The girls are still missing – the Twitter hashtag #bringbackourgirls only occasionally flickers into life as the fashionable world, and the Sky ‘disaster team’, has moved on from their plight. Even the wristband salesmen have moved onto more profitable pastures. Eight months is a long time. Long enough for international outrage to rise, fall and fade away. Two months later 130 Syrian children were kidnapped – we didn’t mention that either.
The news that the murderous caliphate was only as far away as the Eurostar depot, and worse, had attacked journalists was far more exciting. Sky reporters in mini-vans raced the Police neck and neck along the N2 motorway, giving us a heart-pounding visual ringside seat, until the Police told them to f**k off out of it and let someone who could actually do something about the situation get on with their work. The Police helicopter hovering over the suspects was just as occupied dodging media ‘copters until someone had the wit to call for an air exclusion zone. Oh, the excitement! Even Martin Brunt temporarily lost his stammer.
17 people lay dead by the end of the day, at the hands of ‘Islamic fundamentalists’. It was the only story in town.
Except that it wasn’t. Elsewhere in the world, 2,000 people in just one town, Baga, lay bloodied and broken, homes were burnt to the ground, and an estimated 30,000 people are on the move, searching for a new place to rest their heads tonight. Equally at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists.
However, no journalists were harmed in the making of this story, there were no British holiday makers spending terrifying hours trying to find each other again, and not a celebrity in sight. Really, no reason for us to take any notice at all. It was merely another notch on the belt of the fanatics who want to establish a caliphate across Europe and Africa.
It did get me thinking about this ‘ere caliphate. Surely in order to have a genuine caliphate, then ISIS or the Islamic fundamentalists or whatever you want to call them, need to control that most holy of places, the Kaaba, in Mecca, Muhammed’s birthplace? Or at least Medina, Muhammed’s burial place. Yet nobody is mentioning Saudi Arabia. What is happening at present is like Catholic fundamentalists trying to establish control of the faithful from West Mersey and ignoring the Vatican. Most odd.
Then I discovered that ISIS are making attempts to get into Saudi Arabia, and like the massacre in Baga, the western media is pretty much ignoring it. The Saudi Press Agency speaks of four terrorists: two shot, two who blew themselves up, just three days ago, entering Saudi Arabia. Even more interesting, were those Saudi nationals killed themselves in this exchange of firepower at a border crossing.
Brigadier General Awdah Mouawad Al-Balawi. Brigadier General? That’s a pretty high powered border crossing guard.
But then the Saudis have more to fear from ISIS than any of us. King Abdullah is seriously ill, and his chosen successor, Prince Salman, has also been reported as none too well. Who will succeed them? It would be the perfect time for ISIS to destabilise Saudi.
Opinion varies as to why the Saudis have allowed oil prices to fall so low – the Economist thinks the intention is to put pressure on Russia and Iran, both dependent on high oil prices to pay for their foreign adventures. The Wall Street journal thinks it is to put American ‘frackers’ out of business.
I wonder whether their real concern is to put ISIS out of business. The money ISIS is making out of captured oil wells as they chomp their way across the desert has long been documented – believed to be millions a day.
Not so long ago, we had alarmist headlines that ‘ISIS was poised to take Baghdad‘. It puzzled me at the time, because the rag-tag and bobtail ISIS army of disillusioned European teenagers had as much chance of taking the seat of the remains of the Iraqi army as flying – and if, by chance, they did – they would be trying to hold onto a city in chaos, where 90% of the citizens are embittered Shia, who loathe the Sunnis without exception. There’d be no sympathisers there. Why would they? Indeed, ISIS was ‘chased away’ [US version] or ‘walked away laughing’ [non-US version].
Saudi Arabia is different though. Predominantly a version of the Sunni faith, Wahhabi, the Saudis are quite fond of some of the more medieval attributes of the ISIS version of Islam. They already have Sharia law, and were recently reported as having exceeded ISISs total in the beheading stakes this year. As in North Korea, Somalia and ISIS-land the Saudis like to kaput the caput for public entertainment.
Whilst the Telegraph cheerfully calculates that ‘falling oil prices will save motorists £140 each’, and the Daily Mail chortles that an independent Scotland would have been £15.5bn short of drinking vouchers, (and house prices in London will fall if the Russians are starved of oil money) – nobody seems to be asking why the Saudi Royal family should have dropped their opposition to falling oil prices and are not cutting production, nor what happens if ISIS invade Saudi Arabia.
Nor, on what moral platform, the Saudis decided to join the coalition against that dreadful ISIS ‘who behead people, and make women cover up in public, and believe that they are the right people to control the heart of the caliphate’.
I mean you couldn’t let people like that rule Saudi Arabia and control our main supply of energy, could you? Could you? I reckon the citizens of Saudi Arabia would barely notice the difference – but we might in the freezing UK.