- Published on Tuesday, 19 June 2012 08:53
English Video: click here
My recent article "Arabian hypocrisy and the Islamist movements" published in Arabic and English provoked a storm of reaction due to the large number of examples included in it; I received dozens of written and oral responses from different segments of readers and which many were in favour of what's in the article. Some people, pushed by curiosity or challenge, have asked me to name the Arabian diplomats whom I accused of delinquency; some have sent me pictures showing Algerian diplomats drinking alcohol and have compared them with the pictures which I published showing the Kuwaiti Ambassador in London, Khalid Al Duwaisan drinking wine in front of his daughter.
But the theme of my previous article was NOT alcohol, it was hypocrisy; drinking is a great sin in Islam but it does not lead to infidelity, what can lead to infidelity is the Hippocratic atmosphere which exists in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait where alcohol is prohibited for normal citizens but not for high-class people. As two responses claimed that I had invented the incidents mentioned in the introduction of my article, I am now going to name the diplomats whom I accused before of committing offenses punishable in their own countries.
I mentioned that I saw an ambassador praying while he was drunk, this was Hussein Al Dousari the Qatari Ambassador in Algeria and then in Iran, and the brother of the current ambassador in Thailand; it was during a farewell dinner set up in the house of Lieutenant-General Mohammed Bin Eid Al-Otaibi, a former officer in the Saudi intelligence who served as an ambassador in Afghanistan, and the Saudi ambassador in Algeria at the time. And the Kuwaiti diplomat who went drunk to the presidential palace was Ambassador Mohamed Fadel Khalaf currently heading Kuwait's mission in Bosnia.
The Saudi diplomat who was drinking wine in front of the Religious attaché of his embassy was Abdulrahman Al Suhaibani the current minister in the Saudi Embassy in the UK, this was in a ceremony organised by the Chinese Embassy in London in the autumn of 2009, and he was accompanied by Hazza Mohammed Bin Hasher who was formerly in charge of the Islamic Affairs Department at the Saudi Embassy in the UK and who is now the current head of the commercial office in Taiwan.
Today's article is the first in a series of contributions which I intend to write about the reasons delaying revolutions in the Gulf States, I will start to talk today about the role of Western countries, and Britain in particular, to rein in the change in the GCC countries. I will address later in this series the importance of issues like classism, sectarianism, religion, oil boom, and tribalism in any counter-revolutionary tendency in the Arabian Peninsula.
So: How does the West, Britain in particular, promote counter-revolutionarism in the Gulf Cooperation Council? (*)
I will start by structuring the subject to three main axes in order to help myself answering the question
1 - Is there any revolution in the Gulf?
2 - Why does the United Kingdom support the Gulf regimes? What does it give to them? And what do they offer in return?
3 - How did the British Foreign Office report human rights situation in the Gulf recently?
1 - Is there any revolution in the Arabian countries of the Gulf?
First, I want to make it clear that I am not calling in this contribution for a revolution in the Gulf States and that I respect the sovereignty of the peoples on their territories; however, and like any other Arab countries, I see the seeds of revolution already planted in the six societies composing the Gulf Cooperation Council. I am even confident that these seeds bloomed, or are about to, in two of these countries: Saudi Arabia and Bahrain; the other states will see sooner than expected a popular movement which can be peaceful and lead to constitutional monarchies or violent and lead to the establishment a Republican system.
My certitude is based upon my continuous observation of the developing trend of equality and freedom in this region as a result of the spread of education and modern communication technologies, faced by a kind of resistance from the local regimes.
Saudi Arabia is the most likely to face trouble dealing with small revolutions (like the events of Hunain and Al Awamiyah last year) or a large-scale revolution inspired by the ideology of the different spectra of the opposition (Salafi-Jihadist, constitutionalist, Ikhwanist, Khomeinist and reformist). Bahrain is having a real revolution, a growing and disturbing movement unable at the moment to integrate the Sunni minority into it; yet other countries will have the same fate, either for religious and social factors as in Oman, or for issues related to freedom as in Qatar and the UAE, or perhaps as a result of combined social and political effects as in Kuwait.
