Blood brothers - Saudi Arabia and the West

A note from the editor

Vanessa Baird

Saudi Arabia – making friends, making enemies

The Saudi regime won’t like this magazine. Nor will the Western governments who kowtow to it while exploiting its wealth and paranoia – which have been on full show recently.

The Saudi justice ministry threatened to sue a Twitter user who compared the regime with ISIS after poet Ashraf Fayadh was sentenced to death ‘for spreading atheism and disrespecting the prophet’. This was met with an international #SueMeSaudi campaign.

Humour is a good response to absurd displays of power. But in the kingdom itself, there is little place for it. There is no media independence; it is effectively controlled by the royal family. It’s illegal to speak to foreign journalists without authorization and what you say could easily land you in jail.

Less easy to control is social media, which has a tremendous take-up in Saudi Arabia but is also not without risks. The regime has invested in systems to track users and in digital media itself. One Saudi prince has a five-per-cent – the second largest – share in Twitter, for example.

What is guaranteed to please neither the Saudi ruling elite nor Western governments is our interview with Julian Assange. He talks about the latest batch of SaudiLeaks, the dissemination of which is punishable by 20 years in a Saudi jail. So do spread the word.

Elsewhere, we uncover a Nepalese orphanage scam and our Worldbeater takes a pop at mild reformer turned pompous autocrat, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, president of Turkey.

Vanessa Baird for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

Keynote article.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad  bin Salman (left) is responsible for bombing Yemen; his cousin Crown Prince Mohammad bin Nayef (right) is in charge of executions.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (left) is responsible for bombing Yemen; his cousin Crown Prince Mohammad bin Nayef (right) is in charge of executions.

Photo: Faye Nureldine/Getty

'Our friends'

Why is the West still cosying up to an ever-more repressive Saudi Arabia? asks Vanessa Baird.

Buy this magazine

‘Disgraceful!’ exploded the parliamentarian.

What appalled British MP Daniel Kawczynski was that his country was about to cancel a $8.4-million deal to modernize Saudi Arabia’s prison system amid concerns about the country’s worsening human rights.

A betrayal, in the eyes of Kawczynski, the Conservative member who has chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Saudi Arabia.

And up to then, last October, such an event was virtually unheard of. Saudi Arabia is our friend, is the ...




Features.

Saudi fighter pilot prepares for action over Yemen. The targeting of schools, hospitals and even wedding parties, has brought international condemnation. Munitions supplied by Britain and others have been used.

Arming up…

Its not just for show, as the bombing of Yemen illustrates, writes Vanessa Baird.

Buy this magazine

Waleed Abu al-Khair, a lawyer whose crime is to defend constitutional reformists and blogger Raif Badawi.

Saudi activists – who are they and what do they want?

Madawi Al-Rasheed examines the prospects and limits of activism in the absolute monarchy.

Buy this magazine

Saudi Arabia – The Facts

The key facts you need to know about the country's people, environment, oil economy, human rights and more.

Buy this magazine

An estimated 35% of the Saudi population are poor.

Poverty in the land of black gold

‘Rich Saudi’ are words that seem to belong together. But Paul Aarts and Carolien Roelants highlight another, mainly hidden, reality.

Buy this magazine

Getting high on their own supply – Saudi youths engage in a popular stunt of ‘sidewall skiing’. Oil exports are down while domestic consumption keeps rising.

Oil on the skids

The quiet power of oil and money has for decades enabled Saudi Arabia to buy silence and influence. But not for much longer, predicts Nafeez Ahmed.

Buy this magazine

Gambling with ISIS and Co

Saudi Arabia – birthplace of violent Islamic puritanism – is playing a dangerous game, writes Alastair Crooke.

Buy this magazine

The chaos following last year’s earthquakes left children in Nepal more vulnerable to traffickers.

Crocodile tears and con tricks

Fiona Broom reports from Nepal on the scandal of the ‘orphanage industry’.

Buy this magazine

Blog.

Are US politicians serious about tackling corruption?

In this month’s podcast, our friends at the Tax Justice Network ask ‘is the US president really serious about tackling corruption in the finance sector?’

