Correction to Post on The Saudi Threat to Cedar City and All of America

In my post, The Saudi Threat to Cedar City and All of America, I wrote, in error:

In [Southern Utah University] Provost [Bradley] Cook’s most recent academic article, “Democracy and Islam: Promises and Perils for the Arab Spring Protests,” Cook and co-author Michael Stathis characterize some Islamic governments with terms such as “corrupt regimes” and “totalitarian regime.” But their description of the Saudi monarchy consists of one word: “conservative.”

Provost Cook has pointed out to me that the article I quoted does indeed contain a more extensive criticism of Saudi Arabia that I, regrettably, missed. The article (Cook and Stathis 2012, 181) states,

The persistence of ruling monarchies in the region also contributes to democratic resistance. Nowhere else in the world are there so many monarchs still wielding legitimate power. When national leadership results through inheritance, central tenets of democracy are inevitably compromised. While monarchies in Egypt (1952), Libya (1969), and Iran (1979) have been overthrown, a remarkable number remain intact: Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and all the small Gulf countries. These political orders, while experiencing a measure of liberalization, are by their nature resistant to full democratization. In the Gulf region in particular, the existence of substantial oil revenues has created in most instances vast patronage networks that determine who gets what, when, and how.

In my judgment, more compelling is the article’s ensuing paragraph. This paragraph is relevant because, as he informs me, Provost Cook considers Saudi Arabia a dictatorship. The paragraph states,

The weakness of democracy in many Muslim countries is also compromised by a prevalence of dictatorships who have historical records of political repression, corruption, human rights violations, and abuses of public office. These states, in many cases, are neither willing nor capable of reform. Repressive and exclusive regimes can spawn apathy and despair, which in turn breeds radicalism. The failure of secular politics in Muslim countries has provided incubation for the rise of extremist Islam, whereas moderate Islamic political movements are linked to inclusion and openness in the political process.

I apologize to Provost Cook and Prof. Stathis for my error.

Although I may not agree fully with the above quoted paragraph’s statements on the cause of Islamist violence and compulsion, I am pleased to know of this criticism of the Saudi regime.

For my own criticism of Saudi Arabia, see my original post. Of course, my criticism of the position of Provost Cook must be tempered in accordance with the above correction. I have crossed out some of my statements accordingly.