Two time-bombs exist today in Oman and they are likely to explode in the absence of the current police state: Sectarianism and Islamism; Sectarianism is a normal result of the existing diversity in Oman where Ibadism constitute a majoritarian but not an extremely majoritarian body, as a wide range of the population is Sunni with the existence of a Shia minority and even a Hindu minority. And Islamism is the most likely alternative of the state's ineffective secular policy failing to accommodate people's cultural and political demands, it is not to be neglected that Oman knew a record number of coup attempts during the last twenty years, aiming to re-establish the ruling of the Imam (an Ibadi form of Khomeinism).
In the United Arab Emirates we hear time to time shocking news about depriving people nationalities because of their political activities; and in Qatar the tenth of the population were sacked from their native country because of their support for the former ruler; but both the UAE and Qatar will prove the inaccuracy of easy conclusions stating that money can replace freedom.
As for Kuwait, which is in parallel with Bahrain getting very close to achieving its emancipation from feudal monarchies and to move towards a constitutional monarchy or even a republic, it suffers from corruption rather than a lack of freedom of expression. The acceptable level of freedom of expression which exists in Kuwait will ease the pressure on the regime for a good period of time, but this does not mean this regime will remain immune to change as long as freedom of speech is not the only concern for the Kuwaiti citizen who aspires to share the power with Al-Sabah, to have a prime minister from the people, to establish a partisan political system and to make members of the ruling family accountable and duty-bound.
Perhaps one of the most significant causes of trouble in the whole GCC is the emerging issue of citizenship; Kuwait, known to be denying thousands of people their right to citizenship is not the only Arabian country having bidoun (stateless) people. Bidoun are widely present or descended from Al Buraimi Oasis historically disputed between Oman, the Emirates and Saudi Arabia; they are also present in the Saudi west (Mecca and Medina in particular).
Bahrain has an inverse situation where thousands of people were granted citizenship on a sectarian basis: today, the regime of Al-Khalifa is naturalizing Iraqis, Lebanese and Syrians because they are Sunnis; and in the past, Shia senior civil servants abused their positions to grant citizenship to Iranian Shia. And in Qatar, the number of stateless people is around two thousand people or approximately 1% of the number of citizens, this is in addition to those who lost their nationality from Al Murra tribe and could not obtain the Saudi citizenship like others.
But despite the fact that Bidoun are not theoretically able to start a revolution in this region due to their limited number, the growing popularity of their cause may in the future facilitate violent protests conducted by them similarly to the black-people's revolt in Southern Iraq, 12 centuries ago.
2 - Why does the United Kingdom support the Gulf regimes? What is the common benefit?
Britain's timeworn relationship with the Gulf regimes is no longer a secret, I do not see it necessary to re-expose historical issues which I already exposed previously in my article: "Arabian hypocrisy and the Islamist Movements" where I pointed the support which Britain and its intelligence officers William Shakespeare and St John Philby offered to King Abdul Aziz the founder of the current Saudi state. For Oman, it is enough to mention the famous implicit confession of Sultan Qaboos in an interview broadcast by BBC Radio where he admitted that troops of the British army helped him to overthrow his father four decades ago.
It is also enough to quote the declaration of Hamad bin Jassim the prime minister of Qatar who firmly acknowledged in the UN Security Council that Britain was invited to the Arabian sheikhdoms by Al Thani, Al Khalifa, Al-Sabah and the sheikhs of what is called today the United Arab Emirates. And in the Emirates we have seen recently how did Khalid and Saud the sons of Saqr Al Qasimi sought the help of the west to take the power in Ras Al Khaimah, like the late Sheikh Zayed who overthrew his brother Shakhbout in 1966.
First, the United Kingdom supports these regimes simply because they are an old and strategic investment which cannot be given up.
Second: The replacement of these regimes by other administrations who reflect the aspirations of the local people would bring back the era of the domination of the members of the non-aligned organisation inside the United Nations and create a multipolar world. Such global change of Arabian regimes, possibly similar to the change of the Latin American regimes, would threaten the monopoly of the international decision making by three governments (including the British government) and terminate the dominance of capitalism in the world.
