not so bad for other world religions.

    • johnb1945

      Anyone who thinks they have some kind of absolute truth and demonises disbelievers is potentially dangerous. You could include someone who isn’t even religious like Richard Dawkins in that group. Islam does have a prophetic model of violence however. It is unique in that sense.

      • John Andrews

        Since Dawkins seems to believe science is the only source of truth, I think you are right to call him a fundamentalist.

        • johnb1945

          The sad thing about Dawkins is that if you read the small print of his ranting, he is more open minded than he lets on He thinks something like the bible is a literal description of God and science so cannot be absolutely true.

          Most would accept this – only the fundamentally devout claim their scriptures are literal, all encompassing truth.

          People less intelligent than he are inspired by his opinions and the way he espouses them to their own brand of purist dogma.

        • putin

          What other “sources of truth” are you referring to? Science isn’t just another belief system. It’s about producing testable explanations and predictions, i.e. what you refer to as “truth”. There is no such thing as a “source of truth” unless that proposed “truth” is testable by experiment. If something is true or false it implies that it has undergone some test or experiment to determine its validity. Everything else is just faith and therefore objectively meaningless.

          • John Andrews

            Personal truth; aesthetic truth; moral truth; spiritual truth etc. For example, you should not beat your wife. This is true.

          • putin

            Oh I see, but no, that’s subjective truth. A Muslim cleric might believe the opposite and to him it would be subjectively true. I think we are at cross purposes. I thought you were referring to absolute testable truths e.g. gravity, conservation of energy etc.

          • John Andrews

            It is rather a large topic for a Disqus discussion but yes, I am disagreeing with the modernist-scientific-positivist position that some things, like the truths of mathematics, are certain and everything else is a matter of opinion. To bring this to a domestic level I agree that there more than one ‘right’ ways of making a loaf of bread. But I also think there are many ‘wrong’ ways of making a loaf of bread.

  • UnionPacificRX

    Unlike other “Arab Springs’ where Despots were overthrown for Chaos such as Qaddafi of Libya and Mubarak of Egypt, the Arab Spring of Saudi Arabia is its own making. It is a financial crisis of epic proportions.

    One of the only reasons the Saudi Royal family has maintained control is due to massive government subsidies and almost a free tax society, with the added luxury of millions of unskilled migrant workers from across Asia. But when Saudi Arabia decided to destroy the US shale and deep sea oil industry mainly because the US became self sufficient in oil and was exporting it. For the first time in a long time America joined a select group of nations who exported oil and gas

    Saudi Arabia increased her production along with Iraq, and Libya. It effectively flooded the world with cheap conventional crude oil. A world where economies were either stagnant or shrinking (as in Brazil). One major consequence outside of stalling the US shale & deep sea oil industry was that it also hit Russia. Russia was already hit by Sanctions from the US and NATO over Ukraine and could not afford the loss of revenue. So Putin did what Saudi Arabia is doing. She too kept oil production going.

    Now Saudi Arabia is borrowing money from international financial institutes to keep some of her subsidies going. Riyadh has slashed many other subsidies and imposed new taxes on her stunned population. Among them is a sales tax on all goods. This has taken away the decades old control that the Saudi Royal family has over her population and shown to her Iranian rivals that she has several weak spots.

    Saudi Arabia cannot cut production for that would allow the US shale & deep sea oil industry to come back in full force. the ocean of cheap crude has decimated Venezuela who has the world’s largest reserves of conventional oil. and decimated the “Petrocaribe’ system set up by Venezuela to give oil and gas to the Caribbean nations. Now they will have to pay for that.

    • Saudi Arabia is a dead man walking. The oil is packing up, they’re going to run out of money, and everyone hates them. -They might even go to the wall within 5 years, according to some economists’ analysis.

      • UnionPacificRX

        I agree. the downfall of the house of Saud is going to change geopolitics from the Middle East to the New world. Our alliance with Saudi Arabia will fall apart. Iran will take advantage and so will Yemen, Iraq, :Syria, the Kurdish Militants and IS. Russia will cut the new ties that just formed.

        But there are many nations about to collapse due to the world wide economic crash.

