As a precursor to Saudi Arabia's report on its commitment to significant Human Rights advances at the 25th session of UN Human Rights Council, Saudi's Deputy Minister of Labor for International Affairs, featured on Newsnight this week to boast the key aspects of the report with a focus on "holistic" steps on achieving female empowerment. But a failure to confirm the lifting of the driving ban for women, even after three pushy prompts by Jeremy Paxman, made it clear that "holistic" does not include an overturn on the ban.
The future for Bahrain is uncertain. However, one certainty amidst the chaos, is that change is Bahrain will remain a mirage so long as the king is bolstered by so much international support. Let's not beat about the bush, the British government is publicly supporting a oppressive and undemocratic government in Bahrain.
Before we blame radical Islam for terrorism and loss of freedom - consider that our Security Services blame our foreign policy, not any religion, for acts of terrorism. Radical Islam is a bastardisation of true, peaceful Islam. And the effect on our social fabric of continually scapegoating Muslims for our own aggression abroad is painful, and breeds yet more jihadists.
The real-politik of the region is that Israel has never posed a threat to Islam or Arab nationalism. It's the possible spread of democracy from Israel that Arab leaders have long feared. Shiite Iran, on the other hand, sees itself as leader of the mainly Sunni Islamic world and wants to take that honour away from the Saudis. Israel now seems a much lesser of two evils to the Saudi Royal Family...one that could help them curb Iran's ambitions.