Third: The fall of these regimes and the establishment of others driving their authority from a more revolutionary Islam and their support from anti-western peoples will deepen financial crisis in the UK and the west; as the new governments may decide in coordination with other members of the OPEC to lower the output of oil production in order to achieve a better price. No one can forget the role of the Gulf cooperation council during the eighties in the collapse of the oil prices in order to achieve a western prosperity; as quoted from an article of Turki Al Faisal Al Saud published in Washington Post on the 17th of September 2002 "... the increase of Saudi oil production in the mid-'80s ... led to lower oil prices and set the stage for a period of extended global prosperity".
I am not sure how global was this prosperity as only western countries enjoyed it, and as most of the oil producing countries faced severe cash crises because of the collapse of the prices; Iraq would not have faced the disasters he faced if such a free Arabian gift was not given
Fourth, the British establishment knows how unpopular is the British policy in the Arabian peninsula not only because of the British imperialism and the Balfour Declaration, but more because of their support for the Gulf regimes which extends the life of corruption and tyranny and guaranties as a consequence a huge British labour presence in the region and minimises the citizens' opportunities for work, this is in addition to the role which the United Kingdom played in the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan in recent past.
This is why William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, considered Arabia in a speech which he gave in front of senior agents of the MI6/SIS (external intelligence agency) and the GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) in November 2011 as a major security threat to Britain. It may be useful to note that John Sawers the current director of the Foreign Intelligence SIS/MI6 served as ambassador in Egypt, and began his diplomatic career in Syria and Yemen as a small MI6 informer/diplomat, he was appointed at the beginning of the occupation of Iraq as Britain's Special Representative there.
Fifth: Any collapse of these regimes would threaten to increase deficit and unemployment in the UK, not only because many of the highly paid British will lose their attractive jobs in the Gulf and be replaced by local and regional competencies, but also because that the existing regimes are continuing to support the British economy as confessed by Afnan Al Shuaibi CEO of Arab British Chamber of Commerce in several declarations.
Afnan is a non-self-made Saudi subject from Al Qassim (the most influent region in Saudi Arabia) who quickly shone with the support of her father Abdallah Mansour Al Shuaibi, a UK graduate, the son of a police lieutenant-colonel and the cousin of several important Generals in the Saudi army such as Lieutenant General Mansour Bin Ali Al Shuaibi (the former commander of Jeddah) and Major General Ali bin Mansour Al Shuaibi.
The director of the Arab Chamber succeeded, with the support of the Saudi ambassador in London Mohammed Bin Nawaf Al Saud and his wife's cousin Sultan bin Fahd Al Saud, to make from the Arab chamber a Saudi trade office facilitating the meetings between the British officials and their counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the GCC instead of promoting the Global Arab business in the UK and vice versa. Meetings which Afnan ensures that they are held à-huis-clos and with the presence of the Public relations Media only; meetings behind the closed doors which might open wide doors to corruption.
The Arab Chamber plays an important role in the completion of a "Gulf money for British complicity" deal: The British government was so keen to keep this deal that it has abandoned the British staff of the Arab Chamber of commerce who sought the support of the Foreign office in their conflict with the Saudi subject. Baroness Elizabeth Symons (the president of the Chamber and the daughter of a former Director of the British Inland Revenue) failed to control the unbalanced influence of the GCC in what is supposed to be a British ARAB chamber of commerce; this was not only because of her affiliation to the out-of-power labour Party but also because of her relations with the former regimes of Tunisia and Libya and the accusations of corruption which she faces as a result of her involvement in politics and business at the same time.
It is no secret that the Gulf regimes prefer to deal with a government led by Tories (conservatives) because of the feudalist character which this party inherited; fortunately and because of the lack of diplomatic experience of the UAE ambassador in the UK we have in our hand a rare confession confirming this. Two years ago, The Emirati ambassador Abdul Rahman Al Mutaiwee (a former CEO of the UAE Chamber of Commerce) told his own news agency: that the current government "is better for us" than the Labour government.
