Human Rights Watch reports that Saudi Arabia has beheaded 19 people since the beginning of August. Some confessions may have been gained under torture and one poor defendant was found guilty of sorcery. Yep, sorcery. That might sound archaic, but we are talking about a regime so very concerned about offending God that it has even banned certain names for being "blasphemous". Sandy, Linda and Elaine have been proscribed for cultural reasons (seriously).
Of course, it’s difficult for the West to condemn a country for a liberal use of the death penalty when America does the same all the time. Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia’s sudden bump in executions is a reminder of just how strange an ally they are for democracies. Ed West recently produced a masterful blog post asking why the Saudis were so worried about Isil given that the warlords of Iraq have an awful lot in common with the princes of the Kingdom.