The US response to Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr was “weak” and typical of Washington’s policy concerning gross human rights violations by Riyadh, an American political analyst says.
The Obama administration’s failure to condemn Saudi Arabia for executing Sheikh Nimr shows “the hypocrisy of the United States” regarding human rights, said William Jones, an editor at the Executive Intelligence Review.
“Every time that there’s anything similar to what would be called human rights volitions by China or by Russia or by one of these countries, the United States is immediately on the attack, but when Saudi Arabia continually violates human rights, they get a free pass,” Jones told Press TV on Tuesday.
“The Obama administration has pointed out that the biggest threats to the United States are Russia and secondarily China… which makes it difficult for the US to work together with these two countries in dealing with the very volatile situation in the Middle East,” he said.
“And since the US is making enemies on all fronts, that gives a greater strength to Saudis… [who] think they can turn the screws on the US” when they choose, he added.
Jones said that in light of these “blatant” violations of human rights, the United States should release the infamous 28 pages that were redacted from the 9/11 Joint Congressional Inquiry Report to expose the role of Saudi Arabia in the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The Saudi regime said Saturday it had executed Sheikh Nimr along with 46 others, causing international outrage and a serious escalation of diplomatic tensions in the region.
Sheikh Nimr, a critic of the Riyadh regime, was shot by Saudi police and arrested in 2012 in Qatif, which was the scene of peaceful anti-regime demonstrations at the time.
Obama administration officials have privately acknowledged that Saudi Arabia’s mass executions and other human rights abuses, including reported widespread civilian casualties from its military intervention in Yemen, have raised difficult diplomatic issues.
But the intensity of the response to the execution of Sheikh Nimr, a widely respected cleric, appears to have caught the White House off-guard. “They were blindsided,” said Ali al-Ahmed, director of the Washington, DC-based Institute for [Persian] Gulf Affairs and a frequent critic of the Saudi human rights record.
“This is a huge problem that will hurt the United States. I think they failed to understand that this is an issue that is not going to go away,” he said.
The brother of Sheikh Nimr, has blamed US President Barack Obama for failing to prevent his brother’s execution.
“I am sorry to say that the American government did not offer to make any efforts on this, although they knew the danger of this action and the repercussions,” Mohammed al-Nimr said in an interview with Yahoo News.
Mohammed al-Nimr’s own son, Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr, has also been sentenced to death over his alleged role in anti-regime protests in 2012, when he was 17 years old.
Mohammed al-Nimr said that, in the aftermath of his brother’s execution, he is now increasingly concerned that his son will also be put to death.