  • Jaria1

    In Europe and the US we need to remember that our idea of democracy does not suit the Middle East or other countries around the world.
    Are we really so perfect that we can judge other?

  • StrategyKing

    What exactly has Rod been smoking? Western liberals believing that ‘they want a secular democracy’? It was the conservatives in the US who pushed that theory, and it is the Tories who are the biggest backers of it here. Can you name a single war in the middle east or anywhere for that matter that the Tories have opposed? You lost all your credibility when you turned your column into a silly liberal bashing screed.

    • Curnonsky

      Obama is a conservative? Rod’s not the only one smoking, apparently.

      • StrategyKing

        Um it was the Bush administration that began it all. The iraqis were going to leave flowers for us they said.

        • Curnonsky

          The Iraq Liberation Act, calling for Saddam’s removal, was passed by the US Congress and signed into law in 1998 by – Bill Clinton. He too smoked – but he didn’t inhale.

          • StrategyKing

            Doesn’t change the fact that the conservatives have been the biggest propagators of this rubbish they will greet us with flowers propaganda. You lose all credibility when you decide it is all the liberals fault and ignore your hand in creating the mess. Rod need look no further than his own kind to find delusion and stupidity; there are more than enough Tories who still believe that all they want is for us to come there and give them some ‘democracy’. Give it up man, the right has been a complete shambles in this area, and there have been barely a few who have stood out as having any sense at all.

          • Curnonsky

            Rod’s no Tory, and you have a rather simple-minded approach. The delusion that the Arabs are panting for democracy is not exclusive to liberals or conservatives, it is commonly held by the political/media/bureaucratic class of whatever persuasion – why do you think they are having such a terrible time with the daily outrages in Paris, Cologne, Rotherham, etc.?

          • StrategyKing

            And that brings us back to the original point – Rod does himself no credit by ranting on about western liberals believing in the ‘panting for democracy’ and therefore being responsible for the entire mess, when it was his lot who firmly believed it too. Before pointing fingers at others, look in the mirror first.

          • StrategyKing

            That should be firmly propagated it too, not firmly believed it too because whether they actually believed it only they can know.

          • Harryagain

            These Arabs that say they want democracy have no idea what it is.
            They harbour the fond belief it automatically makes them rich.
            There will be no democracy until they get rid of their evil cult, islam.

          • Ed

            Tiny steps are required – Should’ve started with teaching them how to queue!

        • Harryagain

          It was Regan. Arming the mujhadeed in Afghanistan.

  • William Brown

    “…the House of Saud is indeed foul, corrupt, authoritarian, medieval and brutal. But it is also markedly much, much less of all those things than any government which might conceivably replace it.”

    So, we should accept the lesser of two evils?

    Well, that works if there are only two of them to choose from. We could take ‘the third way’ and let the blighters slog it out and bomb each others’ infrastructure into a state which better represents their medieval belief and justice systems.

    I for one have lost patience with hand-holding these backwoods savages in the hope that our ‘reaching out’ to them will change their culture. It’s up to the populations of both countries to decide how they want to proceed in the 21st century.

    • Harryagain

      Well I ‘spect the brain dead rulers of the EU have already forgotten what happened as a result of interference in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

      These people need a nasty leaders
      They are not fit for democracy and never will be until they get rid of their nasty cult.
      Still, muslims killing muslims is OK with me.

      • Jesus H Corbyn

        then you are as deplorable as the writer of this article

        • Mow_the_Grass

          Not ‘deplorable’ – merely pragmatic.

          • Jesus H Corbyn

            I bet you would like to see Mecca nuked as well, would that satisfy your blood lust?

          • Mow_the_Grass

            No ‘bloodlust’.
            They leave me and my people alone – we’ll return the gesture

          • Jesus H Corbyn

            when have Muslims ever harmed you?

          • Mow_the_Grass

            Give you a clue – don’t reside in the UK.
            Where I do reside we have endured Muslim aggression/terror for more than 67 years.
            Could say we are old hands at it.

