A wise ruler might see the writing on the wall and accelerate at least the public relations of reform, in the face of revolution closing in all around. But not so in Saudi Arabia. As well-entrenched dictatorships in its neighbourhood crumble to both local and global applause, the absolute monarchy of the House of Saud is tightening its grip rather than loosening it, and throwing a handout to other beleaguered tyrants while at it.
Saudi Arabia clings to its dubious status as being unique in the world in several respects: It's the last remaining state where women have no rights to vote whatsoever (and of course, cannot run for office... not that there is a lot of elected representation going on in the kingdom). It's the only country in the world where it's illegal for women to drive. Saudi Arabia has the lowest representation of women in the workforce in the world (5%). It's one of the few remaining countries still enthusiastically using capital punishment, and not just for murder by the way: you can be executed in Saudi Arabia for apostasy, drug offenses, sexual deviancy, and witchcraft. Yes, witchcraft. Beheading by sword is the preferred method, but stoning...More >>