Why now? Saudi Arabia releases prominent women’s rights activist

      Published on Saturday, 13 February , 2021      782 Views     
Why now? Saudi Arabia releases prominent women’s rights activist

She’s out of jail after 1001 days. Up to now, Saudi authorities had shrugged off international condemnation over the imprisonment of Loujain al-Hathloul and other leading women’s “right to drive” campaigners.

All the while she was behind bars, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman agreed to let women drive and scrapped male guardianship rules for women over 21. So what threat exactly did she pose?

Why the conditional release when just six weeks ago, she was sentenced for undermining state security?

Does it have anything to do with the changing of the guard in Washington? The new US president has announced that human rights are back on the agenda as well as the suspension of arms sales related to the Saudi and Emirati-led campaign against Houthi militias in Yemen. How will MBS handle a new Biden administration that’s signalled its readiness to return, when the time is right, to the nuclear deal with arch-rival Iran?

Iran is a patron of those Houthi militias, who despite the change of tack in Washington claimed responsibility for a Wednesday drone attack on an airport across the border in Saudi Arabia.

In Saudi Arabia, foreign policy is only part of the picture. How does the house of Saud tread in a rapidly growing youthful, plugged-in nation of 34 million subjects, with a range of views on what their future should look like?

Category Government | 2021/02/13 latest update at 12:20 PM
Source : France 24 | Photocredit : Google
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