          • Jesus H Corbyn

            maybe you should have thought of that before stealing the Palestinians homeland from them

          • Mow_the_Grass

            We have attachment to this land going back 3/4 thousand years – proven through science/archaeology.
            Now you go back to entertaining your terror friends ie Hamas/Hezbollah.
            Thats about all you’re good for.

          • Harryagain

            You stole Canaan from the Canaanites.
            You know, Joshua and the battle of Jericho.
            Genocide/ ethnic cleansing.
            That’s all recorded too.

            Also “Live by the sword and die by the sword.”
            “Arabs” and Jews are as bad as one another.
            But don’t expect us to further your hallucinations.

          • Mow_the_Grass

            Will say this to you ‘pal/ette’
            What has started with us here wont end with us here – ref B Netanyahu.

          • Harryagain

            Ah but you can’t morally justify it.
            Jews are every bit as bad as Palestinians.

          • Mow_the_Grass

            Not trying to justify our existance (morally or otherwise ) in our land to anyone – let alone to a jewhating little brit.
            Just advising you of the emerging storm heading your way.

          • Harryagain

            Oh, I thought you were?
            I think we have a civil war coming our way in theUK

          • MrRexRedux

            We must hope so.

          • Icebow

            Mossad be upon you.

          • Cobbett

            What is it…3 or 4?

          • Mow_the_Grass

            Know anything about carbon dating?
            Thought not.
            Go worry about your home grown muslim problem silly lil brit

          • Icebow

            Palestinians’. And it’s not.

          • MrRexRedux

            There was a land called Palestine but there has never been a ‘Palestinain State’; that is an invention of Middle Eastern Arabs that they would like the rest of us to believe once existed. Ignorance, in this instance, is not bliss.

          • MrRexRedux

            I’m surprised that you still have your hands.

          • Harryagain

            Waiting until they do will be far too late.
            We see what they have done elsewhere.

          • Icebow

            Probably not so far (right place at right time). They need to breed for another decade or two.

          • Dominic Stockford

            They have certainly threatened my life, directly and indirectly. Is that good enough for you?

          • Tim Greening-Jackson

            Well the c**ts tried their best to blow me up on the tube back in 2005.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            That was MI6.

          • MrRexRedux

            Do you not read the news?

          • Harryagain

            If it became neccesary.

          • Icebow

            You forgot Medina.

          • MrRexRedux

            Oh, yes, though I’d prefer the neutron bomb, which I understand does not damage buildings.

          • SocratesWept

            Only if it’s done during Haj – it’s more efficient that way.

          • Speedy

            That would be wonderful

  • Mow_the_Grass

    KSA – camel to range rover and then back to camel.

  • Jesus H Corbyn

    another disgusting piece by Rod Lidl – actually hoping for a war that will kill many and relishing the thought that many will be injured! Even I didn’t think he could stoop this low.

    Not surprisng to find out Lidl is a Millwall hooligan; the team with the most thuggish white-trash fans of them all

    and by the way using Religion of Peace with a trademark symbol is very pathetic and childish

    • Richard

      “White trash”? The real racism of the Loony Leftie reveals itself, as if anybody had the slightest doubt.

      • MrRexRedux

        I’m white trash and proud of it. Thanks to recent persecution, my kind and I will soon be reduced to an ethnic minority in our own land and then our whining and demands will be more seriously taken note off and acted upon. Thus will we be able to rid out selves of moslem-only toilets in train stations and universities.

        • Richard

          Unfortunately, you will need to get a very deep tan if you want to be cared about. Whites of whatever social class are detritus in modern Britain, as much in their own eyes as in the eyes of others.

    • Skyeward

      Not even close. Liddle as always is trolling your kind.

    • Icebow

      Your moniker merits a flogging, and you general attitude tarring and feathering, though I’m sure Rod is far too soft-hearted to endorse such measures. Report to my head gamekeeper.

  • jeremy Morfey

    Wasn’t the whole demolition and comprehensive redevelopment of Mecca all about the rich trampling the poor underfoot by the million? And isn’t this where Muslims are directed to pray five times a day?

