I know our government has strong ties to the Saudi Royal Family and that has made it difficult for any president to lean on them strongly in the past.
But President Trump got elected as a man of the people who would shatter norms and smash the established order in favor of doing what is right and just for the people of America and my hope was that one of the things he would do differently was lean on the Saudis for their bad behavior and put pressure on them to take in refugees.
I’m a supporter of the president, but to be honest, his actions thus far regarding the Saudis have been far too deferential and incredibly disappointing.
While he did end U.S. refueling of Saudi-led aircraft, the fact that the United States still has any part of arming or funding Saudi efforts against Yemen is despicable, and if President Trump really wants to put America first, he will put an end to that as quickly as possible
I know the saying “money talks” applies here, but are human rights really for sale? Does human decency really carry a price tag?
The answer should be no, but unfortunately, up until now, it has been yes. Simply put, Saudi Arabia has gotten away with things no poor country would have gotten away with and it is unconscionable.
I hope and pray somebody with real political power someday has the courage to stand up and speak up about this basic truth.
But I am not holding my breath.
After all, the Saudis have been responsible for numerous atrocities and not been held to account for them.
Over the years they have funded numerous bad acts, and let’s not forget that a whopping 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.
On top of all of this, they still refuse to help one bit with the refugee crisis that is tearing their region apart.
As noted Middle Eastern scholar Daniel Pipes explains, “Saudi Arabia has many unique attractions for Sunni Muslims. To begin with, it has 100,000 high-quality, empty fiberglass tents that can house about 3 million people in Mina, just east of Mecca. Fireproof and air-conditioned, complete with toilets and kitchens, this unique resource is occupied a mere five days a year by pilgrims on the hajj.”
In demonstrating how little the Saudis have contributed here, Pipes notes that the amount of Syrians in that country is shockingly low:
“One study, by Lori Plotkin Boghardt of the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy, estimates the number in the ‘low hundreds of thousands,’ say 150,000. That’s a small fraction of the over 4 million in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan — and just 5 percent of the migrants who could be housed just in Mina’s splendid tents.”
And now President Trump is referring to the Saudis as a “great ally.”
It is truly disheartening.
I realize sometimes alliances with unseemly regimes are necessary if uncomfortable and I am certainly not calling for any type of open militaristic hostilities towards the Saudis.
And at the very least, our government should make sure it has absolutely nothing — directory or indirectly — to do with anything involving the monstrous actions the Saudi government is responsible for in Yemen.
I do not think that is too much to ask.
But it appears many key decision makers in our government do.
And that is a damn shame.