The British army is also a good target for the Gulf regimes to guarantee the British support, this is why they continue to pay multi-billions for British arms which they never use, and this is why ruling families seek to consolidate their personal relations with British military commanders who may be recruited in the Arabian armies when they retire. I still remember the high spirit of the ambassador of Oman in London who spent six hours with a retired English General, and who told me that he was "honoured" by the retired officer.
In fact and despite what David Cameron and William Hague keep saying, the depth of the relationship between the British establishment and the Gulf regimes does not necessarily mean the improvement of the conditions of life of the normal Britons, it only means that entrepreneurs and politicians are getting richer, and this is the real common benefit.
It is not to exclude that current conservative British government (or the so-called coalition government) provides an excellent cover to corruption in the Gulf using very sophisticated methods of circumvention of anti-corruption laws which politicians and businessmen are trained to apply. The children of Margaret Thatcher (as David Cameron called himself and his colleagues in a meeting with Louis Susman the US ambassador in London) are likely to break corruption records of their mother and her biological child, Mark Thatcher, who became multi-millionaires after the famous Al Yamamah arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
And like Tony Blair who used national security as a scarecrow to halt investigations about Al Yamamah deal claiming that Saudi Arabia threatened to stop cooperation in the fight against terrorism, the current government is using the need for Arabian money to reduce unemployment to pass suspicious transactions with the Gulf states far from the control of the British people and media.
Britain offer the ruling families in the Gulf a substantial margin of privacy and confidentiality not only in their nights parties as some imagine, but also in the management of their financial business and political and security activities which makes them unaccountable for their deeds. You may not know whether to laugh or cry when you know that the Foreign Office has forged its own Diplomatic List and changed the names of Madawi and Mashael the daughters of Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud, the Saudi ambassador in London at his request; this happened because the ambassador did not want the public opinion to know that he recruited his two daughters at the embassy with Third Secretary and Attaché diplomatic ranks, without any respect to the rules of diplomatic recruitment: and if covering corruption up is no corruption, then what is corruption?
This is why the royals of the Gulf prefer the British privacy more than any other country, including the United States as monarchies love each other; they select their bodyguards from among retired British officers (as did Mohammed bin Nawaf, who recently hired an English guard, although the third of his embassy staff are Saudi security and intelligence officers); they remit their money abroad as did Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, the former Kuwaiti Prime Minister, who transferred millions of pounds to the UK with the help of Khalid Al Duwaisan his ambassador there and Abdullah Al Mansour the Financial and Administrative Director in the Foreign Ministry.
And if Nasser's transfers were leaked because of his unwelcome rapprochement with Iran, there are thousands of suspicious transactions which remain undiscovered; and perhaps this is the answer to the question which people of Kuwait keep asking: why does our 65 years ambassador remain in London after more than 20 years he spent there. In fact, he is not their ambassador but the Ambassador of Al Sabah and their interests' representative; as a dean of the diplomatic corps, Khalid Al Duwaisan can have regular contact with the most influential decision makers who can secure the most delicious cheques from his government.
On security cooperation, the two parties continue to offer each other services which are more beneficial to the governments than to the peoples; by taking fingerprints of pilgrims and exchange them with Western intelligence Saudi Arabia proves again that its relationship with the west is more important than the Islamic teachings which offer temporary immunity to pilgrims even if Bin Laden was one of them.
The weapons which the Arabian countries import from Britain are constantly raising concerns about their possible use against civilian protesters; this reminds me the famous offer of the French foreign minister Michele Alliot-Marie to quell the uprising in Tunisia. Serious questions are raised about the size of British involvement in human rights violations in the Gulf under the so-called security agreements, principally if we know that those who initially introduced sophisticated torture techniques to the region were British officers like Ian Henderson, the Scottish security commander in Bahrain. Recently, rumours circulated about Qatari nationals being assaulted by US Marines after demonstrations which they organised outside US military basis to protest against drone crimes in Afghanistan.
The British government continues to impose on the members of the Gulf opposition living in the UK very strict rules to limit their official contacts with the security organisations in order to keep them under control; Unlike oppositions from other countries, the British government avoid any kind of direct contact with the Arabian opposition, especially those who call for the collapse of their regimes.