  • Smedley Butler

    I’m sure Rod is right on his main point which is that something worse would follow a fall of the House of Saudi. However while they are weakened by low oil prices there must be room for a new accommodation. Allowing them to run their “Medieval World” theme park within their borders but prohibiting its spread to other countries. Thus all these Saudi charities who build mosques and fund Muslim schools should be banned.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Yes. But Rod is right. Even if we don’t like the way they keep order, there are all too few keeping any order in the ME.

  • bengeo

    Poverty in Saudi Arabia

    Estimates of the number of Saudis below the poverty line range from between 12.7% and 25%.

    Press reports and private estimates as of 2013 “suggest that between 2 million and 4 million” of the country’s native Saudis live on “less than about $530 a month” – about $17 a day – considered the poverty line in Saudi Arabia.

    In contrast, Forbes magazine estimates King Abdullah’s personal fortune at $18 billion.

    • Dominic Stockford

      This is the way the rich in the Middle East keep control. They force the poor to rely on their capricious benevolence.

  • Benji0804

    If Saudi were to fail big time it would mean no more meddling in the middle east for the United States.

    It’s been mostly to secure Saudi Interest in the region.

    Every dictator that Obama want’s out is a enemy of Saudi e.g. the latest being Assad. Oh and the worse part of this is Saudi is funding Islamic groups in the states and it plans of building 200 mosque

    in Germany.

    • Skyeward

      Actually, everything we do in the Middle East is to keep Israel afloat. Saudi Arabia is just the place where we buy oil and sell guns.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        So why not invade and occupy Saudi Arabia, steal the oil and sell the military hardware to another peace-loving democratic country?

        • Skyeward

          Invasions are expensive. Liddle is correct – anything after the Saudi Royals is going to be far worse.

    • Marie

      If Germany allows this, then they deserve to have their entire nation taken over by Islamic extremists.

      • Zhang Wei

        It’s ok Britain’s 4 airstrikes will have put them in their place!

        • Les Barrie

          I thought it was only three ?

          • Speedy

            We have a drone as well. Only the one though.

      • Harryagain

        You might want to look at this:-

    • PaD

      and Germany is allowing it…correction as of Cologne..Germany WAS allowing it….by the way UK still is allowing it.

  • Roger Hudson

    Can we please stop this ‘Xxxxx Spring’ lazy writing nonsense, not as bad as the xxxxgate stupidity but really annoying. I remember the Prague Spring 1968( disaster) and the Croatian Spring 70/71 (disaster) and now the Arab Spring has been exposed as another rubbish falsehood, just stop it.

  • Roger Hudson

    Ponder this : Arab men get to wear white (cool) clothes but women have to wear black ( very hot) clothes.When anyone can wear what they want we really will have progress.

  • Dominic Stockford

    “…whatever a western liberal tells you about the world of Islam, you can be assured that it is utterly wrong on every count.”

    Anyone up for joining me painting this on the walls of the House of Commons in large letters?

    (This really is a ‘Joke’ by the way, in case GCHQ is reading…)

  • Cobblers! A plague on both their houses!

  • Suzy61


    How to wrap the whole sordid Middle East mess into something warmly amusing?

    The Religion of Peace ‘trademark’ raises a smile every time.

  • Norm Slappz

    Ron, I think we do want trouble in the middle east and we want it to consume Saudi Arabia and turn it into the same smoldering ash heap that Syria has become

    • MrRexRedux

      Nice pipe dream but do we really want MORE MOSLEMS ON HIJRAH TO EUROPE?

  • Terence Hale

    Saudi Arabia has been out fracked. The effect of fracking will make Saudi Arabia a poor land and here lay the danger for stability in the region. This will inflate the Shia Sunni hatred with around 85-90% of the world’s Muslims being Sunni sparks will fly and Muslim communities around the world in Southeast Asia, China, South Asia, Africa, and most of the Arab world will play their part.

    • Harryagain

      You may well be right.

  • thomasaikenhead

    “I assume we were cited because we are Saudi allies, and because we are all-purpose affluent infidels.”

    Perhaps it might also have something to do with the UK repeatedly invading Muslim countries and carrying out military strikes in Afghanistan, Iraq (twice), Libya and now Syria.

