Saudi Arabia: The Ally From Hell, by Doug Bandow

Oil can’t buy morality or respectability. The present ruler is execrable. From Doug Bandow at theamericanconservative.come:

MbS has made the U.S. complicit in war crimes and committed murder. The new administration should stand up to him.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives at Kansai airport in Izumisano city, Osaka prefecture, on June 27, 2019 ahead of the G20 Osaka Summit. (CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

Members of the G-20, representing states with the world’s largest economies, gathered virtually over the weekend for a meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia. Time is running out for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to capitalize on his friendship with President Donald Trump. The incoming administration is unlikely to cater to his deadly whims.

Trump made his first presidential trip abroad to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The president came away from that meeting in thrall to the young MbS, who turned a repressive collective dictatorship into a murderous personal tyranny.

If the Trump administration had merely maintained civil relations with yet another authoritarian regime, there would have been little controversy. However, the president and secretary of state turned complicity with brutality into an art form. Rarely has a president so ostentatiously welcomed such a dictator to the White House, assiduously protected such a dictator from accountability, and effectively armed such a dictator to commit further villainy.

The KSA was always a dubious partner for America. An absolute monarchy in which fear of Islamist radicalism caused the princely libertines in private to enforce Islamic purity in public, Riyadh won the affection of U.S. officials with its vast oil reserves. Western governments averted their gaze from royal repression and welcomed spendthrift princes and princesses seeking a luxurious and sybaritic retreat.

However, after King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud took over in January 2015, he broke with tradition and put one of his sons, the current crown prince, in charge. Then MbS staged a uniquely Saudi machtübernahme, akin to the Nazi seizure of power. Since then, even senior royals have routinely disappeared from view—kidnappings, detentions, torture, shakedowns, and killings have stamped the regime’s authority on the country.

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