Mohammed al-Massari is a good example of the capability of the British government to isolate, marginalize and silence opponents of friendly states; the two previous governments (conservative and labour) sought his extradition to Saudi Arabia and even to Dominicans and only the relative judicial independence in Britain saved him. According to al-Massari, who is the dean of the Saudi opposition, and who holds an unrecognised British travel document, the three successive UK governments were committed to turn his life hell, and the permanent residence which he obtained, and his family, was granted to him by court order.
Saad al Faqih the head of the so-called "Reform Movement" had a similar situation together with his two assistants Abdullah bin Dekhikh Al-Ghamdi and Adel Al Dhelli Al Sarhani; all of them were denied permanent residence by the government and only the courts helped them like in the case of Al-Massari.
The British government failed to protect these two opponents from the Saudi harassment which may have occurred against others like Madawi Al Rashid and Kassab Al-Otaibi for example; a Saudi diplomat called Ali Al Shamrani was ordered by the former head of intelligence Turki Al Faisal to recruit a British police officer born in Yemen to track the activities of Mohammed al-Massari. The police officer called Ghazi Qasim obtained photographs of his house and his wife's car and other information which were not disclosed to Al Massari by the British Police for the so-called security reasons; Al-Massari, heard more about his own case from the media than from the police.
Saad al Faqih was assaulted outside his house by two unknown persons whom he thinks that they were sent by the Saudi intelligence (Turki al-Faisal was ambassador in London at that time); Saad was not able to sue his assaulters who were, according to him, arrested and who confessed to their offenses. He told me that the police refused to prosecute them, and this is a good indication that they were indeed recruited by the Saudi embassy.
Members of the Bahraini opposition have been targeted by people who were apparently recruited by the Regime of Al Khalifa; Saeed Al Shihabi one of the leaders of this opposition could have lost his life as a result of an attempt to burn his house three years ago, the British police was helpless to find the offenders.
The British government uses the intelligence and security services commanded by the foreign secretary, as William Hague confessed recently, to ensure that political refugees who belong to the Gulf countries do not exceed the red lines which may threaten its relationship with those countries. The British government can even fabricate charges of terrorism for some, such as what happened to Al Massari and Al Faqih from Saudi Arabia and also to Saeed Al-Shihabi and Hassan Mushaima from Bahrain; this comes to politically paralyse their movement and to turn them to wanted for terror people permanently scared of being deported to their countries of origin to face torture or even death.
Al Faqih political opportunism is behind his courting to the Saudi jihadists in order to gain their support in the future, but describing him as terrorist just because he gifted a mobile phone to Osama bin Laden is a fable which the Englishman who created does not believe; otherwise he would have been behind bars today. This is also the case of Mohammed al-Massari, who despite his support for the Iraqi and Afghani resistance had never had any intellectual or practical influence in the operation of violent groups worldwide. As a researcher in cyber-activities of al Qaeda I found most of its websites (especially those infiltrated by Saudi and Jordanian intelligence) attacking Al Massari who is unlike Al Faqih very independent from the mainstream Wahhabi school.
It must be recognized that Britain is no longer attracting opponents from the GCC countries due to the above-explained policies, there are young Arabians I know in person who study in the UK and who are scared to show any form of opposition against their governments due to their fear of being deported and their certainty that any asylum application which they may make would not be treated with the same level of priority as applications from people from Eretria or Darfur, for example.
The British media contributes in strengthening the blockade of the Gulf opposition; BBC Arabic a so-called independent media sponsored by the government and operated by bureaucrats who report to diplomats and security officers, has a very selective political agenda when it comes to dealing with the GCC region.
According to Mohammed al-Massari: BBC Arabic television, which lost its Saudi co-partner and then closed down 15 years ago after hosting him, refuse today to invite him to any of its programs; "I was called only once by them to comment the arrest of Hamzah Kashgari (a Saudi youngster who was accused of blasphemy) and had to decline their invitation as I felt a trap was waiting for me" says Massari. BBC English ignores the fact that Al Massari is a political activist and invites him to speak only when it comes to the issue of terrorism like if he was the spokesman of Al Qaida in London, in an attempt to dilute his political and human rights activities and keep him hostage to the terrorist stereotype.
