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Dismembered Journalists and America's Long, Sick Relationship with Saudi Arabia

10-19-2018

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ANALYSIS

America finds itself saddled with a crucial ally in the Middle East who just sawed up a green card-holding US resident into pieces, reportedly while alive.  

But while even long-time Saudi backer Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has threatened to "sanction the Hell out of" Saudi Arabia over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, expect little to change over the long term, especially with a $110-billion arms sale to Riyadh at risk.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia exerts enormous influence over Washington.  A new report about to be released by the left-wing Center for International Policy found that "registered foreign agents working on behalf of Saudi interests contacted Congress, the White House, the press and think tank analysts more than 2,500 times in 2017." 

Some Democrats and their media mouthpieces act like Donald Trump is the father of our close Saudi relationship.  In answer to that, here's a photo of the media's favorite past president heartily pressing the flesh with the Saudi king, or see the photo above featuring Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the first Saudi king.

Taking up with unsavory governments is an unfortunate, but, some insist, necessary American tradition.  It was FDR's Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, who some say uttered the famous phrase:  

"He's a (S.O.B), but he's our (S.O.B.)."  

And there are many nations with even lower standards than we have.  Russia, China, and some western European governments (who should know better) come to mind.

Washington's old excuse for clinging to the Saudis was, of course, oil.  No more.  America has become the world's largest oil producer.

The excuse now is Iran. Saudi Arabia is our so-called "buttress" against Iranian expansionism.

Since its founding in 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has functioned as a geopolitical matchmaking service in the Middle East.  It drove us into the arms of a two-bit dictator named Saddam Hussein.  Long before Saddam was George W. Bush's public enemy number one, he was our "buttress" against Iran.  We gave him a lot of aid, looked the other way while he committed atrocities against his own people, and then it blew up in our face.

The Iranian threat has even managed to drive Israel and Saudi Arabia together.  And the announcement by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS) that "...Israelis have the right to have their own land" changed the way many Jews and Christians viewed Saudi Arabia.

But we need to ask, in light of his recent track record, whether MBS really means what he says.

MBS says a lot of stuff.  The Crown Prince made a big splash last year with talk of reform, yet members of his personal security detail reportedly helped dismember Khashoggi.

He said he wants Saudi Arabia to turn away from extremism, and yet under his rule, detentions of citizens are reported to have increased.

He also said Saudi Arabia needs to tolerate all religions. But Saudi Arabia still stands as one of the world's worst persecutors of Christians.  The Saudi government also encourages an anti-Semitic culture so extreme it would give the Nazis a run for their money.  Saudi textbooks vilify Jews, Christians and non-Wahhabi Muslims. Saudi textbooks have called Jews "apes" and Christians "swine."  Saudi Arabia still executes people for "blasphemy."

At the same time, a strong argument can be made that, militarily, the Saudis have been a stalwart friend to the United States, suspicions about their possible involvement in 9/11 notwithstanding.

It sounds like a line from a stand-up comic, but if you can just look past Saudi Arabia's horrific human rights record and their brutal crushing of all the values and ideals we as Americans and Christians believe in, they're a great ally.

And that's the problem. 

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