Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, the American ally who ruled over a brutal and draconian Islamic theocracy, is dead.
According to reports, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died in hospital Friday morning while undergoing treatment for pneumonia.
Abdullah’s designated successor is Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, his 79-year-old half-brother. An official Saudi statement has named Salman the new king.
A statement on the Saudi Arabian state TV channel attributed to Salman declared:
“His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and all members of the family and the nation mourn the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who passed away at exactly 1 a.m. this morning.”
Under King Abdullah, the Gulf State had one of the world’s worst human rights record. A backward, ugly, mean, and repressive regime, Abdullah’s kingdom gave out the death penalty for homosexuality, denied women the most basic human rights, and committed many other despicable human rights abuses.
In Saudi Arabia, women are second class citizens, treated more like children than adults. Women are required to dress in black from head to toe, and require permission from a male guardian to work and/or marry.
Adding insult to injury, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world which does not allow women to drive.
In addition to the abysmal treatment of women and homosexuals, Saudi Arabia is a place where migrant workers are routinely tortured and sexually abused, while young children are frequently imprisoned without trial and executed—often without even knowing what their crime was.
In Saudi Arabia there is no political freedom, no religious freedom, no freedom of speech. It is, in fact, one of the most repressive regimes in recent history, and an affront to human rights and human dignity.
In fact, under King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia remained one of the very few countries in the world not to accept the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Abdullah is dead, but the ugly and repressive Islamic nightmare that is Saudi Arabia will continue. The fact that the U.S. and other western powers continue to count this backward and repressive regime as an ally represents a moral failure of epic proportion, and only serves to demonstrate the insidious power of oil to shape and move global politics.