|Union Jack at half mast over Westminster Abbey|
expresses British mourning at passing of
Saudi 'reformer' [Image Source]
- Saudi Arabia's deceased King Abdullah, according to just about every obituary in major Western publications, was a reformer. The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, and all describe Abdullah as a ruler committed to reforming Saudi Arabia's notoriously repressive practices. an advocate for peacestrong advocate for women"...
- The Saudi political system, a blend of absolute monarchy and Islamic extremism, has one of the world's worst human rights records. There is no democracy and basic freedoms are limited… It punishes dissidents, including currently with multiple rounds of publicly lashing a blogger, amputates hands and legs for robbery
- Abdullah did not, in fact, make any fundamental reforms to the Saudi state, which remains one of the most oppressive and inhumane on earth... Abdullah's reputation as a reformer comes from some relatively limited policy shifts he made.
- system that remains cruelly unjust…
- CNN: "Saudi Arabia's 'reformer' King Abdullah dies"
- Reuters: "Saudi King Abdullah was a cautious reformer"
- Los Angeles Times: "Saudi King Abdullah's legacy praised by U.S. leaders" "Secretary of State John F. Kerry eulogized the Saudi leader as a "a man of wisdom and vision" and a "partner in fighting violent extremism who proved just as important as a proponent of peace"... Former President George H.W. Bush said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend and partner.” Bush recalled how the U.S. and Saudi Arabia “stood together against a common foe” after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, calling it a “moment of unparalleled cooperation.” “I found His Majesty always to be a wise and reliable ally,” Bush said. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Abdullah was an “important voice for reform in Saudi Arabia” who pushed to modernize the nation’s education system and brought women the right to vote and run for office. McCain... also called Abdullah a “vocal advocate of peace” and a “critical partner in the war on terror.”
- Globe and Mail, Toronto: "Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, the careful reformer, dies at 90"
- Christian Science Monitor: "Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah was incremental reformer, US ally"
- Express Tribune Pakistan: "Saudi King Abdullah: patient reformer who battled hardliners"
- New York Times ["Powerful Saudi Arabia King Abdullah Dies at Age 90"] "...powerful U.S. ally who fought against al-Qaida and sought to modernize the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom, including by nudging open greater opportunities for women has died... His aim at home was to modernize the kingdom to face the future. One of the world's largest oil exporters, Saudi Arabia is fabulously wealthy... For Abdullah, that meant building a more skilled workforce and opening up greater room for women to participate. He was a strong supporter of education, building universities at home and increasing scholarships abroad for Saudi students. Abdullah for the first time gave women seats on the Shura Council, an unelected body that advises the king and government. He promised women would be able to vote and run in 2015 elections for municipal councils... Two Saudi female athletes competed in the Olympics for the first time in 2012, and a small handful of women were granted licenses to work as lawyers during his rule..."
- New Yorker ["Postscript: King Abdullah, 1924-2015"] "Compared to the country’s conservative princes and ultra-conservative Wahhabi clerics, Abdullah was considered a savvy and plainspoken modernizer, if not a reformer..."
- The Independent UK ["King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz dead: What did he do for Saudi Arabia?"] "The king, who reportedly refused to be addressed as "your majesty", was seen by many as a gentle reformer, and was credited with trying to balance traditions with modernity... King Abdullah enjoyed a "genuine and warm friendship" with Barack Obama, and was described as the most pro-Western Arab leader yet. Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "deeply saddened" to hear of his death... King Abdullah permitted gentle criticism of himself and his family to be printed, and oversaw the creation of a Facebook page, which allowed citizens to submit their grievances."
- Financial Times, London ["Obituaries"] "A cautious reformer whose ascent to the throne helped restore some popular legitimacy to the al-Saud family, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud steered the world’s largest oil exporter through some of its most fraught times... The delicate balancing act between liberal and conservative voices was to define his rule... A man who wanted both his dynasty and his country to move with the times..."
- Al-Arabiya (Saudi Arabia): "A ‘King of Hearts:’ Saudis mourn Abdullah bin Abdulaziz"
- Arab News (Saudi Arabia): "Global media hail Abdullah’s legacy": "Newspapers all over the world were unanimous in praising the legacy of reforms and peace-making efforts by the late King Abdullah...
- Asharq Al Awsat, London: "A charismatic and groundbreaking leader", and "We lost a loving father"