McCully of ArabiaThis is a cartoon from the Kapiti Independent News website, and below follows an article explaining it on the Radio NZ website.

The whole topic of NZ’s dealing with this awful country should get more scrutiny than it does as NZ likes to make out it disapproves of totalitarian regimes with abysmal human rights — Saudi Arabia certainly comes into that category (watch the video for evidence), but rarely if ever gets mentioned.

This self-styled ‘kingdom’ came into existence in 1932 and its only claim to fame at the time was that it included Mecca and Medina, significant in Islamic history.

About 10 years later American geologists discovered the country was sitting on an ocean of oil which the US-controlled company Aramaco has exploited to the max ever since: the oil provided Saudi Arabia with economic prosperity — but it mostly went to the sheiks and princes; it wasn’t shared much with the people.  In turn it gave the US arms manufacturers their biggest export market.

Saudi Arabia doesn’t only export oil, but ideology: according to this article on the Egyptian Streets website:

Saudi Arabia remains the bastion and main exporter of militant Wahhabism – a destructive ideology that promotes a literal, puritanical and ultraconservative firebrand version of Islam.

History is rife with examples of pernicious Saudi interference in the Muslim world as the Kingdom has spread its Wahhabi tentacles, funding extremist groups such as the Taliban in the Afghanistan since the Soviet-Afghan War and radical militants fighting in the Syrian Civil War.

You can add to that its appalling bombardment of Shiite rebels with cluster bombs in neighbouring Yemen to the point where the EU last year imposed an arms embargo.

The Saudis’ Wahhabist tentacles have even made it to Aotearoa: in 2014 a preacher in a south-Auckland mosque received a ‘tut-tut’ from the Human Rights Commissioner for his anti-Semitic tirades. Story

The “you supply us oil and we supply you halal meat” arrangement with Saudi Arabia needs looking at by the next government.  There must be other less objectionable countries for such trade.

In the meantime this trade provides another big incentive to stop consuming oil in such ravenous quantities with the use of fuel-efficient as well as hybrid and electric vehicles.

The admission that no legal advice on the lawsuit threat ever existed directly contradicts comments in 2015 by then-Foreign Minister Murray McCully that the ministry had taken advice on the issue.

The National government did an $11.5 million deal with Saudi businessman Hamood Al Ali Al Khalaf after Cabinet was advised in February 2013 that the Al Khalaf Group was threatening to sue New Zealand for $20-$30m. Mr Al Khalaf had invested heavily in New Zealand and believed New Zealand’s 2003 ban on live exports had left him misled and out of pocket.

The deal included using taxpayer funds to build Mr Al Khalaf a $6 million agrihub farm in the Saudi desert, as well as flying in over 900 sheep and handing over $4 million in cash.

The government argued that the deal saved New Zealand from the risk of being sued for a much larger amount.

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