Tory politicians are the first to proclaim their support for ‘human rights’ in their campaigns to demonise those who stand in the way of imperialism. The bourgeois ‘human rights’ gang brand freedom-fighters as “terrorists” whilst passing off the brutish gunmen who serve imperialism in Syria as the “moderate opposition.” And all of them will be crawling on their knees to lick the boots of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia during his state visit to London this week.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is regarded as the power behind the throne in the oil-rich desert kingdom that was founded by his grand-father, Abdel Aziz ibn Saud, after the First World War. During his long life Ibn Saud had innumerable wives and concubines, whose offspring now make up the upper echelon of the ruling class of the feudal Saudi kingdom that has lived off their juicy cut of the oil revenues that have kept the country afloat since the 1930s.
Mohammed bin Salman is often described as a “reformer” in the bourgeois media. He is said to be a champion of women’s rights. What this actually consists of is allowing women to drive, perform in public and attend public sporting events. But no-one has the vote. There are no elections and no parliament. Political and religious dissent is crushed, and the king rules as a tyrant propped up by the civil and religious police, the armed forces, tribal leaders and ‘military advisors’ from the USA and Pakistan.
Saudi Arabia is propped up by two pillars – the first being the support of the Wahhabi movement, a puritanical Unitarian Sunni Muslim sect that’s been allied to the House of Saud since 1744. The second is the might of US imperialism. American big oil corporations developed and plundered the immense oil-fields that lie under the desert sands of Arabia, whilst providing the Saudi royal family with immense riches that have enabled them to buy influence through corrupt politicians and religious bigots throughout the Arab and Islamic world.
In the past Britain played second fiddle to the Americans in Saudi Arabia. In the 1920s British imperialism even thwarted Ibn Saud’s ambitions to rule the whole of the Arabian peninsula. But there’s been closer contact in recent years, fired largely by British sales of military equipment.
Bin Salman has come to London to talk about arms and political support. Saudi Arabia has the fourth highest military expenditure in the world and the kingdom is the world’s second largest arms importer. British merchants of death sold over £1.1 billion-worth of weapons to the Saudis last year. They hope to do even better in 2018.
The Prime Minister says that she will raise “deep concerns” over the humanitarian crisis in Yemen – but in reality Mrs May won’t want to talk about ‘human rights’ or anything else that could offend the feudal Saudi prince during his visit. There are plenty of others on the street who will do it for them however.
Labour and peace movement activists are holding meetings, seminars and demonstrations to oppose the Saudi war in Yemen and to highlight the real human rights abuses in the Saudi kingdom. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has repeated his earlier pledges to stop arms supplies to Saudi Arabia as long as it remains engaged in the criminal war on Yemen.
Communists stand shoulder to shoulder with all the Saudi people fighting for democratic rights and an end to the war in Yemen. We fully support the protests against the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince and urge all our readers to join the ongoing campaign to end British support for the feudal House of Saud.