The USA is seen as the protector of the 3 holy cities through it's proxies (subsidiaries) of Israel and Saudi Arabia. The contrast between these two subsidiary governments is extreme.Saudi Arabia is governed by an entity which operates a cult of personality and Command-Economics. Unlike socialism, which in it's various forms offered a better existence for the majority, the disastrous economics used by the House of Saud (with direction by secretive western academic economists) have withered away entire generations. Most of the people in Eurasia, Africa, and the Americas agree that Libya as governed by the Jamahiriya until 2012 was a better place to be than in the realm of the House of Saud and the Sharia Law used by them to enforce the political process of fascism...
Fayez Nureldine / AFP/Getty Images
Saudi security personnel stand in front of a huge poster of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz during the annual Janadriyah Festival of Heritage and Culture on the outskirts of the capital Riyadh on February 8, 2012. AFP PHOTO/FAYEZ NURELDINE (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, left, backs arming opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad at a conference in Tunisia on Feb. 24. Though Saudi leaders are eager to opine about Iran's nuclear program or the carnage in Syria, they are reluctant to discuss their country's domestic problems.
Photo: Fethi Belaid / AFP/Getty Images
Headlines chosen by news journals using the services provided by monopolized global news media provide a contrast in headlines which might criticize such a powerful entity as the House of Saud and Saudi Arabia, protectors of Mecca & Medina and Sharia...
published 2012-03-04 "Joel Brinkley: Youth aren’t being served in Saudi Arabia" by "Turkish Daily News" [http://turkishcentralnews.com/archives/10027]
published in print as "Shariah law holds back Saudi youth" and online as "Saudi youths' future constrained by Shariah law" by the "San Francisco Chronicle"
Joel Brinkley, a professor of journalism at Stanford University, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning former foreign correspondent for the New York Times
Thanks largely to Iran, gas prices are rising to heights unseen in years — $4 or more per gallon in some areas. And one nation more than any other stands to benefit from this.
That nation, of course, is Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, an exceedingly wealthy state with a current-account balance of $151 billion, the world’s second largest.
So it seems a bit curious that Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s highest youth unemployment rates. At least 40 percent of Saudis under 30 years old reportedly have no job. What’s more, Saudi Arabia faces a mammoth housing shortage for these young people and others. Banque Saudi Fransi warns that the state will need 1.65 million new homes in the next three years, just to meet current demand.
This sounds like a typical story: A corrupt oil-sodden leadership steals all the money and provides nothing for its people — another example of the “oil curse” made famous in Nigeria.
But that’s not Saudi Arabia. Transparency International ranks more than two-thirds of the world’s nations as more corrupt than Saudi Arabia. Still, why do Saudis have to wait up to 18 years to get approval for a mortgage?
Saudi leaders don’t like to talk about any of this, the nation’s dark side. They prefer to opine about closing down Iran’s nuclear program or stopping the carnage in Syria — all worthy goals. Attending the “Friends of Syria” conference in Tunis last week, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said he favored arming the Syrian opposition because “they have to protect themselves.”
It’s good to have the Saudis on the right side. But I haven’t heard al-Faisal or other members of the royal family talking much about the proposed mortgage law, intended to open the housing market. It has been marooned, “under study,” in government committees, for more than a decade now.
All of this is actually more than just a bit curious. These problems raise an important, even fundamental, question: In the modern era, can a fully Islamic state, like Saudi Arabia, function in way that serves its people? You see, the issue behind the housing, jobs and other problems is Islam.
“A lot of this is impacted by Sharia law,” said Patrick Ryan, who runs a private online Saudi information service. “You know, the Sharia prohibition of usury.”
Above all else, Saudi Arabia likes to think of itself as the custodian of Mecca and Medina, Islam’s holiest shrines. Not surprisingly, then, it’s the only state governed entirely by Sharia law in its most uncompromising form. And Islam forbids lending or borrowing money under any scheme that requires paying interest. In other words, mortgages.
A year ago, when Saudi youths stood up, demanding more rights like others across the Arab world, King Abdullah doled out $35 billion in benefits to mollify the demonstrators. It worked. And among his promises was a plan to build 500,000 new homes.
The problem is, how can young people, particularly, buy homes without a mortgage? The state does run a Sharia-certified, interest-free mortgage service, essentially a charity. But it can’t fund every new homeowner — especially since 60 percent of Saudi Arabia’s 28 million people are under 30 years old. That’s why potential homeowners must wait 18 years for a mortgage.
“It’s kind of a ripple effect; no mortgages, and no one is building homes,” Ryan said. Last year, the government took up the mortgage bill again, talked about it a bit, enacted a couple of incremental bits, but then tossed it back into the swamp where it remains today.
The jobs problem is similar. Saudi youths understandably feel privileged, special. They live in a wealthy state of great religious importance. They aren’t going to run restaurants, work construction or wrestle with oil rigs. Foreign workers, millions of them, take care of that.
Saudis expect to work as executives or government officials. That’s why the king is creating thousands of new federal positions. But he can’t possibly manufacture acceptable jobs for many millions of young people.
Those raddled older men who govern the state and find the proposed mortgage law repugnant probably won’t appreciate one statistic that helps tell the story. Saudi Arabia has a higher incidence of obesity than any but four other states, all of them tiny Pacific islands. Their combined populations are .009 percent of Saudi Arabia’s.
I wonder, then, is it a coincidence that 60 percent of the population is young and largely unemployed — while 36 percent is obese?