Read this article

Deacon Elineide Ferreira de Oliveira who runs a safe house in Brazil.

Faith and Gender Justice

It’s clear that we will not achieve gender equality unless we work positively with faith communities, including with men and boys, writes Helen Dennis.

Read this article

Read more blogs...

Opinion.

Revolution beyond the ballot box

Mark Engler argues for acts of determination and sacrifice.

Read this article

Agenda.

Peru’s merry-go-rounders

Peruvians head to polling stations across the Andean nation, Lucas Iberico Lozada reports.

Buy this magazine

Angolan activists jailed for reading

Angolan activists jailed for reading

They were arrested for organizing a bookstore discussion in the capital, Luanda. Marc Herzog reports.

Buy this magazine

A volley of protest in Iran

A volley of protest in Iran

Human Rights Watch has thrown its weight behind a challenge to Iran’s ban on women watching volleyball matches. Kelsi Farrington reports.

Buy this magazine

Introducing... Freddy Lim

Who would have imagined that a tattooed heavy-metal musician would break the stale stand-off in Taiwanese politics? Richard Swift asks.

Buy this magazine

Mail-order abortion from India

Mail-order abortion from India

An Indian entrepreneur has a solution for some of the 21.6 million women who resort to unsafe abortions every year, writes Cristiana Moisescu.

Buy this magazine

Golden goal for child miners in Burkina Faso

Child miners are finding an unlikely escape from goldmines, through football, writes Rebecca Cooke.

Buy this magazine

Boko Haram suspects released by the army.

Innocents detained in Nigeria

Ayuba Ijai was held hostage for months by Boko Haram terrorists before government soldiers detained him on suspicion of being a Boko Haram member. Samuel Malik explains.

Buy this magazine

Pakistani Christians living in fear

Pakistani Christians living in fear

Pakistani Christians who are charged under the country’s blasphemy laws are living in hiding, Rizwan Syed reports.

Buy this magazine

Ocean litter-pick off the Netherlands

Ocean litter-pick off the Netherlands

Researchers from the Ocean Clean Up will place a 100-kilometre-long floating barrier off the Dutch coastline, Beulah Maud Devaney reports.

Buy this magazine

Regulars.

Letters

Praise, blame and all points in between? Your feedback published in the March 2016 magazine.

Read this article

Close your heart, open your heart

Closing our heart to suffering suppresses our humanity, writes Ruby Diamonde.

Buy this magazine

Open Window - Republican Gothic

Pedro X Molina from Nicaragua with ‘Republican Gothic’.

Buy this magazine

Country profile: Cameroon

The central African country's long sleep continues, says Ben Shepherd, but the clock is ticking.

Buy this magazine

Making waves: Kholoud Waleed

Dario Sabaghi talks to Kholoud Waleed about her battle for freedom of speech in Syria.

Buy this magazine

Who gives a damn about democracy?

Roberto Savio argues for a revival and re-engagement, before it is too late.

Buy this magazine

Our shadowy corporate overlords

TTIP is both ludicrous and frightening, writes Chris Coltrane.

Buy this magazine

The end of satire, Erdoğan-style (see: ‘Sense of humour’).

Worldbeaters: Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s president is one of the political class’s more humourless and intolerant specimens.

Buy this magazine

A word with Anjan Sundaram

The author and reporter talks to Graeme Green about self-expression, dictatorship and the importance of a free press.

Buy this magazine

Film, Book & Music Reviews.

Old photographs of Chile’s original people form part of Patricio Guzmán’s beautiful sad elegy.

Mixed Media: Films

The Pearl Button, directed by Patricio Guzmán; The Survivalist, directed by Stephen Fingleton.

Buy this magazine

Sainkho – accessing sonic places most people can’t reach.

Mixed Media: Music

Like a Bird or Spirit, not a Face by Sainkho Namtchylak; De Montevert by De Montevert.

Buy this magazine

Mixed Media: Books

Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye by Marie Mutsuki Mockett; This Is An Uprising by Mark Engler and Paul Engler; Bad News by Anjan Sundaram; Betty Boo by Claudia Piñeiro.

Buy this magazine

Also out there...

More reviews from the March 2016 magazine.

Buy this magazine

Back