Reexamining the US-Saudi Alliance

The United States should end its alliance with Saudi Arabia.

US and Saudi flags fly together at the King Khalid International Airport. Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh from EPA used with permission.

US and Saudi flags fly together at the King Khalid International Airport. Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh from EPA used with permission.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Did you know that the United States currently is an ally and huge benefactor of a state that sponsors terrorism, indulges in radical religious theocracy, and suppresses its citizens in one of the least democratic systems in the world? I am talking about Saudi Arabia, which continues to be supported by the US even as it continues to wage the War on Terror. If the US wants to prove its commitment to fighting terrorism and promoting democracy around the globe, it must end its support of Saudi Arabia.  

Firstly, Saudi Arabia is an international sponsor of terrorism. 15 of the 19 Al-Qaeda attackers were Saudi, a fact too convincing to be coincidental. Also, the Saudi government turns a blind eye to rich Saudi nationals who fund Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. But this is not surprising, as such groups agree with the fundamentalist, Wahhabist ideals that the Saudi government espouses.

Saudi Arabia is a supporter of radical jihadist ideas. The government, which composes a theocracy similar to that of Iran, persecutes religious dissidents and, until last year, disallowed women from driving. Much of the religious extremist ideas that the Saudi government espouses is part of an ultra-conservative Islamist doctrine called Wahhabism. In 1979, Wahhabists took over the Grand Mosque of Mecca. After regaining control of the Mosque, the Saudi government decided to embrace Wahhabism in order to prevent future uprisings from occurring.

Saudi Arabia is also one of the least democratic countries in the world. It is an absolute monarchy. No elections are ever held, and the King wields complete power. Public executions are common, and anyone who speaks out against the government is quickly jailed. According to the Freedom in the World Index, compiled by the unbiased Freedom House Group, Saudi Arabia scored a 7/100 freedom score, making it one of the most repressive regimes in the world. Even Iran scored better, receiving a 17/100.

In addition, Saudi Arabia is currently waging a relentless campaign of bombing and blockade in Yemen. The Saudi intervention in the country has caused widespread famine and starvation, an unprecedented Cholera epidemic, and a massive humanitarian crisis. The United States, though, supports the Saudi intervention, as it is being waged against Yemeni insurgents backed by Iran. The Saudi-led intervention in Yemen has made the conflict there one of the most brutal and bloody in the world right now.

And yet, despite all of these factors, the US continues to support the Saudi regime. America has embraced Saudi Arabia along the lines of the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” proverb, as the Saudis are enemies of Iran, a nation that has a long and bitter relationship with the US. However, in many ways, the Saudis are actually worse than the Iranians. This is not to say that Iran is not a greater threat to the US than Saudi Arabia, but the US should not hypocritically condemn one theocracy while embracing another.

On the other hand, the issue does come up that if the US abandons Saudi Arabia, then the US will lose one of its biggest allies in the Middle East. The US may lose its foothold in the region without the alliance with the Saudis. But then again, this brings up another issue. Why does the US need a foothold in the Middle East? Much of the US interventions in the Middle East, such as the invasion of Iraq, have destabilized the region and have not improved conditions there.

But even if a foothold is necessary to operate against terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda, there are much better allies to work with then the Saudis. After all, the Saudis support many of the same terrorist groups that the US is committed to destroying. A better alliance would be an alliance with the Kurds, who have shown themselves, in Iraq and Syria, to be capable, skilled fighters who have the ability to take down ISIS. Working with the Kurds may mean that the US will have to commit itself to Kurdish independence though, which will be unpalatable to other regional allies such as NATO member Turkey.

But this is a sacrifice that the US should be willing to make, as Turkey is headed by an Islamist, authoritarian President. While not as bad as the Saudis, President Erdogan is not someone who the US should choose to ally with when there is a better alternative, the Kurds. And the US must stop playing both sides in the Syrian Civil War by supporting both the Turks and their enemies, the Kurds. The US should support the Kurds completely and totally, even if it means isolating the Turks. But most importantly, the US must end its alliance with Saudi Arabia.

Do you support the US-Saudi Arabia Alliance?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Reexamining the Saudi-US Alliance

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Showcase

    A New Voice

  • Reexamining the US-Saudi Alliance

    News

    Fall Fun Fest photo gallery

  • News

    More Than Another Tradition

  • Reexamining the US-Saudi Alliance

    Feature

    What a Time to be in Show Choir

  • Reexamining the US-Saudi Alliance

    News

    Kazoo Madness

  • Reexamining the US-Saudi Alliance

    News

    How would redefining gender affect students?

  • Reexamining the US-Saudi Alliance

    News

    #MeToo: one year later

  • Reexamining the US-Saudi Alliance

    News

    Women of STEM

  • Reexamining the US-Saudi Alliance

    News

    West High Review: A Review

  • Reexamining the US-Saudi Alliance

    Feature

    Student senate takes a step forward

Reexamining the US-Saudi Alliance