SHAFAQNA – Alexander Azadgan, a professor of Strategic Global Management from California, discusses Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in an interview with PressTV.
The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Q: It is a sad day for the Muslim world and also when it comes to human rights that a human rights defender has been executed in Saudi Arabia simply for expressing his views. What do you make of it?
Azadgan: Well, I am going to break the academic protocol and state that the Saudi regime is going to burn in hell for doing this to human rights activists. Now, there is no doubt whatsoever about Saudi Arabia’s treatment of dissidents. If King Salman had any credibility to begin with which I do not believe that he had any, he has just lost the … last ounce of his credibility.
I do wonder if there is some Machiavellian deal that was made in the background because just today or in the past days or so we heard about the opening of the Saudi embassy in Baghdad. I wonder if some of the extremist elements in Iraq demanded the head of the Sheikh in order to have Saudi Arabia established diplomatic relations with it. So, this is a very very dark day for human rights activism, for freedom movements and Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr certainly secured his martyrdom in the Islamic history and if the Saudis were concerned about a Shia uprising, they have just guaranteed it by doing this.
Q: Right now hundreds of armed vehicles are being sent to the Qatif region which was the stronghold of Sheikh Nimr where he enjoyed the most popular support. Now the resistance movements there have already called for mass protests on the streets. What are we are going to see in the coming hours?
Azadgan: It is hard to forecast that but the strong show of force demonstrates how weak the Saudi government is. This is not a show of strength, this is a show of weakness that killing one man would galvanize thousands if not millions of Saudi citizens in the eastern province or al-Qatif as it is known in Arabic. Keep in mind that’s also the oil-rich area of Saudi Arabia. So as a political economist I would forecast the possible increase in the price of oil because of potential stability that [would] come into that region. We just have to see what Obama administration’s reaction to this would be. I am not talking about statements. I am talking about actual actions on the ground and the Obama administration is not honestly claimed that it is on the side of freedom and Arab spring and freedom and human rights, I do not think so. They are going to keep the same arrangement that they have been having with the Saudis. I do not see any change in that. Also 2015 was one of the darkest years in history of beheading in Saudi Arabia. I believe around 157 are beheaded in Saudi Arabia. So, when they open their embassy in Baghdad and they talk about wanting to bring stability and civility into that region, it just makes me … vomit at the hypocrisy of Saudi-controlled regime.