Saudi Arabian authorities are increasing the number of their beheadings to the point that three were carried out on a single day this past week – all part and parcel of the government’s attempt to showcase itself as powerful and in control.

“The Saudi authorities want to show everyone they are strong, people can rely on them to keep the security and the safety in the kingdom,” said one Saudi source who was afraid to be named, Agence France-Presse reported.

Just Tuesday, three convicts had their heads cut off – one for rape, two for murder. And that brings the total this year to 38, AFP reported.

By comparison, the number of beheadings in 2014 in Saudi was a third of that amount.

Saudi authorities say the beheadings are aimed at sending a message to ISIS terrorists. But not all agree with that.

“They certainly don’t want to seem soft,” said Toby Matthiesen, a research fellow in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Cambridge, speaking about Saudi’s leadership, AFP reported. “[But] I don’t think it’s going to frighten Daesh,” the Arabic term for ISIS, he said.

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