Two faces of Saudi

The London Telegraph hails a “novel Saudi approach to fighting terrorism“:

British security chiefs are studying a novel Saudi approach to fighting terrorism – using clerics to debate jihad with jailed militants and convert them to more moderate beliefs.

Saudi authorities say they have re-educated about 400 of 700 extremists and released them from prison. The Islamic “counselling” is part of what British experts regard as Saudi Arabia’s “model counter-terrorism campaign”.

No mention of the country’s atrocious human rights record. In the name of fighting terrorism, civil liberties are clearly an irrelevancy.

The LA Times highlights a more worrying trend:

The conflict in Iraq has begun to spill over onto this hardscrabble, sunburned swath of coast, breathing new life into the ancient rivalry between the country’s powerful Sunni Muslim majority and the long-oppressed Shiite minority in one of the most oil-rich areas of the world.

“Saudi Sunnis are defending Iraqi Sunnis, and Saudi Shiites are defending Iraqi Shiites,” said Hassan Saffar, Saudi Arabia’s most influential Shiite cleric. “There’s a fear that it will cause a struggle here.”