    The failed military ventures have caused massive civilian casualties whether dead or wounded, created millions of refugees and left failed states in their wake.

    These facts probably have something to do with why protestors might have a ‘Down with Britain’ placard?

    Claiming that the UK is an innocent and wronged party is hardly consistent with the facts, is it?

    • Tom M

      You are quite correct, the West has intervened too often in matters they should have kept well out of. It would be perinent to point out at this juncture that our leaders approved invading these countries out of some misplaced notion of human rights or cultural superiority. At least the time worn reason of territorial gain was easier to understand.
      However having said that if anyone thinks that we should be prepared to countenance sacrificing our way of life in some act of atonement because of all that then they are wrong. When push comes to shove the game is the same as it always has been since the Epic of Gilgamesh was written. Be ready to fight your corner otherwise someone will take it from you.

      • thomasaikenhead

        The UK has no ‘corner’ in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or Syria!

  • davidofkent

    For a few days, we have had some women claiming that bands of Arab and North African asylum seekers sexually assaulted German women is nothing to worry about. It will all settle down, they say, and in any case this was just a few bad apples who hadn’t quite got used to our ways. I find it odd that such women as these pundits don’t seem to support the women who have been assaulted and instead attack the people who want these asylum-seeking miscreants to be sent home. Women have very odd attitudes sometimes.

  • Les Barrie

    If we’d taken that advise Saddam and Gahdafi would still be in power and the IS would be virtually none existent and all the goody goody liberals would be screaming how unfair the world is,these people are terrorists and barbarians and OUR government is to busy selling them arms to care.

    • Zalacain

      A wild guess…. you didn’t get an “A” grades at your English language exams.

      • Still got more sense than the Foreign & Colonial Office. Strange how that works, isn’t it

  • Thomas Hardy

    A racist islamophobic Millwall supporter pretending to sound intelligent with this rubbish. The article is not even worth reading. Absolute tripe. How did this fool even get a job?

    • PaD

      Rod Liddle doesnt do touchy feely virtue signalling thats for sure…quite the in reality
      which is why he has a real job.

    • Bertie

      How’s portraying Islam in a bad light Racist?

      It might be Islamophobic(or actually plain reporting of fact) but it’s got bugger all to do with race.

      Religion is not a race so being anti a specific religion doesn’t make you racist.

      Not a libtard are you?

      • Chris

        Hardy’s a Muslim supremacist who goes from editorial to editorial attacking anybody who dares question ‘the religion of peace’. I wouldn’t take his comments to seriously.

        • Bertie

          Rod Liddle, author of said article, a racist islamophobic millwall supporter according to Thomas Hardy….hilarious.

          Seriously Rod – you’re a bloody Millwall supporter…Everything else is excusable, but supporting Millwall.Das ist verboten.

          Chris,methinks Thomas Hardy is some runt of Moselm apologist with a predilection for paedophile fantasises/weekend goat shagging

    • jeffersonian

      What’s ‘islamophobic’?

      • Mike

        Anyway, Islam isn’t a race.

    • Adam Carter

      I loathe the RoP.
      Why don’t you?
      I fear what is happening to Europe after mass immigration by followeres of the RoP. Why don’t you?

  • MikePage

    Anyone for fracking?

  • John Morrison

    That was 30 seconds of my life I’ll never get back. What a miserable, pathetic, cynical apology for tyranny and our complicity.

    • PaD

      Maybe Rod is dealing with reality..

      • Neil Saunders

        No, he’s just plain wrong on this one.

        • Bertie

          Suspects he’s spot on with this one. What points do you disagree with?

          • Neil Saunders

            The idea that we have to suck up to the Saudis for fear that whatever replaces them will be even worse.

          • Speedy

            If we had the will to stop the animals migrating to the west, and kicked out the ones already here. The entire wretched region could be quarantined by the civilised world.

          • Neil Saunders

            But our elites (irrespective of party labels) WANT mass immigration (especially Muslim), under whatever pretext. Our feelings and opinions simply don’t count.

