A bauble for the prince

So guess what François Hollande did on Friday – gave the god damn Legion of Honor to Saudi Arabia. To Saudi Arabia.

The French government was among the most vocal outside the Middle East in its condemnation of Saudi mass executions earlier this year, calling the kingdom’s killing of 47 people “deeply deplorable”.

Yet almost two months to the day after that statement was issued, President François Hollande awarded his nation’s most prestigious award to the heir to the Saudi throne, Prince Mohammed bin Naif.

Thus letting him know the French government didn’t really mean it about those 47 executions.

They tried to keep it a secret. There was a meeting with Angela Merkel the same day and that got lashings of coverage, but they drew a tactful veil over the high five to the Saudis.

That the Prince even received the award was only confirmed by Mr Hollande’s entourage on Sunday afternoon. Officials sought to play it down, telling Le Monde it was “common protocol” to issue visiting dignitaries with the honour.

But while in France the decoration was done, as media outlets put it, “with discretion”, the government-owned Saudi news agency SPA hailed the honour as recognition for the prince’s “great efforts in the region and world for combating extremism and terrorism”.

Nonsense. They don’t combat extremism, they promote it. They spend their oil money on funding Wahhabi mosques all around the world. They fund Wahhabi madrasas. They sue academics who criticize them. They sentence atheists and liberals to prison and torture. They are all about extremism. They are not nice people and they don’t deserve honors.

In its report from the Crown Prince’s visit, SPA said the two sides “reviewed bilateral relations between the Kingdom and France and ways of enhancing and developing them in all fields, particularly joint cooperation for combating extremism and terrorism”.

“The French President and the Crown Prince also discussed the latest developments in the Middle East and exerted efforts towards them in addition to the two countries stances towards them,” it said.

The visit was a “success”, said Saudi minister of culture and information Adel al-Toraifi, and included discussions of “investment”.

Neither report made mention of the refugee crisis, throughout which Saudi Arabia been accused of failing to take its fair share of asylum seekers. And given the “discretion” surrounding the visit, it is not known whether Mr Hollande felt able to bring up the Saudi human rights record.

Saudi Arabia hasn’t taken any asylum seekers.

Merde, France.


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