Saad Al Faqih was invited by BBC Arabic to comment on specific issues for a very limited time described by him as "a few minutes"; Saad said that he felt humiliated and decided not to accept future invitations from the British television. Al Faqih confirmed that the BBC does not invite any of the other leaders of the Saudi opposition (constitutionalists, jihadists etc.) with the exception of representatives of the Shia minority like Hamzah al-Hassan.
The focus of the British media on the Shia opposition, despite being a minority and despite the presence of a strong Saudi Sunni opposition abroad raise legitimate questions about Britain's expectations of a possible independence of the oil-rich eastern region from Saudi Arabia; others argue that the goal behind courting the Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia is to blackmail the current regime but not to support its collapse, as the Shia remain a minority even inside the Eastern zone. A third group thinks that the United Kingdom wants to isolate the Arab Shia from Iran, by showing a kind of sympathy similarly to the British support of a Jewish state in Balfour Declaration.
Overall, a comparison between the way BBC Persian operates against the Iranian government and the way BBC Arabic work in Arabia is enough to show how partial is BBC World Service. Britain is implicitly telling the Gulf States: Do not hamper our interests in your region and we will not support the opposition as we did in Syria, Iran and Libya. In fact, the same Britain which refuses to press for democracy and human rights in the GCC countries under the pretext of sovereignty respect, use democracy as a weapon against rogue states.
The bottom line is that Britain deals with oppositions in the Gulf according to the following principle: they must be strong enough to disturb the regimes but weak enough to stay in the opposition.
Every indication suggest that the Bahraini opposition is the strongest movement of opposition in the Gulf acting from the British territory; this opposition is so active that it could force the former Ambassador Khalifa bin Ali Al Khalifa to leave Britain after politically paralysing him for several months. Khalifa was accused of torturing detainees while in office as minister of national security, and unlike his two predecessors he decided to close the embassy's doors to the opposition which cost him later his job, despite his attempts to bribe the British public by intensifying the number of investment seminars and conferences and gifting politicians like Baroness Symons the British chairman of the Arab Chamber of Commerce.
Lord Eric Avebury can be described as the angel of mercy for the opposition in Bahrain, he seems to have exerted himself to support opposition movements in the world far from embracing any imperialistic agenda; before Bahrain, Lord Avebury supported the opposition in Ethiopia and Eretria against the regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam.
But the Bahraini opposition still suffers from the prosecution of its members who protest against their government on charges of disturbing public order, this happened several times to Ali Mushaima the son of Hassan Mushaima currently jailed in Manama, and to Mousa Abd Ali an activist who managed many times to trespass locations where the Bahraini embassy organised some of its luxurious events. Mousa was the victim of horrific torture in Bahrain, which included some kind of sexual abuse, this torture left deep psychological scars in his personality.
Some observers noticed the shameful silence of the British government around the arrest and torture of Jaafar Al Hasabi a British/Bahraini citizen in 2010; similar to the silence around the arrest and disappearance of Fawaz Al-Attiyah the British citizen who lost his Qatari citizenship and was jailed in Doha for political reasons.
3 – How unbalanced, selective and courteous was the Foreign Office report on human rights in the Gulf
An analytical reading of the Foreign and commonwealth office's report on human rights in the world in 2011 would confirm the approach which this contribution defends; it would also confirm that the British government wanted by indicating some of the human rights abuses in the Gulf countries to avoid blame for the aligned policy of the Conservative government (or the so-called coalition government) towards the Arabian Petrodollar regimes.
The report addressed human rights situation in 35 countries and entities of which 28 were considered as countries where the situation calls for concern and eight other states were selected as a sample of a case study. In the first section there were 17 Muslim-majority countries which six of them are Arab including one Gulf state (Saudi Arabia); and in the second section there are two Arab countries, namely Egypt and Bahrain, the situation in the latter was considered by the FCO not causing a serious concern unlike countries in the first section. The Bahraini government was neighboured in the second section by governments known to have a much more compatible policy with the international standard for human rights respect like Jamaica and Mexico.
