Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud is the guy who runs the show in Saudi Arabia and a ruthlessly interesting dude he is. If ruthless and interesting don’t sound like they belong in the same sentence, you may be right. Asshole and killer is pretty provocative
So let’s take a look at the Muslim nation we dare not criticize:
Our American support begins with a deal. The deal was that Saudi, who dominated world access to oil at the time, would agree that oil would be internationally paid-for in American dollars. In return, the U.S. would support Saudi militarily.
The reason that was important is that Richard Nixon had taken America off the gold standard in 1971 and oil was nearly as stable as gold—often called black gold—and we needed monetary stability above almost all else.
The deal went back a long way, begun by FDR and Saudi King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud agreement in 1945 and reinforced by Nixon in 1971.
The military-industrial guys love Saudi
And why not? Over 75 years, we probably sold Saudi a trillion dollars in armaments, although you can’t find accurate (or any) numbers over that period, but no one on the planet buys as much as they. And the myth is that we’re buying stability in the Middle East, but as anyone looking at the area knows, it’s all myth.
Despite statements against ISIS/Da’esh as “Enemy Number 1 of Islam,” if you pay any attention to the Saudi Madrasses.
Wahhabism and the Madrassas
According to PBS,
A madrassa is an Islamic religious school. Many of the Taliban were educated in Saudi-financed madrassas in Pakistan that teach Wahhabism, a particularly austere and rigid form of Islam which is rooted in Saudi Arabia. Around the world, Saudi wealth and charities contributed to an explosive growth of madrassas during the Afghan jihad against the Soviets. During that war (1979-1989), a new kind of madrassa emerged in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region — not so much concerned about scholarship as making war on infidels.
“For instance, in one madrassa in Pakistan, I (Vali Nasr) interviewed 70 Malaysian and Thai students who are being educated side by side with students who went on to the Afghan war and the like. These people return to their countries, and then we see the results in a short while. … At best, they become hot-headed preachers in mosques that encourage fighting Christians in Nigeria or in Indonesia. And in a worst case, they actually recruit or participate in terror acts.”
Then of course, there’s 9-11
Fourteen of the seventeen terrorists involved in 9-11 were Saudis and, when flights in America were grounded, the only planes allowed to fly were those carrying Saudis back to Saudi Arabia (they said later) for fear of retribution.
And other stuff…
I have a good friend, an American architect who had a project in Saudi. While he was there, he said that when there was a public execution in Riyadh the foreign contractors were gathered to witness beheadings, usually from a row near the front.
…including the murder of Jamal Khashoggi
(Wikipedia) Khashoggi was a Saudi Arabian dissident, author, columnist for The Washington Post, and a general manager and editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel who was assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 by agents of the Saudi government.
On 2 October 2018, Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents related to his planned marriage, but was never seen leaving. Amid news reports claiming that he had been killed and dismembered inside, an inspection of the consulate, by Saudi and Turkish officials, took place on 15 October. Initially, the Saudi government denied the death, but following shifting explanations for Khashoggi’s death, Saudi Arabia’s attorney general eventually stated that the murder was premeditated, By 16 November 2018, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had concluded that Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s assassination.
Plus an inconveniently public genocide in Yemen
Briefly, the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen is an intervention launched by Saudi Arabia in 2015, leading a coalition of nine countries from West Asia and North Africa, in response to calls from the pro-Saudi president of Yemen, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, for military support after he was ousted by the Houthi movement due to economic and political grievances, and fled to Saudi Arabia.
He was a crook, but he was Saudi’s crook and, as the title of this article suggests, it matters on whose side your crookedness resides. Long story short, more than 17,500 civilians were killed and injured since 2015, and a quarter of all civilians killed in air raids were women.
Oh, and the small matter of locking up Saudi Royals
In a power-play to remove any small doubt about who was in charge, Mohammed bin Salman had the elites of the Saudi Royal Family essentially kidnapped and held incommunicado in a hotel. They remained there—some longer than others—until they mad major contributions of jewelry and cash, along with a pledge of fidelity.
All of which begs the question of why we keep supporting Saudi
Of course we continue to make a pretty good buck from armaments—which was good enough for Donald Trump—but the price of supporting a pariah-nation grows with each disclosure in negative world opinion. Oil is pretty much over as a stabilizer of the U.S. dollar and, quite frankly, it’s an increasing embarrassment to support yet another dictatorship—Muslim or not.
Joe Biden said he intended to expose Saudi Arabia as the pariah-state it is, but he’s slow to lay down his cards in that intent. Meanwhile, on an increasingly wide number of issues, from criminal dismemberment to national civil rights and international genocide, America’s reasons for support are melting like a winter’s snow.
Mohammed bin Salman is reason enough—all by himself.
Image Credit: SkyNews.com