Saudi Arabia has made headlines recently for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. What happened to Khashoggi is certainly tragic, but it’s far from the only crime committed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Despite its history of thuggery, the US has been cozy with the kingdom for decades. Here’s 10 reasons to sever this nefarious alliance with the Saudi kingdom.
- There is no political freedom in Saudi Arabia. While most of the world’s monarchies have evolved to lessen the role of royalty, Saudi Arabia remains one of the world’s last absolute monarchies. The Saud royal family picks the king, who then has ultimate authority in virtually every aspect of government. There are no national elections and political parties are banned, as are unions and most civic organizations.
- Mohammad bin Salman is falsely hailed as a progressive hero. Since becoming Crown Prince in 2015, Mohammad bin Salman has been credited with a number of reforms, such as granting women the right to drive (despite arresting the very women who advocated for that right). These highly publicized changes serve to distract the global community from bin Salman’s ruthless policies, such as escalating the war in Yemen, cracking down on human rights activists, and increasing the number of executions.
- The government represses religious minorities. Trump says he is promoting tolerance by working with Saudi Arabia, but this theocratic Sunni regime is based on repressing the Shia minority and non-Muslims. It is the only country in the world to ban all churches, and atheism is a capital offense. Year after year, the U.S. government’s own Commission on International Religious Freedom says Saudi Arabia commits “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom.”
- The regime is one of the most misogynist, gender-segregated countries in the world. Saudi women famously gained the right to drive recently, but the kingdom maintains its oppressive male guardianship system where women must obtain a man’s permission before doing things like getting married or divorced or applying for a passport. Gender segregation persists as well: women are separated from men in public and even private places, like restaurants. Women’s rights advocates are frequently arrested for their activism.
- The Kingdom primarily functions on the backs of mistreated foreign laborers. Of the nation’s 30 million people, some 10 million are foreigners. Workers from poor nations seek economic gains within Saudi Arabia, but are often lured under false pretenses and then not allowed to leave the country without permission from their employer. Female migrant workers, treated like indentured servants, often face physical and sexual abuse.
- Free speech and free association are forbidden in the kingdom. There is no free speech or free press in Saudi Arabia, and criticizing the government or royal family is punishable by flogging, jail time, or even execution. Tragic examples include Samar Badawi and…