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Saudi women in Shura council irrelevant, window dressing: Expert

saudi womenA political expert downplays the furor of Saudi clerics over the presence of women in the kingdom’s Shura Council, describing them as irrelevant window dressing
“Well, actually they are less than modest. They are absolutely meaningless. They are simply window dressing… They are actually irrelevant,” Middle East expert Zayd al-Isa told Press TV during an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

The London-based analyst was referring to women Saudi King Abdullah has recently decided to appoint to the Shura Council – a body that advises the government on new laws.

The appointment of women – among them daughters of previous kings – as Shura members prompted dozens of Saudi clerics to stage a protest against the decision.

But Isa rejected the “fuss” as meaningless and argued that the women, who he described as highly cosmetic and superficial, “are part and parcel of the system” and enjoy no authority to address the nation’s major issues.

“They are designed to simply deceive and mislead the people to give them the impression that there are grievances that have been left to fester is actually being addressed and the king is actually a reformer; but there is absolutely no substance to those reforms,” the expert stated.

He stressed that “Saudi Arabia will remain a dictatorship” where people do not play a role in the government, and violation of human rights remains widespread.

“Women have absolutely no rights, they do not have the simple basic right of driving a car or applying for a passport or traveling without their male guardians’ knowledge and this move of actually appointing– the emphasis is on the word appointing– they haven’t been elected,” Isa pointed out.

He further criticized the Saudi Shura Council as a collection of “handpicked” people who come from among the closest allies of the ruling family.

“This council is simply a rubber stamp, it is toothless, it has absolutely no power,” the analyst said.

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