Only two pages have been allocated to Bahrain from the overall report which contains 389 pages in addition to some few cross-references; the word torture was mentioned five times in relation to Bahrain, twice to describe accusations of torture as allegations, and three times to value the alleged efforts of the King of Bahrain to fight it. While the detention and torture of Jaafar Al Hasabi (the British-Bahraini citizen) in August 2010 was never mentioned neither in the report of that year nor in 2011 report, the case of the Iranian Sakineh Ashtiani, An Iranian woman sentenced to stoning for adultery and murder, was addressed in the reports of 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Even the terminology used in the British foreign office communiqués to condemn human right abuses varies between countries, British diplomats use very polite words and expressions when it comes to Arabia and very aggressive and provocative words when it comes to other countries like Iran, Myanmar, Syria or North Korea. In the case of the Gulf States the British FCO use terms such as (advised, invited, and encouraged), and in the case of the other countries words like (condemned, summoned and insisted) are used.
In the pages devoted to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the British human rights report indicates that information on torture in these countries are allegations, but in the case of Syria and Iran a more assertive language is used. Modest reforms made in the two Gulf States have been described as great efforts while no kind of reform was recorded in the case of Iran and Syria where there is at least a parliament and an elected president contrary to most of the GCC members.
Britain has revealed in the report (page 130) that it led the countries that have called for the appointment of a UN Special Rapporteur to monitor Human Rights situation in Iran, a rapporteur who must have been also in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain or the UAE; it also strongly supported the restrictive measures taken by the EU against the Persian state on the ground of human rights violation, as if the Gulf States where heavens of freedom.
The seven pages devoted to human rights in Saudi Arabia were hijacked by Britain's ambitions in the region, this is why the report supported the allegations of the Saudi Minister of Justice about the independence of justice and the ban of torture in his country, and this is why most of the seven pages were attributed to singing the praises of the Saudi 'miraculous' efforts of reform. The mentioned reforms are some few legislations aiming to silence the Western public opinion and to defuse the anger of human rights organisations; and also to give Western governments a good excuse to keep pressing for reforms in rogue states and to ignore the lack of serious reforms in friendly countries.
The role of the Saudi Shura Council (an unelected consultative council lacking any supervisory role) was overestimated by the report of the British Foreign office; and the finger-counted Saudi human rights violations mentioned in the report were all around the Shia areas, despite the large number of Sunni political prisoners who were sentenced for terrorism, and the large scale use of torture in the prisons where they are detained far from any kind of British or UN intervention.
Even in a social and apolitical case like the case of preventing women from driving, the British Foreign Office's report mentioned the blocking of a Facebook page created by an activist called Manal Al-Sharif to call for women to drive, but it failed to indicate that this woman was also arrested together with other female social activists.
According to the British reports, judicial reforms in Saudi Arabia mean: spending two billion dollars to build tribunals, to provide them with technology and to train their staff; it does not apparently mean establishing independent judiciary, codification of the Penal Code, and adherence to the Law of Criminal Procedure, all lacking in Saudi Arabia. The report preferred to focus on criticism of Sharia corporal punishments rather than to talk about judges' abuse of discretionary punishments and government abuse of the justice system to settle accounts with the opposition.
Despite mentioning torture in Saudi Arabia 13 times (the same number of times contained in the pages devoted to China) the British Foreign Office insisted that this phenomena is difficult to prove and deliberately ignored dozens of reports published by lawyers, prisoners and human rights organizations about the torture which a large number of male and female prisoners were subjected to in 2011; prisoners such as Mubarak Bin Said Al Zair, Mukhlif bin Dahham Al Shammari, Haifa Al-Ahmadi, Najwa Al Saeidi, Hanan Alkathiri and others. The only mentioned case of torture was the case of Fadel Makki Almnasef a human right activist from the Shia part of the country.
And as a conclusion I would say that Britain (Government, Security, and Media) do not only contribute in the covering up of human rights abuses in the Gulf Cooperation Council but also justify these abuses which makes from the United Kingdom a full partner responsible of the sufferance of the Arabian callers of freedom, These people are ultimately victims of the selective and politicized western agenda dealing with the issue of human right as a weapon used to overthrow governments threatening the New World Order, or a business tool used to blackmail other governments which are more likely to bow to this order.