Disgraceful U.S., Saudi alliance should end


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Melania Trump, and Donald Trump at the 2017 riyadh summit. The United States has very close ties with Saudi Arabia. Photo courtesy of the White House

The United States has a long history of involving itself with odious regimes. From Pinochet’s Chile to Franco’s Spain to Egypt’s long string of military dictatorships, America tends to have few qualms about fraternizing with murderous dictators.

Perhaps the most foul example of the U.S. penchant for amicable relations with tyrants is the decades long friendship between America and Saudi Arabia. Based on a narrow-minded desire for oil, with which to deepen America’s misguided dependence on the car, the American government has long been all too cozy with the Saudi regime.

While the closeness of the American-Saudi alliance should have ended long ago, given Saudi Arabia’s horrifying record of repression, international meddling and human rights abuses, the events of recent weeks have given the task of ending this disgraceful relationship a new urgency. It seems ever more likely that Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who advocated for a fairly cautious modernisation of Saudi Arabia entered the Saudi consulate at Istanbul, where he was murdered by government thugs. According to Turkish authorities, a group of men sent by the upper reaches of the Saudi government killed Khashoggi upon his entrance to consulate, before dismembering his body and moving the remains via private airplane to Saudi soil.

This murder, should it be confirmed, is only the most recent and headline grabbing of Saudi Arabia’s crimes. It has prosecuted a relentless war in Yemen, without regard for the human toll of thousands of civilians dead and one of the largest modern outbreaks of cholera. It has imprisoned thousands of peaceful critics, and has recently taken to condemning dissidents to death, both by judicial and extrajudicial means, in the apparent case of Khashoggi.

The United States government should take immediate steps to give Saudi Arabia the punishment it so richly deserves. Oil purchases should be stopped, and sanctions with the strength of those currently imposed on Iran ought to be implemented at the behest of the UN Security Council. The U.S., and all other governments concerned for the preservation of international order and human rights should end diplomatic relations with the Saudis, in a coordinated rupture that might finally convince the Saudi regime to reform. It is long past time for the West to end its embarrassing embrace of Saudi tyranny – no drop of oil is worth this continued debasement of the values of the liberal Western order.