The Saudi secret police spotted Mohammad al-Nimr walking, mowed him down with their car, and arrested him immediately. Dawood al-Marhoon at least had his injuries – sustained at a peaceful demonstration that became decidedly unpeaceful when the Saudi police turned up – treated at hospital for a short time before they came and seized him from the surgical bed.
Al-Nimr, 18, was technically an adult at the time of his brutal and clandestine ‘police interview’; al-Marhoon was only 17, but was still not spared the horrendous agony that made him cave into signing a blank piece of paper where his captors then composed a ludicrous confession statement.
Both of these young veterans of the 2011 Saudi Spring sit on death row: Mohammad bin Salman’s ‘modernisation’ of his futuristic medieval monarchy does not change the fact that their headless bodies will likely one day be nailed to a cross and holstered upright for their families, and the rest of the Saudi public, to see.
Al-Marhoon still sits in Riyadh’s Al-Hayir prison, the Saudi death row, where he has been since 2015. He is confirmed to be alive, but as per policy he will be killed without giving any notice to his family. It could be any day.
Mohammad al-Nimr is no stranger to all of this. Though just a year older than al-Marhoon, he is an old hand at the life of a political prisoner having experienced his uncle Nimr al-Nimr being executed in 2016 for organising the protests. He is alive, but his whereabouts and condition are unknown. Like Al-Marhoon, he will lose his head; unlike Al-Marhoon, his crucifixion afterwards has been ordered in writing.
The architect of all this misery – America’s pet ‘stabilising force’ in the Middle-East, Boris Johnson’s ‘enduring ally’ and Macron’s ’embodiment of the French Revolution’ – is now spearheaded by de facto leader Mohammad bin Salman.
The Saudi Royal Family have had no problem dipping their tentacles into every facet of Western power. It’s an indictment of the power of blood money in Europe and the US that a regime which practices Christ-like executions faced no barriers from the Leaders of the Free World™ or the supposed European purveyors of enlightenment humanism. They own $116 billion of US Treasury debt, $55 billion of which has been recycled back into Saudi investments. They supply the EU with $17 billion of oil each year and in return purchase $33 billion worth of European products, propping up vital flailing industries. They provide a further 600,000 barrels of oil a day to the UK in return for weapons as part of Margeret Thatcher’s Al Yamamah deal. Since 2015, the Saudi Arabia US lobby paid $18 million to 145 registered lobbyists to influence the U.S. government, and intensive lobbying campaigns in the UK have resulted in total inertia over the Yemen issue in spite of public disgust.
These investments keep us quiet; nobody bites the hand that feeds them. We have stood steadfast with the House of Saud throughout every torture, every image of a starving Yemeni child and every insult to an entire gender as progressive forces in the Middle East have come and been destroyed in the name of ‘ensuring stability’. Simply because, unlike every sap who has been ousted in a CIA-led coup, they provide the raw materials that sustain Western hegemony.
And now, through the implementation of predominantly American capital, the Saudi 2030 vision will oversee their final metamorphosis from a tolerated tyrannical ally to a normalised global frontrunner. Aramco, the largest company in the world by some measures, will soon float on the New York or London stock exchange: whichever licks Saudi boots the most satisfyingly. The WWE will now be hosted at the King Abdullah Sports Centre, and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia will add to their stake in US giants General Electric, Lockheed Martin and the taxi app Uber – who will beta test their self-driving cars in Riyadh.
Western material greed has sharpened the swords and nailed these young boys’ hands; these monsters are our design. We’re more likely to see crosses sponsored by Pepsi and firing squads optimised by IBM machine learning than democracy come to Riyadh in our lifetime.