Saudi oil isn’t worth the betrayal of American values

During his presidential campaign, Joe Biden vowed to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” state in light of the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and promised to make the regime “pay the price” for its human rights violations. Many saw this as a welcome change from America’s long-standing but morally questionable friendly relations with the Saudis.

But that promise vanished with Biden’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia and his friendly fist-bump with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Biden now claims that his intention was always to “reorient,” not rupture, the relationship with Saudi Arabia. He now sees the regime as an ally in solving America’s energy crisis, among other issues. I’ve previously criticized Biden’s overtures to Venezuela in pursuit of oil on the grounds that it’s contrary to America’s interests to court tyrannies. That applies just as much to Saudi Arabia.

In an op-ed for the Washington Post, the president claimed that the goal of his visit was “to strengthen a strategic partnership going forward that’s based on mutual interests and responsibilities, while also holding true to fundamental American values.” But this is a fantasy: everything about the Saudi regime is hostile to fundamental American values.

Saudi Arabia is an absolute Islamic monarchy. The ultimate authority, even on judicial matters, is the king. Citizens have no rights or due process — the legal system is based on Sharia law, which empowers the state to control every aspect of people’s lives, including what they can think and say. In practice, this means that dissenters, like Khashoggi, can be brutally killed and dismembered for the “crime” of speaking out against the regime. According to American intelligence, Khashoggi’s assassination was ordered directly by bin Salman.

Just as there’s no freedom of speech, there is no freedom of thought: those who renounce Islam are subject to public decapitation. Dissent …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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