After the Jamal Khashoggi case[the murder of the Saudi journalist in Istanbul in 2018], the Saudi kingdom found itself at a loss. To be banished from the nations, to no longer look to the future and to see only ungodly, enemies, opponents, dissidents, terrorists to be killed or eliminated, whatever the cost. Another possibility would have been the choice of a certain openness (perhaps progressive at first) but real, sincere and visible.
Unfortunately, this was not the path chosen. The spadassins of the kingdom may carry the voice of Riyadh everywhere, but the time of oil and monetary power is over. Yesterday, the international private sector was fighting to trade with Saudi Arabia at any price, today, it is clogging its nose, tomorrow, it will be ashamed.
Saudi Arabia has become Daech’s objective ally. They share the same world view based on the rejection of otherness and freedom of expression
For my part, I (like other international NGO leaders) have been approached several times by Saudi diplomacy. I had the opportunity to meet them, particularly at their embassy in Brussels in November 2018, to discuss with them the future, dialogue and engagement of Crown Prince Mohammed Ben Salman’s (MBS) policy on the application of the death penalty. They told me that things were moving forward, moving in a tribal and ultra-conservative environment that had to be taken into account.
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I have answered them many times that, beyond incantations, acts, proofs and symbols are needed; that this displayed goodwill is not just an element of a well-oiled communication plan. My position has always been clear: the door is always open, so much so that you want to open it ajar!
Beheadings and crucifixion
The mass executions of recent days (36 beheadings and one crucifixion on 23 April and more than 100 executions since the beginning of 2019) have finished closing this double door. The world must acknowledge this, but paralysis (or hypocrisy) continues to prevail within nations and particularly at the UN in Geneva or New York. Political Europe is not strong enough to carry this disgrace. It is therefore up to the citizens of the world to make this known, from Paris to Casablanca, from Washington to Jakarta.