Western leaders praise dead Saudi despot King Abdullah

King Abdullah and Prince Charles

Saudi King Abdullah and British Prince Charles

Western leaders have showered praise on the deceased Saudi despot King Abdullah to a hypocritical and nauseating degree.

To quote Ross Douthat of the New York Times, "... various officials and luminaries offered the gestures — half-mast flags, public obsequies — expected when a great statesman enters the hereafter. John Kerry described the late monarch as “a man of wisdom and vision” and a “revered leader.” Tony Blair called him a “modernizer of his country” and a “staunch advocate of interfaith relations,” who was “loved by his people and will be deeply missed.”

Douhat notes, "... anyone outside Western officialdom was free to tell the fuller truth: that Abdullah presided over one of the world’s most wicked nonpariah states, whose domestic policies are almost cartoonishly repressive and whose international influence has been strikingly malign. His dynasty is founded on gangsterish control over a precious natural resource, sustained by an unholy alliance with a most cruel interpretation of Islam and protected by the United States and its allies out of fear of worse alternatives if it fell."

According to another source, "The majority of eulogies went beyond the requirements of diplomatic etiquette... UK Prime Minister David Cameron said the monarch, ... “strengthened understanding between faiths,” while IMF chief Christine Lagarde called him “a strong advocate of women,” albeit a “discreet” one. And in the words of Tony Blair, Abdullah was, “a skillful modernizer,” who “led his country into the future.”

According to the diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks in 2010, the US regarded Saudi Arabia under King Abdullah as the biggest source of Sunni terrorism funding in the world, and a “crucial” piggy-bank for Al-Qaeda and other radical groups. 

Perhaps the most over the top tribute to Abdullah was the flying of the union jack at half mast over Buckingham Palace, Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament.

Not to be outdone, US President Obama cut short his trip to India to meet with King Salmon, Abdullah's successor.

All this for a despotic leader of a country that received the lowest possible marks for civil and political freedoms in the annual Freedom House rankings in 2014. A regime without any accountability to its people. In a country without national elections, political parties, or parliament.

Yet these are the same western leaders who assail less well endowed countries about human rights.

So why all the accolades for a tyrannical leader of one of the most tyrannical regimes? One reason is that Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest spenders on military hardware, fourth behind the US, China and Russia, and ahead of France, the United Kingdom and Japan.

Here is Prince Charles putting on a dance in traditional Saudi dress. The next day the British military conglomerate BAE Systems was awarded a massive contract to supply Saudi Arabia with 72 fighter jets.