Press TV has conducted an interview with Shabbir Hassanally, an activist and Islamic scholar from London, on the impact of execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr on the future of Saudi Arabia.
The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: What do you think about Saudi Arabia’s execution of Sheikh Nimr, given he was a human rights advocate and he was promoting democracy in the Saudi kingdom? How do you think this news has been reflected in Western media?
Hassanally: I think it’s having an effect that the Saudi regime didn’t expect it to have. Aside from the protests that have happened, as you showed, across the entire world, and these protests will be continuing, there are protests scheduled for tomorrow and for the following week and like so on, this is not something that is going to just sort of peter away and people are not going to forget Sheikh Nimr.
And it’s not just about Sheikh Nimr; it’s about the blatant hypocrisy of the international community. Even the Western media, like earlier on myself and a friend were monitoring various news channels as we do, and the Sheikh Nimr story is top on the BBC, on CNN and all of these things, even Al Jazeera is talking about it, and France 24. Of course they’re trying to put a sectarian taste to it, but anyone goes away and does research on who is Sheikh Nimr, they know, they can see and a blind man can see Sheikh Nimr was a human rights activist and democracy activist, like you were saying yourself.
And the irony is that you have Saudi Arabia which is on the UN Human Rights Council and they are beheading people and you know the mind boggles. It’s very difficult when you try to explain it to someone, it’s very difficult to say it and maintain straight face because if someone put this in fiction it, will be very an implausible fiction so ludicrous what’s happening.
And I think the world begins to understand, I mean earlier on there was a statement by various members of the British government and there will be saying that this is reprehensible, this is bad, it shows the disregard for human life and it can ignite also some problems as obviously Press TV has been covering.
The EU has made a statement. I think the Saudis want to expect this type of noise if you like, but perhaps I don’t know maybe they will, maybe this is a more calculated move.
However, there are many in the activist community who are of the opinion that at the top of the Saudi government, if you like you have this sort of the figurehead of Salman. And Salman is just the figurehead. The poor guy’s got dementia, barely he remembers what he did five minutes ago, let alone remembering how to run the country and everything.
He’s like a walking corpse, he’s dead, but the people who are running him, his son, people like Adel al-Jubeir, other people within the government, a small of the minions, the kiddies…who have no experience, have no understanding, have no finesse and these are the ones who are making all of the strategic mistakes.
Many people I’ve spoken to are saying that the murderer and assassination of Sheikh Nimr is strategic suicide. It would be simple for the Saudi regime to take a gun and point at its own head and shoot itself, because like many of the senior scholars across the world have said, especially from the Islamic Republic of Iran, this is like the harbinger of the end of the Saudi cancer. It’s exposed it for what it is.
There is no human rights activist out there who can maintain the straight face when saying Saudi Arabia is chairman of the UN Human Rights Council, I mean, the notion is ludicrous, of course you will have people like Hillary Clinton and the Netanyahus and all of these pioneers of human rights and democracy coming around and shouting the odds, and Donald Trump no doubt.
Go shouting the odds about “Oh, you know, Saudi Arabia is our friend and we need them.” But the truth will [be] out, what is the truth: “We need Saudi, because they give us oil.” But that oil is running out.
The Saudis have got according to the IMF, not according to Shabir or any small activist, according to the IMF, the Saudi is going to become bankrupt in 2020s and according to people I’ve spoken to this is a very pessimistic idea, they could go bankrupt sooner, because they are spending; it is insane.