Saudi Arabia’s human rights records started hitting rock-bottom since crown prince Mohammed bin Salman took over the throne. Just one year into Salman’s rule, the kingdom saw a massive increase in cases of arbitrary detention, war crime, and execution of dissidents.
Jamal Khashoggi’s murder inside the kingdom’s consulate is the latest reminder of Saudi Arabia threat mechanism spun by prince Mohammed Bin Salman, targeting dissidents. As a result, today Saudi holds the title of the world’s biggest human rights violator.
However, what has remained unseen is the enhancing threat mechanism of Saudi Arabia using, which the kingdom has been controlling its bilateral relations, trade deals as well as civilians.
Beginning of the Threat Machinery
Saudi Arabia threat mechanism has been popular globally. Countries, entities, and people, either fear associating with the nation or fear breaking an established association, based on the notion that a grave consequence might be awaiting them.
The said has previously been tested by several allied nations like, Spain, Germany and Canada who suffered bilateral trade rifts with the kingdom.
The kingdom, as part of its assertive foreign policy, recalled its ambassador in Germany and halted the renewal of ‘non-essential’ contracts with the country. This was done because of the comments made by Germany’s Foreign Minister about Saudi’s ‘adventurism’ in Middle East politics, referring to Lebanon. This offended the kingdom and led it to cancel contracts.
Similarly, Spain cancelled its arms sale to Saudi Arabia over concerns about the rising humanitarian crisis in Yemen. However, it later resumed the sale soon after Saudi threatened to cancel a $2.2bn warship contract with Spain, which would have led to the unemployment of thousands.
Saudi’s spat with Canada is world renowned for the abrupt turns it took gradually. Canada expressed concerns over civil society and women’s right activist’ arrest. In return, Saudi recalled its ambassador in Canada and ended all trade deals with the country. Moreover, it ‘threatened’ the country with a 9/11-style attack, displaying the classic ‘Saudi Arabia threat mechanism’.
Khashoggi’s Murder and Controversies that Followed
Jamal Khashoggi was a journalist of Saudi-origin who worked with The Washington Post and was an outright critic of the leadership of the kingdom. The writer was alleged murdered inside Saudi’s Turkish consulate, earlier this month. The way Saudi didn’t think twice before taking a life sent out a cold message to all dissidents of not speaking against the government, otherwise similar consequences may be encountered.
Journalists and media groups were deeply angered by the incident worldwide and began denouncing the government. The threat created by Saudi over its dissidents, was seen being massively challenged by a strong, unanimous movement led by the media fraternity, followed by politicians, celebrities, and masses globally.
Threat Mechanism 2.0
Till the global aggression remained verbal, Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman gave no attention to it. Soon allied nations like US, UK, Spain and France, joined those condemning Saudi Arabia for allegedly murdering Khashoggi, and demanded justice for the journalist. Some of the US politicians even boycotted the Saudi FII 2018 event. Meanwhile, other congressional members went to the extent of considering to scrap arms deal with the gulf nation. Though the move was called “foolish” by the US President Donald Trump himself, Saudi Arabia threat mechanism overruled. The kingdom went a step ahead and warned of destroying the economy of the world superpower by selling it oil at $200 per barrel.
It apparently made no difference to Saudi Arabia & its prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Its representatives from media and political background, too, defended the nation using ‘threat mechanism’, the kingdom’s favorite technique for tackling any hurdle.
Uber, a firm Saudi Arabia invested billions of dollars in, withdrew from the FII 2018 event, giving the kingdom shock of a lifetime. The withdrawal was officially announced by the firm’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi through his Twitter handle. This triggered the kingdom and costed Uber its customer base in Saudi. Saudi boycotted the use of Uber application in the country, as per Bloomberg and Reuters, to get even with the firm.
Saudi Arabia threat mechanism is intensifying at a massive pace and compromising global peace. The kingdom’s way of controlling trade relations with an assertive foreign policy and threatening those who intend to go against it, is going haywire. It is important for countries and people to first acknowledge this rapidly adapted machinery of threat and counter it. Strict measures need to be adopted to either destroy the mechanism or intercept it.