This one goes out to all you MBS fans who thought that the Crown Prince was finally ushering in the dawn of “moderate Islam” in Saudi Arabia. In reality, he is overseeing reforms to a certain extent, as he wants to attract foreign investment and secure President Trump’s support against the Islamic Republic of Iran. But only to a certain extent.
“Saudi Arabia Detains Activists Who Pushed to End Ban on Women Driving,” by Ben Hubbard, New York Times, May 18, 2018:
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Saudi Arabia has detained at least five people connected to the campaign to end the kingdom’s longtime ban on women driving, despite the fact that the government has promised to lift the ban next month, associates of the detainees said on Friday.
The Saudi government has billed the lifting of the driving ban as part of a reform push spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The changes have also included curtailing the powers of the religious authorities and expanding the entertainment options available in the conservative kingdom.
In the establishment media, you’re a “conservative” if you support strict application of Sharia, and a “conservative” if you oppose strict application of Sharia.
But those efforts have coincided with waves of arrests that have scooped up clerics, businessmen, members of the royal family and activists who have a history of challenging the government’s positions. Many of them have not been officially charged with crimes despite having been held for months.
In a message on Twitter early Saturday, the Saudi Interior Ministry confirmed that seven people had been arrested after being accused of communicating with “foreign entities,” infiltrating the government and providing financial support to “hostile elements abroad to undermine the security and stability of the kingdom.”…