"Oppression" is another key word used to rally support. The Kurds are one of the most betrayed people in the world. After the end of World War 1, the UK and France split up the Turkish ruled Ottoman Empire among themselves. The Kurdish people ended up being split between four countries: Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq.
One month after the gas attack by Iraq on the Kurdish city of Halabja, the USA increased its military aid to Iraq. Ironically, the USA special envoy to Iraq at the time was Donald Rumsfeld, one of the USA's chief advocates for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The UK offered Iraq over $400 million in export credits (underwritten by UK tax payers) to buy machine tools. The machine tools were sent secretly to Iraq via Jordan by the UK company, Matrix Churchill. Another company, Astra, supplied $150 million worth of propellant. These deals had been negotiated with the full knowledge of the UK government which had not informed the UK Parliament. Some deals had been negotiated personally by the UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
An enquiry into the sales by Lord Justice Scott concluded that "ministers had deliberately misled Parliament, but had not intended to mislead Parliament."
Only in 1991 did it become legal to speak the Kurdish language. In the same year, during parliamentary sessions, deputies who used the phrase "Turkish-Kurdish brotherhood" were arrested and tried for "violating the unity of the Turkish nation".
During the Turkish offensive against the Kurds, 3500 villages were destroyed, nearly 3 million people were driven out of their homes, and tens of thousands were killed.
In 1997, Human Rights Watch published a report describing how weapons supplied by NATO countries play a central role in abuses committed by Turkish security forces in their campaign to evacuate and burn Kurdish villages in southeastern Turkey. A USA official admitted: "There's a lot of misery being caused by the village evacuations. It's being done in a very brutal way, and no provision is being made for the refugees."
Saudi women face severe discrimination in all aspects of their lives, including the family, education, employment, and the justice system. Religious police (Mutawaa'in) enforce a modesty code of dress and institutions from schools to ministries are separated by gender. In a Shari'a (Islamic) court, the testimony of one man equals that of two women.
Women may not marry non-Saudis without government permission; men must obtain approval from the Ministry of Interior to marry women from countries outside the six Gulf States. Women are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims; men may marry Christians and Jews, as well as Muslims. Daughters receive half of the inheritance awarded to their brothers. Women must demonstrate legally specified grounds for divorce, but men may divorce without giving cause. Adultery by women is punished by death by stoning.
The Government restricts the travel of Saudi women, who must obtain written permission from their closest male relative before the authorities allow them to board domestic public transportation or to travel abroad. Women, including foreigners, are not allowed to drive motor vehicles. Women are not admitted to a hospital for medical treatment without the consent of a male relative.
People practicing non-Islamic faiths are regularly arrested. Even forms of Islam that differ to the officially approved Wahhabi form of Islam are discouraged and their adherents persecuted. Conversion of a Muslim to another faith is punishable by death. Shi'a who travel to Iran without permission from the Ministry of the Interior, or those suspected of such travel, can have their passports confiscated for up to 2 years.
Crimes against Muslims receive harsher penalties than those against non-Muslims. In the case of wrongful death, the amount of indemnity or "blood money" awarded to relatives varies with the nationality, religion, and sex of the victim.
Saudi Arabia provided refuge and financial support to Idi Amin Dada until his death in 2003. Amin was the exiled Ugandan leader whose regime was responsible for a reign of terror that left an estimated 30,000 dead in the 1970s.
The country is an autocratic monarchy with no elections. The monarch and his family run most of the branches of the government from which women are excluded. It is described by the West as a "moderate Arab state" where the word "moderate" means "compliant".