Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:17AM
Bahraini protesters hold placards bearing portraits of prominent Shia Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr during clashes with police in the village of Sitra, south of the capital Manama, on January 8, 2016, following a protest against his execution by Saudi authorities. (AFP Photo)
Bahraini protesters hold placards bearing portraits of prominent Shia Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr during clashes with police in the village of Sitra, south of the capital Manama, on January 8, 2016, following a protest against his execution by Saudi authorities. (AFP Photo)
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How does America choose its friends?  Saudi Arabia has executed Shia scholar Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a critic of the Riyadh regime, along with 46 others, on vague charges of “terrorism” drawing international condemnation.

The monarchy, however, has rejected all criticism, accusing critics of meddling in its internal affairs. And, despite claiming it is calling for peaceful dissent to be tolerated, America is standing by her old ally. Saudi authorities knew the killings would cause global uproar. A note by the director of Saudi security services cancelled military holidays and called for “maximum precaution” until further notice. 

Yet the Saudis’ Western allies continue to back them, with British Prime Minster David Cameron defending a secret deal with Riyadh, the Prime Minister even suggesting London’s “relationship” with the country supersedes its human rights record.  Saudi Arabia also executed a man alleged to have killed a cameraman working for Britain’s state-run BBC. But was this just a tactical move to prevent condemnation from British media?