Saudi King Slams Egyptian Protests
Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a shock, but the leader of one of the Arab worlds most repressive regimes isn’t exactly a fan of anti-government protesters:
Saudi Arabia slammed protesters in Egypt as “infiltrators” who seek to destabilize their country Saturday while an Iranian official called on Egypt to “abide by the rightful demands of the nation” and avoid violent reactions.
Saudi King Abdullah called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and “was reassured” about the situation in Egypt, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.
“During the call, the king said, ‘Egypt is a country of Arabism and Islam. No Arab and Muslim human being can bear that some infiltrators, in the name of freedom of expression, have infiltrated into the brotherly people of Egypt, to destabilize its security and stability and they have been exploited to spew out their hatred in destruction, intimidation, burning, looting and inciting a malicious sedition,'” the news agency said.
Saudi Arabia “strongly condemns” the protest, it said.
Of course he does.
UPDATE (James Joyner): John Burgess has an extensive discussion of this at his place. Two snippets:
Saudi Arabia—and Saudis in general—have a religiously-based belief that rulers are to be both respected and obeyed. That is not a bad method to keep civil peace. It has its limits though. Leaders are respected only so long as they hold the respect of the people they govern. When people feel themselves abused by their leaders, they demand change, often of those leaders. Leaders can go quietly, as did Tunisia’s Bin Ali, or they can go violently. Unjust leaders deserve neither respect nor obedience, as Mubarak is discovering.
Saudi Arabia is in dire need of its own reforms. There’s no doubt about that. High unemployment, low salaries, ill-educated youths with degrees that do nothing to put them into jobs, half the potential workforce—the female half—is arbitrarily excluded from most work, poor infrastructure… the list goes on. To date, though, those problems have not reached a critical level. They can and, unless changes come more rapidly, they likely will. But not today and not tomorrow.
Read the whole thing.