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2006-02-08

Let us look at one of the governments, who were in need of an easy victim - namely Saudi Arabia. It takes a blog or two to explain it.

The protests and boycotts started in Saudi Arabia - just as the Royal family was being heavily criticized. Pilgrims had been killed in stampedes during "hajj" - and the government was accused of poor planning and incompetence, with 250 dead in 2005 and 350 dead in 2006.

Let's look at the time-line:

September: Twelve innocent cartoons are published in a far-away country.
October: The drawings are printed in an Egypt newspaper - no riots ensue.
November: Nothing
December: Nothing
January: Nothing
January 12th: 350 people pilgrims - i.e. citizens from other Muslim countries are killed. Most of the Muslim world hurl criticism at Saudi Arabia.
January: All the state controlled newspapers suddenly decide not to write about the 350 dead pilgrims anymore, and start writing about twelve cartoons published four months ago in a small far-away country. The Muslim brothers stops fighting each other and concentrate on a common enemy.
January: Boycott of Danish good starts in Saudi Arabia - other countries are to follow
February: Violent protests at Danish embassies - protesters are often waving Saudi Arabian flags.

As the Religious Policeman points out:

A diversion is needed, and what better diversion than Danish cartoons?

For be in no doubt, when the Saudi newspapers have all these articles on the one day....

Boycott of Danish Goods Over Blasphemous Cartoons

Danes unmoved, Norway expresses regret over cartoons

Islamophobia .....((WAMY), a Riyadh-based non-governmental organization, has strongly condemned the publication of cartoons......)

Rallying up Support against Scandalous Scandanavians

....don't be under the illusion that two editors coincidentally thought this would be a Good Idea. Saudi newspapers may occasionally show little acts of independence, but when it comes to the big things, like sacking editors, or targetting other countries, the government is still very much in control. And the government ordered a diversion. So for "We are angry at Danish cartoons" read "Don't talk about the Hajj stampede".

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