“There’ll be an announcement on Monday on what we’re going to be doing with Saudi Arabia generally.”
Biden’s decision to release the report in the first weeks of his presidency fulfils campaign promises to reassess ties with Saudi Arabia after critics accused Donald Trump of ignoring gross human rights violations such as a sweeping crackdown on activists and the war in Yemen. Biden, however, is seeking to sideline Prince Mohammed without completely breaking off one of the US’s core relationships in the Middle East.
Friday’s news caused shock in the region, with social media networks such as Twitter and Clubhouse lighting up through the night as exiles debated how much the US opprobrium would help in the fight for freedoms in the country.
The exiled Saudi opposition National Assembly party said “true justice for Khashoggi and others facing similar risk” would mean following the recommendations of a UN inquiry into Khashoggi’s death, including pursuing criminal prosecutions in the US and using harsh Magnitsky-style sanctions on those responsible.
Amrit Singh, a lawyer with Open Society Justice Initiative, who filed a lawsuit to have the intelligence report released, said: “It is unconscionable for the US government to let the murderer-in-chief – the crown prince – walk free from punishment.” The Guardian
Comment: I was Defense and Army Attaché in the US embassy in Saudi Arabia for three years. Then I was head of US Defense Intelligence for the ME for eight years. After I left the government I traveled to SA many times on private business.
I have been in just about every Islamic country. Ah, I remember now that I have never been in Algeria. Saudi Arabia stands out in the mind as being an absolute hell hole. The country LOOKS good. The infrastructure is modern. The medical facilities are first rate although nearly all are run by expats. But there is an overwhelming atmosphere of oppression generated by a clerically dominated regime in which a parasitic and gigantic “royal” family exercises ruthless and unrestrained power on behalf of a theocracy based on the Wahhabi sect of Sunni Islam. This in turn is based on the Hanbali school of Sharia, a variety of Islam that is uncompromisingly rigid, and incapable of internal reform.
When I was a Counselor of Embassy equivalent there, the Saudis I dealt with delighted in pressuring me into going with them to the weekly public executions held in front of the central mosque. The drill there was usually to march some condemned African or South Asian out into the square where an African slave would then behead him with the sword. Occasionally a woman judged an adulteress would be carried into the square sewn into a bag. Deposited on the ground she would then be stoned to death with rocks taken from a conveniently located pile nearby. Why did the Saudis take me to these events? They wanted to see if I would flinch. They were looking for weakness.
Saudi Arabia is a medieval barbarism still extent in the 21st Century. It is an unsuitable ally for the US and it has always been unsuitable. The US government should DEMAND major reforms in Saudi behavior or we should walk out of the relationship. They need us a hell of a lot more than we need them.
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