We're all familiar with the outrage that politicians display about certain human rights violations in the Middle East - generally, those committed by regimes or organisations we're about to bomb. But the more usual attitude is a realpolitik in which the West either supports or quietly ignores the barbarities of favoured states.
The same kind of logic holds in respect of Saudi Arabia. The regime might inflict punishments every bit as obscene as those enforced by the Islamic State. But it's a reliable ally, prepared to enforce the status quo in an oil rich region - and that matters more to the West than the life of a democracy protester.