The US and the West simply care about their “economic interests” and the “flow of oil” from Saudi Arabia and are thus heedless of the Saudi protesters’ plight in the autocratic monarchy, says an analyst.
The comment comes as Saudi protesters have taken to the streets in the Qatif region of Eastern Province to demand the release of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nemr al-Nemr.
The demonstrators on Sunday chanted slogans against the repressive regime of Al Saud.
Sheikh Nemr was attacked, injured and arrested by Saudi security forces while driving from a farm to his house in Qatif on July 8.
Since February 2011, protesters have held demonstrations on an almost regular basis in Saudi Arabia, mainly in Qatif and the town of Awamiyah in Eastern Province, primarily calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, and an end to widespread discrimination.
However, the demonstrations have turned into protests against the Al Saud regime, especially since November 2011, when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in Eastern Province.
Similar demonstrations have also been held in the capital, Riyadh, and the holy city of Medina over the past few weeks.
According to Human Rights Watch, the Saudi regime “routinely represses expression critical of the government.”
Press TV has conducted an interview with political analyst Kamel Wazne to further discuss the issue.
The video also offers the opinions of two additional guests: director of the IGA, Ali al-Ahmed and writer and radio host Stephen Lendman.
What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.
Mr. Wazne, some parts of the media in Saudi Arabia, some sources even outside of Saudi Arabia, in the Western media, have referred to Sheikh Nemr al-Nemr as the person who is looking for a Shiite state, in their words, in Saudi Arabia.
What do you know about his role in the Saudi protests and the significance of this arrest for the future of this movement, started in Saudi Arabia?
Well, obviously Sheikh Nemr al-Nemr; first of all, he is a resident of Saudi Arabia, he is a citizen of Saudi Arabia. He never claimed that he wanted to build a Shiite state within Saudi Arabia, what he stated [is] that, he does not like the system of Saudi Arabia, he does not like the way they conduct, the monarchy conducts its business in Saudi Arabia and he does not like the fact that the monarchy has been there for a long time and there is no constitution for the country, and there is no, actually, elected power within that country.
The fact that the people do not have that voice, where they have to go to the ballots every period of time and select their leadership and he does not like the fact that there is a lot of wide discrimination against Shiites and other Saudis in all parts of Saudi Arabia, but he concentrated his movement about what is taking part [place] in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia, because, mostly, the people in the eastern part, mostly the Shiites, were discriminated, marginalized by the Saudi government.
The people of the eastern part were not allowed to be promoted or to hold middle or higher jobs. In fact I was told that even a high school principal is not allowed to have [be] from that part of that region. You are not allowed to be, like, an officer in the army or a policeman or you cannot enter as a soldier.
So they actually kept them very impoverished for [on] purpose, so they are not allowed to participate in the religious ceremonies or to build their mosques.
So there are all kinds of violation of- and I think that Sheikh Nemr al-Nemr, he tried to address the inequality that exists within the Saudi government, within the monarchy and he called outright for the downfall of the monarchy and he called for the downfall of al-Saud. He was very forceful in his voice.
Right now, Mr. Wazne I was reading this article in the media, today. Political observers who are looking at the situation in Saudi Arabia are saying that two issues are now important for the West when it comes to Saudi Arabia and that is, how these protests are going to be affecting the state stability in Saudi Arabia and also the amount of crude oil production there.
So basically, if the West is looking at the Saudi protests in this perspective, how is it going to be, do you think, advising the Saudi regime when it comes to these protests?
I think there were some articles was reported in the Wall Street just a couple of days ago, where I think the article stated very clearly, they advised them to arrest Sheikh Nemr al-Nemr and crack down because they fear, the Americans fear, that disturbance or that start of the movement in Saudi Arabia will have a lot of legs and will actually ignite a fire in Saudi Arabia.
You have to remember that it is not only the eastern part, there are other parts of the Saudi establishment, especially the women, the liberals, they feel all they have cases against the monarchy. Even if we have to look at the monarchy, among themselves, there is feud among themselves, especially when it comes to power.
So any start of this demonstration, I think will resonate a lot of fear within the Saudi government and within the monarchy.
I think the American and the Western world, they very clearly, worry about their economic interests, they care about the oil and flow of oil.
We have to acknowledge the fact that Saudi Arabia sends over ten million barrels a day from their country and they provide the US market with a lot of liquidity and any shortage of that oil will be a havoc on the US economy and in the financial crisis in Europe and throughout the world.
So I think the Americans care about the oil and the flow of oil and the money that is deposited and they have disregard for the people of Saudi Arabia and those people who are demonstrating on the streets.
I think the fact that the CIA director, he was in Saudi Arabia just two days ago, meeting with the king, obviously this actually will give some indications how important what is taking place in Saudi Arabia [is] and how concerned the Americans are about what is taking place.
They do not take any demonstration with ease, because they saw what happened in Egypt, what happened in Tunisia, what is happening in Yemen and what is happening in Bahrain.
These people, who are marching in the streets, are determined and they started with a few hundred and they [will] end with big, big voices to counter.
When the protesters say that they want social justice, they want an end to systematic discrimination; how is that change going to be brought about?
Does this mean a fundamental structural change in the entire monarchy system or does this mean a political reform?
I think it’s not clear at this point but I think that people want fundamental change within the system in Saudi Arabia, they want, probably, a different political system.
Maybe they think that they had enough with the monarchy; probably they want some elected power to represent the people of Saudi Arabia.