Why the United States Should Ditch Saudi Arabia

  • November 6, 2020
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Why the United States should ditch Saudi Arabia – Democratic Article

The US-Saudi relationship has overstayed its welcome. The United States should have cut ties with Saudi Arabia many years ago. The first impasse was the oil crisis of 1973. At that moment the United States should have realized their relationship with Saudi Arabia is toxic.

The US-Saudi relationship started in the 1930s after oil was discovered in the country. With this relationship, the Al-Saud family grew extremely wealthy and influential in the region. As the relationship progressed, the United States grew more and more addicted to foreign, and especially Saudi, oil. That is why the OPEC oil crisis of 1973 hurt the United States as much as it did. No one country should have that sort of leverage over another.

But that is not the only problem with the US-Saudi relationship. Saudi Arabia shares no values with the US. There is no freedom of the press, speech or assembly in the country. Journalists are regularly beaten or imprisoned. Saudi Arabia also enforces the most conservative and repressive form of Islam, Wahhabism. And because of Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s largest state sponsors of terrorism. If the United States is truly committed to eradicating terrorism and especially Islamic terrorism, it should start at the root; Saudi Arabia. Worst of all, 15 out of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi nationals.

This should have been the biggest sign for the United States to reconsider its ties to Saudi Arabia. Saudi also funded the Taliban. Osama Bin Laden was a Saudi National and his family benefitted immensely from the US-Saudi relationship.

Islamic and conservative extremism, and state-sponsored terrorism, is only the tip of the iceberg for Saudi Arabia. They also commit human rights’ abuses by the thousands, with the aforementioned bans on freedom of speech and assembly. Saudi Arabia is also engaged in a proxy war in Yemen with Iran where they have committed hundreds of war crimes with American weapons. That again should have been the end of the US-Saudi relationship or at least the introduction of a moratorium on selling them weapons. But no, the Trump administration continues to ok weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

Another event that should have been a reckoning on this noxious relationship was the state-sanctioned murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Prince Mohamed Bin Salman had Jamal Khashoggi murdered because he disliked Khashoggi’s critical reporting about him and Saudi Arabia in the Washington Post.

If the United States is as committed to the liberties laid out in the constitution as they claim they are, then they must take a serious look at this relationship. While cutting ties with Saudi Arabia might lead to the loss of a key ally in the Middle East, are they really an ally in the first place? They do not share our values. They do not care about human rights. Some of them orchestrated the deadliest terrorist attack in US history. They fund our enemies around the world. Enough is enough.

Written by Democratic Writer, Ali Lahrech

Point of Information

The US cannot risk losing Saudi Arabia – A Republican Response

Saudi Arabia isn’t the first oppressive regime the US has established relations with, and it won’t be the last. It is an unfortunate constant in US foreign policy to support and even prop up oppressive regimes around the world in an effort to further US interests. Simply put, we’re far too deep into a relationship with Saudi Arabia to cut ties at this point. Saudi has proven itself time and time again to be an excellent trade partner for the US. For example, the aforementioned weapons deal totalling $110 billion.

However, what number is low enough for the US to stop overlooking the severe human rights violations occurring in Saudi Arabia and finally take a stand against them and cut ties? That number is $0 because it never will happen. Trump’s personal relationship with the Crown Prince has made it easier than ever for the Saudi government to operate with the US. However, even under a Joe Biden presidency, that relationship wouldn’t drastically change. The Democrats would likely require stricter conditions on deals, but beyond that, the US will continue to foster its relationship with Saudia Arabia.

Furthermore, cutting ties with Saudi Arabia would mean losing a strategic ally in the Middle East. This would have dangerous consequences in terms of Middle Eastern power dynamics. The main concern here is keeping Iran at bay. With the UAE and Israel already normalizing relations earlier in the year, the US is establishing a strong sphere of influence in the Middle East. Losing Saudi Arabia would spell disaster for this united front against Iran. Israel and Saudi Arabia aren’t likely to normalize ties, but it’s also not entirely out of the question. Joe Biden hasn’t been extremely clear where he stands with Saudi Arabia, but it will be interesting to see, if he wins, how he chooses to move forward.

