Money and self-interest always trump human rights. The Harper regime has just announced a $10 billion sale of military equipment to one of the most notorious regimes in the Middle East--Saudi Arabia. While the Saudis are so incompetent that they will not be able to use them against any external threat, their real use would be against its own civilian population as well as keeping other notoriously oppressive regime, such as in Bahrain, in power.
Saturday February 15, 2014, 13:07 EST
There are two constants in the Saudi regime’s policy: buying weapons and causing fitnah in the Ummah by dividing Muslims.
While the regime cannot continue to buy weapons everyday, the sectarian fitnah is something that can be spread easily because some Muslims unfortunately are prone to such propaganda.
Coming close on the heels of the Saudis paying for $3 billion worth of weapons for the Lebanese army—twice the amount of Lebanon’s annual defence budget—from France, Riyadh has just placed an order for $10 billion for weapons from a Canadian subsidiary of General Dynamics.
The American weapons manufacturer announced yesterday (Friday) that it had secured a 14-year contract for its Canadian division to sell military vehicles as well as training and support services to the Saudis.
General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada (GDLS), based in London, Ontario will manufacture the weapons. Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast confirmed the deal and said it would sustain more than 3,000 jobs and boost over 500 companies across Canada.
Perhaps, but there are some problems with the deal. Quite aside from the fact that Saudi armed forces personnel are notoriously inept, the regime is a gross violator of human rights of its people. Rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have confirmed the regime’s appalling human rights record. The year 2013 was described as particularly gruesome because of public beheadings, torture and abuse of dissidents.
There are more than 30,000 political prisoners languishing in Saudi prisons in appalling conditions. Women are oppressed; they are not even allowed to drive cars. Why is the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper not concerned about the rights of Saudi women that must be the most oppressed in the world?
The Saudi regime does not allow the building of churches or other places of worship under the archaic understanding of a hadith (saying) of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, that there can be no two religions in the Arabian Peninsula. What the noble Messenger, upon whom be peace, said was there can be no two rival powers; he did not mean ordinary people of other faiths with whom Muslims have no quarrel whatsoever.
The Harper regime has set up an Office for Religious Freedoms. This office harangues those governments that Ottawa does not like but if there are rich pickings to be made, as in Saudi Arabia, then this office remains mum.
Another reason for the Saudi-Canadian deal could be the fact that like Harper, the Saudi regime has also become an unabashed apologist for Zionist crimes.
The Saudi regime fully supports and finances violence in the Middle East by unleashing Takfiri terrorists in Syria as well as militarily invading Bahrain to prop up a minority regime that is oppressing the pro-democracy protesters that constitute a majority.
The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) reported earlier this month that the Saudi regime’s military expenditure at $59.6 billion for 2013 surpassed that of Britain and France.
Canada has joined the worst violators of human rights by supplying them more military hardware.