Saudi Executions: Real Face of the West and Mohammed bin Salman

2022-03-24 - 5:41 م

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): "The death penalty is not a punishment as much as it is an ultimatum, as it aims to create a state of terror closer to being a punishment than the state of guilt, and when its victims are dead, the smell of blood is used as a means of warning the living. There is always a margin of error in an individual death penalty, yet there is absolutely no margin for correctness in a mass death penalty," Kuwaiti academic and human rights activist Fahad Al-Mutairi comments on the mass executions that took place in Saudi Arabia. 

Saturday, March 12, 2022 was not a normal day for Saudi Arabia; people woke up to the news of the execution of 81 inmates, mostly Saudi nationals, in the highest mass executions in Saudi Arabia's bloody history of beheadings, and the third mass execution since King Salman took office after January 2016, in which 47 individuals were executed, including Sheikh Al-Nimr, and 2019 when 37 individuals were executed (32 of whom belonged to the Shiite minority).

The West, as usual, has shown its ugly face, which is marred with double standards in relation to this horrific incident. None of the major countries has condemned these executions, quite the contrary, the Spokesman of the US State Department has evaded condemning this massacre of executions, he continued to refer to the gulf kingdom as "our Saudi partners" and refused to denounce the execution for nearly four minutes, during which there was a lengthy exchange between him and two journalists, who were clearly outraged as they listened to his cold and hypocritical response.

Britain, for its part, expressed its "shock", France expressed its "regret", while Germany said that it was "extremely shocked" by what happened. It was clear how the West decided to overlook what happened, because it demands the friendliness of Saudi Arabia today, and is looking to convince the oil-rich kingdom to increase its oil production in order to control and reduce prices as much as possible, amid the Russian war on Ukraine. 

As for Mohammed bin Salman, he is of course not a seasoned politician, on the contrary, he is young, arrogant and reckless and has no political experience or prudence. He practices politics as "trial and error", he does what he wants, sees the reactions and evaluates them. Based on this, he moves forward with his political project, through which he wants to ultimately impose his power internally and be respected externally and internationally. 

We can clearly see this from the many steps he has taken, most prominent, the war on Yemen, his hostile speech with Iran, which later changed, the killing of Khashoggi, the kidnapping of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his forced resignation, the kidnapping of princes and the wealthy and their detention at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and forcing them to give up a large part of their wealth.

*Executions: Targeted group and targets

For Mohammed bin Salman, the executions target two main groups:

Group 1 (the opposition): Since his father took office, Mohammed bin Salman has executed 83 Shiites, primarily political opponents, who have been demanding justice, fairness and an end to discrimination. 

Subsequent executions could include opposition figures such as Salman Al-Awda and others. 

Group 2 (rebels): The executions included out-of-control extremist groups, such as those affiliated with ISIS, which confront the state using violent means such as suicide bombings.

The messages behind these executions are many and directed to the inside and outside; the inside, which has to comply fully with Mohammed bin Salman and what he wants to do with the country and the people, as Kuwaiti academic Fahad Al-Mutairi says it aims to "create a state of terror" and "means of warning the living."

The message to the outside, who has been highly critical of and underestimated Mohammed bin Salman since Khashoggi's murder, is trying to force them to respect him, and view executions just like they view Yemen's war and the theft of wealthy funds as a step toward imposing prestige and respect.


Bin Salman does not see himself having to hide behind the mask of a moderate liberal reformist. In a lengthy interview with the "The Atlantic" US magazine, he claimed that his country has eliminated the death penalty except for murder crimes, whose sentences are the death penalty, unless the victim's family exempts the killer, but he also added to that category, "Anyone who threatens the lives of many people," which is a loose expression through which he can execute anyone he wants under the pretext of threatening people's lives.

He was also clear on the issue of absolute monarchy, and that he had no intention of creating any political development aimed at engaging people in important and fateful decisions, and he knows that the west is full of double standards and hypocrisy and could overlook friendly dictatorships, no matter how hideous.

Mohammed bin Salman is well aware of the equation, the West and the so-called "international community". It only seeks its interests, and once it is able to achieve those interests, it doesn't matter if you're a murderer or a serial killer, because the worst what could happen to you then is receiving a statement of condemnation from Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch.

Arabic Version