The goal here is to prevent Iran from expanding its sphere of influence. Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia is a key piece in the US’ Middle Eastern strategy that cannot be lost.

Written by Republican Writer, Sebastian Calcopietro

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“Saudi Arabia is a linchpin for the US” – A Foreign Perspective

Relations in the Middle East have always fluctuated, but the fact is these two powerhouses need each other. There have been peaks and troughs, such as the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in 2019, but trade relations have improved significantly. Just like the UK, the US relies heavily on arms sales. In 2010, the US made the biggest arms sale in its history at $60.5 billion which included the training of Saudi military personnel by US servicemen. On top of this, Donald Trump initiated an arms deal worth $110 billion; $300 billion over a three year period.

To continue with the theme of trade, in 2017, US exports to Saudi Arabia increased by 57%. This is the biggest increase since 2007 which clearly shows a strengthening in their relationship. Simply, trade is crucial between both nations.

Sebastian has rightly mentioned in his response that their relationship will not change drastically from President to President as they have one common goal. Both nations want to prevent Iran’s increasing influence in the Strait of Hormuz. If the US pulled out, the Middle East would be plunged into further tyranny. Saudi Arabia is a linchpin for the US to prevent tensions flaring in the region. Peace will be possible in the years to come but agreements need to be drafted and nurtured.

However, the US should not overlook the abuse of human rights in the country. This is a serious issue which needs to be addressed with robust action but in such a way that does not impede the current relationship which is so crucial.

Written by Foreign Perspective Writer, Max Jablonowski

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Ali Lahrech
Democratic Writer | Website

Hi, I’m Ali and I’m in my third year at the University of Toronto. I’m studying International Relations as my major and Spanish as my minor.

 

I was born and raised in Washington DC to Moroccan parents. This gave me a unique lens with which to observe the country I was raised in. While I am an American citizen, I often have a different perspective than my friends and peers whose families have been in the United States for much longer than mine. Growing up in around DC also gave the unique opportunity of being at the heart of American politics. Ever since President Barrack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009 I was hooked.

 

I have always been left of the American center and most closely aligned myself with the Democratic party. While I vote for the Democratic party, like many Americans I’m starting to feel more and more disillusioned with them and the two-party system. The 2016 election is was the catalyst for my dissatisfaction with the American political parties. I had seen the Republican party move further and further right while the Democrats hadn’t really moved left. They had essentially implemented a policy of appeasement towards the Republicans. In summation I was disappointed that the Democrats had bent the knee to Republicans rather than proposing and implementing bold and forward-thinking policies that would help Americans.

 

This disappointment and disillusionment started to transform into optimism after the 2018 midterms. I saw that there was still hope for a bright future for America. The Democratic party had started to shift leftwards, albeit at a snail’s pace. After the 2018 midterms I became a man possessed by American politics. As I dove deeper and deeper into American politics, I realized that we don’t know enough about it. This fact is why I think it is key for all of us, no matter our perspectives, to have a conversation with each other and most importantly listen to one another; so, we better understand one another and where we’re coming from.

 

Therefore, I look forward to sharing my perspective with POI and reading others’ with great enthusiasm.

 

 

Sebastian Calcopietro
Junior Conservative Writer at | Website
Hello, my name is Sebastian or “Seb” and I am currently going into my third year of
studies at the University of Exeter, completing a bachelor’s degree in International
Relations.
Max Jablonowski
Max Jablonowski
Conservative Writer at | Website

I am Max Jablonowski, a second year student studying French and Politics at the University of Exeter, and I am about to go on my year abroad to Paris to complete two internships. I was Academic Events Manager of the Politics Society in Exeter and I was privileged enough to organize events such as Question Time, co-host the 2019 General Election Hustings with MWEXE and host the Rt. Hon. James Brokenshire MP, the current Minister of State for Security.

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