          • PaD

            spot on… when the political class are actively and deliberately harming their own citizens they cease to have a mandate to lead.

            non-elitist UKIP would begin the swift retreat from the soon to be warzone of the EU…and that would be a good start..other europeans nations are already taking action however random it seems.

            UKIP will get my vote…a onetime Labour voter of nearly 50years.. but never again after Rotherham.

          • Neil Saunders

            You’ll get no disagreement from me there.

          • Adam Carter

            The regime oppresses the very worst excesses that would arise if there was a revolution there.

          • Neil Saunders

            Yes, they’re a wonderful force for restraint, aren’t they? Especially with all the mosques and madrassas around the world that they fund.

          • Bertie

            And you dont believe the evidence points to such?

            Egypt – Govt replaced by democraticlaly elected Moslem Brotherhood – aka Morsi.


            Palestine – Hamas elected.

            What kind of Islamic extremist government do you think Saudis would elect if the House of Saud were to fall/be replaced?

            p.s For avoidance of doubt I’m not a fan of House of Saud

          • Neil Saunders

            In what way would any successor be worse than the Saudi tyranny, other than being hostile to Neocon America and its European stooges (unless they were to change the habit of a lifetime and support a genuinely liberal regime, rather than the dictators and thugs that they usually back)?

          • Bertie

            Just look to Egypt for an answer to that question of yours Neil. The overthrow of Mubarak – how much worse was its successor – Do I need to answer that?
            The moslem brotherhood were an utter disaster for the country which was why SISI and the Army overthrew them!

            Middle East simply doesn’t do democracy – it needs the firm rule of autocratic leaders which is why we have the mess in Iraq,Syria,Libya we now have because we tried to foist democracy on populations that simply don’t respect such a concept.

            The problem with your obviously Left wing attitude it that there is ZERO chance you’d get a genuinely liberal regime. Just look to Palestine for that, Egypt, or any other shithole in Middle East.

            There is no genuinely liberal regime hence the problem…

    • NYAMEKA mahlangeni

      I cannot believe that this person has really sat down to pen an article in support of a regime that beheads it’s people for in a public spectacle event and stone to death woman for adultery while the man gets to pay some fine. Is this person a UK citizen really? How much worse can anyone treat human beings? I mean right now there is an awaiting prisoner who awaits death by crucifixion by this same regime and somehow we are supposed to believe that Saudi regime replacement would be worse than this barbaric, crude and evil force ruling over the lives of human beings like you and me. And it’s not even about removing that regime more than isolating barbarians to demonstrate that you cannot as a civil and humanist society keep friends who violate humanity rights.

      • abrogard

        yep. it is pure crap. but that’s how unreal everything is. the media, the journalists, the politicians, the observers, the pundits, the everyone craps on and on about what is and isn’t and what should be and shouldn’t and they ignore totally the people.


        The people can be glimmered through youtube vids is probably the best way right now. They are there everywhere and they just want to be people and they want all these aforementioned ‘specialists’ to get out of the way.

        here’s some people I would dearly like to know. When did a journalist, a politician, a guru, any ‘somebody’ ever direct me towards any people in order for me to get closer to them?

        here, look at these shocking vicious criminal hateful monsters and get your nukes ready:

  • Jacobi

    We do not have to stand by the Saudis. The very opposite. And the quicker we all realise that the better.

    The Sunni/Saudi/ISIL and let’s not forget it now Turkish alliance has two objective,

    a. The annihilation of Shia Islam.

    b. The Sunni Islamisation of the West.

    This latter objective they are pursuing as vigorously as the first, helped in both cases at
    this stage by US and UK weapons.

    The solution is, as someone with a better turn of phrase than has put it, is to put the
    Saudis back to breeding camels – only.

    As for our arms industries well we can find better uses for it, such as destroying Saudi oil. They won’t need it after all when breeding camels and there is a world glut of oil in any case.

    • I agree, and our politicians seem to know they are supping with the devil in dealing with Saudi, but in truth they are financing an independent British arms and aerospace industry at the moment. On balance we may be better off disengaging from them, but there would be costs

  • walker442

    Fisher Price commentary for the incurious.

