By Alejandro A. Tagliavini *
The crimes that most concern global public opinion are those of drug trafficking and terrorism, what no one says is that governments carry an enormous responsibility in this … if they are not the creators.
Drug trafficking would disappear – as in Portugal – by just ending the prohibition of those “illegal” drugs, very harmful, indeed, but which cause fewer deaths than alcohol and tobacco. Only that, of course, it would mean leaving traffickers without a great business and many politicians, judges and police officers without the bribes they recieve.
As for terrorism, governments should start by stopping feeding and encouraging it. Shall we put aside the fact that many of the terrorist factions confronted, ironically, use the same Western weapons, and let us focus on the origin.
Most likely, Saudi Arabia is the main exporter of terrorism. Due to the nationality of the leaders and “combatants”, the origin of the financing, but above all because of the prevailing fanaticism that causes, on the one hand, that the beheadings are “normal” – hundreds are “executed” annually under this absolutist monarchy – and that many prefer to immolate themselves rather than continue living under these circumstances of marginalization and semi-slavery.
The assassination of Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents, last year, triggered the world condemnation “pour la galerie”, because then Western governments continued to finance, support and, so, encourage repression under Prince Mohammed.
Thus, encouraged by the support of their governments, many investors and executives who canceled visits after the murder have returned to the Saudi kingdom. And this tyranny, far from being frightened, continues with its fanaticism and violent repression.
In an interview last year, Mohammed ironically described the arrests as a small price to pay to “rid the kingdom of extremism and terrorism without civil war, without stopping the country’s growth.” And many Saudis express their enthusiastic support for the crown prince and his plan, called “Vision 2030” … or live in fear, observing his words carefully.
Saudi Arabia government arrested at least eight intellectuals in mid-November, when it extended an offensive against political dissent. Among those arrested were Fouad Al-Farhan, a prominent blogger; Abdulmajeed al-Buluwi, writer and political analyst; and Wa’ad al-Muhaya, an enthusiast of self-taught philosophy.
Many of the detainees were once active on social networks or websites and supported the revolutions of the Arab Spring of 2011, which the Saudi monarchy considered a threat. However, they had stopped writing years ago and maintained low profiles, after starting small businesses or even joining the government.
In order to try to distend the unbearable internal situation, in recent years the government has granted women a few new rights and has loosened some regulations. However, freedom of expression is increasingly compromised. Hundreds of people – activists, academics, businessmen and clerics – have been detained since 2017.
In short, as far as Western governments finance and support – in fact – these fanatics, they will get terrorism in return … and they can sell them weapons.
* Member of the Advisory Board of the Center on Global Prosperity, of Oakland, California