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Saudi King Abdullah was a champion of women's rights says Tony Blair

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I am very sad indeed to hear of the passing of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. I knew him well and admired him greatly. Despite the turmoil of events in the region around him, he remained a stable and sound ally, was a patient and skilful moderniser of his country leading it step by step into the future. He was a staunch advocate of interfaith relations. He founded KAUST, the science and technology university where women and men are educated equally. And today there are more women in higher education than men. He allowed thousands to be educated abroad, people who have experience of the world and will play a big part in the future of the country. He appointed women Ministers. He invested in renewable energy. And of course he launched the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 which has stood the test of time as a potential basis for a solution to the Israeli Palestine issue. He was loved by his people and will be deeply missed.
 
Quite how Mr Blair who claimed to reaches the conclusion that the brutal dictator of Saudi Arabia was “loved by his people” is unclear. For someone who still claims to have moved away from ideology to making evidence-based judgements, he seems stuck in the ideology not on this occasion of neoliberalism but of feudalism.
 
Mr Blair has in recent months been providing his services to several ruthless dictators including Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt (advice on economic “reform” to consolidate the overthrow of democracy) and Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan (advice on how to defend a massacre). Even two years ago, well known ‘leftie’ pundit Nick Cohen was convinced that Blair’s “moral decline and fall” was complete but it seems that there are no depths which he won’t plumb. And this time he’s not even being paid (though he’s had his share of Saudi petro-dollars in the past).
 
To refresh our memory of the  record of King Abdullah, let us recall his role in recent days as the blogger flogger: Raif Badawi received the first instalment of his sentence of 1,000 lashes (plus 10 years in prison) for creating an online forum for political and social debate. Further installments of that sentence have not been cancelled, by the way, but merely postponed for medical reasons. Yet no “Je suis Raif Badawi” protest has been forthcoming from comrade Blair.
 
And remember what else you could be flogged for in Abdullah’s kingdom:
 
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    • Room With a View

      This is a joke right?

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