Saturday, July 07, 2007

Monday, July 02, 2007

The murky waters of diplomacy and TWAT




Robert Fisk

No word, of course, of the Saudis' habit of chopping off the heads of "criminals" after grotesquely unfair trials. In an unprecedented year for executions, the kingdom's swordsmen - the job is sometimes passed on father to son as was once the case in Britain - managed to hack off 100 heads by the middle of this month. But then again, you'd have to avoid any such references when British investment in Saudi Arabia is worth at least £6b. That, no doubt, is one reason why Abu Henry boasted to his Saudi friends - according to the same government magazine - that in Riyadh "we've been proud of our visa policy, where 95 per cent of Saudis applying for a visa before 9am on a workday obtain their visas by 2pm the same working day". Phew. Now that is something. The Saudis, you may remember, provided 14 of the 19 killers of 11 September, 2001; quite a record for a little kingdom, and one which in other circumstances - had the murderers been from Chad, say, or Mali - would not have been rewarded with quite so generous a visa policy.