Saudis unlikely to lanuch transparent probe into Hajj crush: Middle East Expert
Press TV has interviewed Jalal Fairooz, a Middle East expert from London, and Lawrence J. Korb, a US foreign policy analyst from Washington D.C., to discuss the fatal stampede that reportedly killed some 2,000 pilgrims in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Fairooz says he has participated in the Hajj pilgrimage several times and witnessed “mismanagement and arrogant management” by Saudi security personnel during the most important Islamic rite.
The stampede broke out when Saudi officials in charge of security at the site redirected the huge crowd of pilgrims to one narrow path, leaving other roads empty only to facilitate the passage of a royal convoy, he notes.
The analyst added that the tragedy happened due to the carelessness and corruption of Saudi authorities.
Fairooz ruled out the possibility of a transparent investigation into the disaster, saying the Saudi regime as well as media outlets in the kingdom will continue to blame what they call disorderly behavior by pilgrims for the stampede.
Pointing to the incompetence of Saudi Arabia to hold the annual Hajj pilgrimage, he argues that Iraq managed to hold the Arba’een ceremony, which maerks the 40th day after the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him), without any incident last year, while millions of Shia Muslims took part in the big mourning ceremony.
Korb, for his part, said the Saudi kingdom should enhance its efforts to improve security standards during the Hajj pilgrimage season.
He also emphasized the need for an “independent investigation” into the causes of the fatal stampede in Mina.