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Saudi Executions Strain Decades of US Ties

Posted January 5th, 2016 at 3:44 pm (UTC-4)
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The turmoil set off by Saudi Arabia’s decision to execute 47 prisoners – among them, a prominent Iranian Shia cleric – has put the Obama administration in a tight spot.

President John F. Kennedy paid a social call on King Saud of Saudi Arabia at his beach front home in Palm Beach, Florida on Jan. 27, 1962. (AP)

President John F. Kennedy paid a social call on King Saud of Saudi Arabia at his beach front home in Palm Beach, Florida on Jan. 27, 1962. (AP)

Allies since the 1930s, one American administration after another has maintained strong ties with the Saudi kingdom. President Barack Obama appears to have been pinning his hopes on bringing long-time enemies, Saudi Arabia and Iran, together to help solve Syria – and by extension – extinguish the threat posed by ISIS.

The United States is not deaf to human rights activists who prove over and over again that Saudi Arabia has silenced political dissent, in this most recent case, by beheading. But the U.S. has banked on the Saudis for cheap oil and influence in the Middle East. In turn, the Saudis had a regular customer and political cover when needed.

The Saudis knew this execution would further stoke Shia-Sunni sectarian tensions in the region. What will it do to the cozy relationship between Riyadh and Washington?

The Real Reason Behind Saudi Arabia’s Move Against Iran

Panos Mourdoukoutas – Forbes

Saudi Arabia is engaged in another war, in our opinion — trying to keep Iranian oil off the market to push oil prices higher by provoking a Saudi-Iran conflict….

The logic behind these moves is clear: a Saudi-Iran conflict is like adding fuel to the many fires already burning in the region, raising fears of oil supply disruptions — hence, higher oil prices.

Then there is the potential of oil sanctions against Iran coming back on the table should the Iranian response to Saudi moves get out of control. That would certainly mean higher oil prices. That sounds like a win-win situation for Saudi Arabia.

Re-evaluating the Toxic U.S.-Saudi Alliance

Medea Benjamin – LA Progressive

Protesters rally against the execution of Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London on Jan. 3, 2016. (Reuters)

Protesters rally against the execution of Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London on Jan. 3, 2016. (Reuters)

For decades US governments, both Democratic and Republican, have backed the kingdom.

The US-Saudi alliance dates back to World War II, when US officials started to see Saudi’s oil as a strategic advantage. Since then, the US has blindly supported the Kingdom in almost every political and economic effort, despite the fact that Saudi Arabia is an ultraconservative monarchy rife with human rights abuses….

The killing of Sheikh Al-Nimr should serve as a prime moment for the U.S. to reconsider its alliance with the Saudi regime, a regime that not only denies human rights to its own people but exports death and destruction abroad. An upcoming activist-based Saudi Summit, which will be held in Washington DC on March 5-6, is an effort to build a campaign to support challenge this toxic relationship.

 

U.S. Fails to Condemn the Inhumane Execution of a Shiite Muslim Cleric by Saudi Arabia

The Editorial Board – Los Angeles Times

It’s understandable that the administration doesn’t want to undermine the support of Saudi Arabia for the Syrian negotiations. It is also a fact that the U.S. has sought to reaffirm its support for Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-led Arab states in the aftermath of the nuclear agreement with Iran.

But neither anxiety about the talks nor historical ties between Washington and Riyadh justify a mealy-mouthed reaction to al-Nimr’s execution. Not for the first time, the Obama administration failed to find its voice.

Flames and smoke rise from Saudi Arabia's embassy during a demonstration at in Tehran

Flames and smoke rise from Saudi Arabia’s embassy during a demonstration at in Tehran on Jan. 2, 2015 after news of the execution of a prominent Shi’ite cleric. (Reuters)

 

Exercise of Justice at Home is a Saudi Arabia Affair

Saudi Arabia has the right and responsibility to take every step necessary to secure the peace, security and stability of its government, institutions and people against those who plot, act, conduct violence and instigate insurrection, discord and civil unrest.

Major General Mansour Al-Turki, a security spokesman from the Saudi Arabian interior ministry, speaks to the press about the executions of 47 people in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Jan. 2, 2016. (Reuters)

Major General Mansour Al-Turki, a security spokesman from the Saudi Arabian interior ministry, speaks to the press about the executions of 47 people in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Jan. 2, 2016. (Reuters)

Terrorism takes many forms, uses many faces, embraces many peoples and those who advocate terrorist philosophies will use any means to further their narrow political, religious or philosophical outlooks….

These 47 — as with the remainder who face the ultimate sanction of justice — have all had their day in court. Their cases were reviewed by appeals courts, and judicial due process was carried out under the procedures and laws of the kingdom. And that’s more that can be said for all those who have been victimised and terrorised by the guilty.

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