|code: 329946||Date: 2012/07/18 - 19:20||source: Press TV|
Interview with director of the IGA, Ali al-Ahmed
Saudi ruling family has Washington's full support
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - The comment comes as Saudi protesters continue their rallies in the Qatif region of Eastern Province to demand the release of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nemr al-Nemr.
The demonstrators on Sunday chanted slogans against the repressive regime of Al Saud.
Sheikh Nemr was attacked, injured and arrested by Saudi security forces while driving from a farm to his house in Qatif on July 8.
Since February 2011, people have held demonstrations on an almost regular basis in Saudi Arabia, mainly in Qatif and the town of Awamiyah in the Eastern Province, primarily calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, and an end to widespread discrimination.
However, the demonstrations have turned into protests against the Al Saud regime, especially since November 2011, when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in the Eastern Province.
We have talked with director of the IGA Ali al-Ahmed to further discuss the issue.
The program also provides the opinions of two additional guests: political analyst Kamel Wazne and Stephen Lendman, a writer and radio host.
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Q: Mr. Ahmed, the arrest of Sheikh Nemr al-Nemr, that of course has led to an escalation of protests. Now did the regime make the wrong decision in detaining him?
Ahmed: Absolutely, the regime made that decision, thinking that, that will calm down the street, it will prevent further protests.
But it did just the opposite, it inflamed passions and pushed the young people into the streets even with larger numbers and we have seen young students being killed by the Saudi special forces. So we are witnessing the birth of a revolution in [Saudi] Arabia.
Q: Mr. Ahmed right now let us look at how the Saudi government has been speaking about this, the Saudi regime, about what is happening in the streets.
They have been saying in their reports, I am quoting that ‘there are masked gunmen involved, they are attacking security personnel, they are attacking police stations and they say that, “there is a number of elements involved in what’s happening in the streets in Saudi Arabia and they are trying to provoke violence.”
What do you think is in the long run the game plan of the Saudi establishment in the face of these protests?
Ahmed: Well, the game plan of the Saudi government [that it is] using against the protest movement, is the same tactics that [were] used by Hosni Mubarak [ousted dictator of Egypt], Gaddafi [toppled leader of Libya] and others who already have fallen.
So it is very typical for them to accuse it of violence, of external or foreign influence and of the protesters carrying guns and so on
If you take [for] example the last young person, 17-yeal old, Abdallah [Ja’far] al-Ojami, who was shot while walking in the street of Awamiayh; he was shot by a sniper, by special forces’ sniper, about half a kilometer away from the police station. He was captured, he was brought to the station bleeding and they actually beat him up and let him die... a high school student; and they claimed that he was attacking the police station.
So these types of stories and lies that the Saudi government is spreading, will not stand for scrutiny, international and local scrutiny and it is the typical excuse that they use against protesters.
There are tens of thousands of protesters as we speak, now in Awamiyah, taking this young boy to his last resting place and chanting, “Down With the Al-Saud” so it is not one person or two, we’re talking about tens of thousands of people who have clearly stated that they want this regime down and no matter what the Saudi regime says, it will not be successful.
Q: And with this strong relationship that exists between these two countries [the US and Saudi Arabia], Mr. Ahmad what do you think will be America’s position or what kind of intervention would it be trying to display in Saudi Arabia, if things get bigger than they already are?
Ahmed: Well, what the United States has typically done with other countries, like the Hosni Mubarak regime; they supported the Hosni Mubarak regime to the last breath; they will do even more with Saudi Arabia.
In fact, I mean, there is evidence that the United States has provided some assistance, in terms of combating the protest movement that is ongoing, so I have seen photos that I am showing to some experts of- which appears to be satellite or drone pictures of the protest movement in Qatif and the picture of the Sheikh Nemr al-Nemr which has surfaced on the Internet and it appears to be a picture leaked by the Saudi government, somehow but it is not from protesters, because it is from the air and it is not from the Saudi government because it was a scanned picture, so it looks like it’s from the air and it looks very much like a picture from satellite or drone.
And that picture was of the protest movement a few months ago and I suspect that the United States has done that.
We have many statements by US officials that they will support the Saudi ruling family to the end and the visit of the head of the CIA and the National Security Council of the United States to Saudi Arabia in the past week shows you that they are reassuring the monarchy, that they are supporting the Saudi monarchy to the last breath.
To the United States’ policymakers, it is not about the people of Saudi Arabia, it is not about the country of Saudi Arabia; it is about supporting the ruling family, the Saudi monarchy and that is very disturbing when it comes to the fact that this country, the United States, was founded on revolting against an absolute monarchy, the English [British] monarchy, at that time.
Q: Mr. Ahmed what do you think on this? Do you think when people are saying on the streets that we want justice, what does that mean? What kind of change are they looking for?
Ahmed: Well, the people in the region, in Saudi Arabia specifically, they would like to see a government by the people, for the people and that is the demand of most of these people who are revolting across the Middle East and the United States has not stood with these people.
In fact the US and the policymakers and even analysts figure that reform is anything that supports the continuity of the Saudi monarchy, [but] reform here means that you need to remove the power from the hand of the few and give it to the people; transfer the power from the al-Saud to the people of that country and that is what the people want.
Q: So, Mr. Ahmed are you saying that the people would be content with anything but the downfall of the [al-Saud family’s] monarchy? They would want anything but that?
Ahmed: They want the monarchy to fall because this is the biggest hurdle in front of their freedom and it is the biggest hurdle for justice and the Saudi regime is unsustainable, there is no system like this that could survive for few years.
So its collapse is eminent and there is no question about it and the West will be shocked but it will happen.