America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is complicated and I’m a simple man. So I’d like to know what the cost is of embracing an ally nation that:
1. Murders journalists on foreign soil.
2. Is the biggest exporter of Islamic terrorism in the world.
3. Hasn’t exactly embraced #metoo.
4. Gave us Bin Laden and 9/11.
5. Just three years ago beheaded 47 people, including leaders of peaceful protests.
6. Is currently engaged in a war with Yemen, using American weapons and killing thousands of civilians (not exactly winning the hearts and minds).
7. According to leaked diplomatic cables, actively supports individuals who are the chief source of funding for al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist groups.
8. And, as of today, is very close to pulling the U.S. into a hot war with Iran, albeit with the tacit approval of our administration.
No one can credibly dispute that the United States has shed a lot of blood on behalf and because of Saudi Arabia. And while I’m no expert on Mideast politics, I’m guessing the U.S. and business has made a lot of money thanks to the cozy and toxic relationship with Royal family there. I’m not saying that is all bad. I just think it’s important to know exactly how much shit we are swallowing along with the sweet taste of petrol dollars.
The case of Saudi Arabia highlights the difficulty of fighting a war on terrorism while at the same time actively supporting it.
Within it’s own borders, The Saudi monarchy is brutal, repressive and viciously anti-democratic. ISIS has a well earned reputation for stoning people to death, cutting throats, cutting off hands and brutally oppressing women. If you are wondering how you can tell the difference between an ISIS leader and a Saudi Monarch, see if the person is holding a U.S. President’s hand.
FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT.
The Saudi Kingdom supports violent religious extremism. You know, the stuff that our current president campaigned on eradicating. Promises made, promises kept? No. Trump will look the other way, just as his predecessors have done, because there is an argument for having a strong ally in the Middle East. Hell, it’s great. We get to park our toys there, and keep Iran in check (more or less).
FUN FACT: Iraq used to keep Iran in check until we weakened Iraq in the Gulf war because we pretended Iraq was pursuing a nuclear arms strategy. Well, lesson learned. We won’t make that mistake again!
At the same time, however, we need to remember that Saudi Arabia and its religious clergy are inseparable. And when they aren’t thinking about the benefits of manscaping, the religious authorities spend their time defending and spreading Wahhabism. And as I once famously am about to say, Wahhabism is the special sauce in the ISIS falafel. We will never eradicate ISIS as long as we funnel money and political capital to the nation that exports the brand of extreme violence that ISIS thrives on.
FUN FACT: Trump’s immigration ban did not include Saudi Arabia!
So, to borrow a September catch phrase, Never Forget that we are a nation of hypocrites when it comes to terrorism. We denounce it. We fight it. And we support it. As does much of the West, including France and the United Kingdom. So when we lose a few towers, or a 130 people in bombing attacks in Paris, we should acknowledge that it is just part of the built in cost of doing business with Saudi Arabia.
Now, in a normal world….