  • Snibbo

    The West already has an ally in the Middle East: Israel. It doesn’t need to be friends with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran or any other medieval despots.

    • Johnnydub

      Israel and Saudi Arabia together with the yanks are allied together against Iran and the Russians.

      • abrogard

        yeah, that’s right. and it is an evil and terrible alliance. and it will bring us down.

  • Fritz Wunderlich

    It is only a matter of time before some well-meaning white liberal halfwit tells us that the murders and beheadings and reprisals and the setting fire to stuff which will undoubtedly result from this current contretemps between Iran and Saudi Arabia is ‘nothing to do with Islam’. And that will be the final triumph of patent absurdity for the liberal elite’s favourite canard.

    Already published: Ian Buruma

    The similarity to the wars in Syria and Iraq is striking. ISIS is a brutal Sunni rebellion against Shia rulers. The US opposes it, but so do Iran, a Shia power, and Saudi Arabia, which is run by Sunni despots. The main axis of conflict in the Middle East is not religious or sectarian, but geopolitical: the struggle for regional hegemony between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Both have backers among the major powers, and both deliberately whip up religious fanatics; but theological differences are not the key to understanding the escalation of violence.

  • Gerry Flower

    Astonishingly poorly written article. It would appear The Spectator doesn’t bother with trying to publish quality writing if this confused hash is what’s served up.

    Was the author drunk when he wrote this balderdash? High? Asleep?

    • Adam Carter

      Tell us why it is ‘poorly written’, ‘confused hash’ and ‘balderdash’.
      Is it ungrammatical, is it full of non-sequiturs, is it incoherent?
      There is some satirical licence in there but are there any major errors of fact?
      Moving from fact to analysis, any glaring faults there?
      I can’t see this ‘confused hash’ and ‘balderdash’ without your help.

      • Gerry Flower

        The answer to each of your questions is ‘yes’. Particularly so for ‘incoherent’ – it’s as if he dictated a stream of consciousness ramble and never bothered to go back and organize it into a proper piece of writing.

        Of course, it’s one thing to submit this sort of rubbish, but a fair amount of blame lies at the feet of whoever it was who decided this was worthy of anything grander than immediate deletion.

        • Adam Carter

          Your reply is disappointing.
          To support your claims you will need to quote examples from the article.
          A generalised reply to specific questions will only get you a ‘Fail’ grade.
          Please try again.
          I’ll be back here in about 13 hours.

          • Gerry Flower

            Ah, I see you’re one of those people who tries to be patronizing and superior, but isn’t clever enough to do it well. I’ll explain where you’ve gone wrong…

            When you claim I need to support my claims by quoting examples from the article – no I don’t. I’m making a comment on a website – I don’t ‘have’ to do anything.

            “A generalized reply to specific questions will only get you a ‘Fail’ grade.” Double fail on your part actually. You’ve asked what’s known as ‘closed’ questions – i.e. questions that are correctly answered by either yes or no. Hopefully now you recognize I have given specific answers to your specific questions. It’s just that you were too specific for what you wanted.

            If you scroll through the comments section you’ll see I’m hardly alone in my opinion, so it would appear the faults in the article are rather obvious. However, I’m afraid it’s not my responsibility to ensure you have the ability to recognize these faults, so you’re on your own there.

  • Thanks Tank

    It is mad but Saddam for all his thuggery was still leading a secular society while Arabia is ISIS lite and exports pure Islam around the world and all the violence and hate that goes with it.
    The invasion of Iraq will go down as the most fool hardy decision since WW1.

    It will and is changing the middle east and Europe.

  • Fenman

    Surely,Rod the the sacred liberal myth is that fundamentalist Muslims supporting Islamists are ‘a tiny minority’, constantly shouted by our PCs politicos from Cameron to Merkel. Whereas after 20yrs in the ME it seemed to me to be in the majority, or who else is doing all the killing, bombing, rioting and funding it?

  • Fenman

    Ps you are right the majority of Saudis are extreme Islamists and the majority of Iranians too, which happen to be the main Shia and Sunni countries. The largest ME country, Egypt, voted in an Islamist gov.