Trump, the Crown Prince and the Whole Ugly Big Picture

Photo by James N. Mattis | CC BY 2.0

There are few countries on earth more oppressive than Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy shaped by Sunni theocracy. It stones adulterers and hurls gay men off buildings by judicial decision. The State Department routinely, matter of factly, reports widespread human rights abuses in the country.  International human rights organizations use Saudi Arabia as the poster child of egregious violations. Everybody knows how Saudi women have been forbidden to even drive cars, although the ban will be lifted due to international pressure in June.

Donald Trump seems unconcerned with such matters. Following the May 2017 sword dance in Riyadh he has cozied up with the Saudi king and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who just visited Washington. The pair celebrated the $ 200 billion arms deal last year and more sales to come. Trump noted that the Saudis are “a very wealthy nation, and they’re going to give the United States some of that wealth.”

The prince’s visit drew out Codepink and other protestors targeting Saudi repression and the vicious Saudi assault on Yemen, which has killed at least 10,000 civilians an is currently experiencing what the UN terms the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe. The U.S. abets this assault with military intelligence and refueling. It justifies the Saudi effort to crush the Houthis and restore the former (unelected) president as a necessary move to counter Iranian influence in the region. Even though…

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