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Of the 196 countries currently recognised by the UN, only a small number are of any global consequence. The count of those countries we call ‘civilised’ is even smaller. This means – unfortunately – that there are uncivilised countries of consequence; states without high culture but which nevertheless wield political, economic and cultural power.
The most iconic mismatch of this kind is undoubtedly the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Occupying the lion’s share of the Arabian peninsula and with a population of over 28 million people, Saudi is a country of great influence. It is one of the richest countries (per capita) in the world. Its religious capital Makkah provides the spiritual focus for 1.3 Billion Muslims around the world. Funded by oil revenues, the over-equipped Saudi military is the third most powerful in the Middle East (after Israel and Egypt). The youthful Saudi population is growing rapidly and will reach 40 million by 2050.
This concentration of power, together with Saudi’s lack of civilisation has made for the world’s biggest geopolitical headache.
Even though the Saudi government publically professes a Westerly inclination, the country’s religious elite – all of whom are within the royal family’s social orbit – are responsible for the maintenance of Salafism – the most devilish interpretation of the Islamic religion in a thousand years.
Inflexibly opposed to moderation, adaptation and modernity, Salafism regards the Qur’an as the only source of accurate reflection and human practices deviating from it as Haram. Salafi clerics preach that only the example of the ‘original’ (6th and 7th century) Muslims can serve as an accurate guide for contemporary believers, and it is this demonic contention that directly influences the acts of puritanism and violence we see on a daily basis. (Many of the terror groups in operation today are acting under the influence of Salafism rather than Wahhabism – the latter being a parent theology of the former.)
The original Muslims, as you’ll be aware, were cruel, zealous warriors. They slaughtered anyone who dared to hold a different conception of the divine (including, most famously, the Jews of Yathrib), and they expanded the domain of Islam with martial sadism, sexual terrorism and cultural vandalism. The Berbers, Persians, Nabataeans, Phoenicians, Palestinian Jews and Egyptians were all trodden ruthlessly underfoot and forced to revere a religion plagiarised from their own ideas.
Saudi Arabia’s original inhabitants destroyed the ancient Middle East and their descendants use oil money to keep this tragedy from being reversed or even moderated. So far, only Israel has succeeded in undoing this ancient offence. The Lebanese Maronites tried desperately but failed. The Persians dream of reversing it, but seem unlikely to get the chance.
In the modern era, Saudi men have earned a reputation (and this is all they have earned) for being the most charmless of all the national varieties. Just today it is reported that a Saudi prince has offered £1,000,000 dollars for a night with the ‘celebrity’ Kim Kardashian. This shabby behaviour fits in neatly with the rumoured excesses of this vile royal house. In 2012, a Swiss hotel worker was chastened for revealing the business had to purchase hundreds of condoms for visiting Arab princes. London hoteliers, too, will be familiar with the same faces and their limitless indulgence in prostitutes and strippers. Even London’s commoners have noted the graceless arrogance of these playboys. The Sunday papers are routinely bulked out with photographs of their citrus-coloured Lamborghinis and gold-plated Porsches.
Saudi Women – along with North Koreans of both sexes – are among the most invisible people on earth. Even if you think hard about it, it’s unlikely you can recall the face of one of them beyond the odd escapee Princess. Within the sweltering oppression of the desert Kingdom, women are left to grow old and fat in house-shaped prisons. They cannot drive or leave the house without male permission, nor can they talk with men outside of their extended family.
Apart from destroying cultures, funding prostitution and spreading extremism, the Saudis can also be personally thanked for the collection of tragedies grouped under the date of 9/11; that aquamarine morning in 2001 when 3000 Americans were immolated by madmen acting under the influence of desert know-nothings. People who read chick-lit, listened to Coldplay and Nirvana, shopped at Victoria’s Secret and Tesco – ordinary modern-world citizens – were destroyed by a fire of hatred, the kindling of which began in a faraway desert.
America’s ‘alliance’ with Saudi must count as the most cynical piece of economic opportunism in history. Even the West’s brief friendship with Josef Stalin made more sense and bore more justifying results. There is no state worth fighting that Saudi would help us defeat. Riyadh is on civil terms with Moscow, Pyongyang and Beijing. The use of the word ‘alliance’ in this context drains it of any meaning.
And it isn’t just America degrading itself in this way. The West in general has functioned as Arabia’s main armoury for over 40 years. Britain alone has supplied Riyadh with billions of dollars’ worth (you read that right) of military equipment including fighter jets, air defence systems, tanks, armoured personnel carriers and STA and STG missiles.
Saudi Arabia is the worst country in the world. There is something blasphemous in even calling it a country. Germany is a country. A country of great, industrious, well-evolved human-beings. Saudi is a cultural black hole. It sucks in anything of value that falls within its gravity. And that sucking void; the darkness where the Syrians, Persians and Egyptians went, waits now for the West with a burning hunger.