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The US needs to stand up to Saudi Arabia

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The US needs to stand up to Saudi Arabia

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump land in Saudi Arabia.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump land in Saudi Arabia.

Shealah Craighead

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump land in Saudi Arabia.

Shealah Craighead

Shealah Craighead

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump land in Saudi Arabia.

Raashi Dewan, Opinions Writer

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It is no secret that the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia is contentious. However, the Arab nation is allowed to get away with entirely too much.

Let’s start with the most obvious. The Saudi Arabian royal family, their government, was entrenched in the 9/11 attacks on the United States. There are 29 pages in the congressional inquiry into the terror attacks dedicated to Saudi involvement. These pages confirm that 11 of the hijackers were in contact with Saudi government officials. Osama Bassnan, a financial supporter of the attacks, received money from the Saudi royal family. Multiple of the hijackers were Saudi nationals. The list goes on. Despite the damning evidence to support their involvement, the United States conveniently ignored the House of Saud when going after the perpetrators.

Wahhabi Islam itself, which is the corrupted form of Islam from which Jihadist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda sprung, was born out of Saudi Arabia. The House of Saud cut a deal with Mullah Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the founder of Wahhabism, to maintain their power. As a result, madrasas and terror groups propagating this twisted form of the religion have been founded and funded by the Saudi Royal family.

I understand the Saudi’s have oil, and oil money controlled the world. However, in light of their clear disregard for the sovereignty and security of the United States, I find it preposterous that US/Saudi relations are this positive.

Throughout the Middle East, South Asians, East Asians, and East Africans are trafficked for labor and forced begging. Today, the Saudi government allows slaves to be brought to the country and exploited. Unfortunately, the House of Saud still publicly holds the belief, that Arab lives are superior, even when compared to other Muslims, as Arab holy sites and events all have, do, and will take place in the Middle East. With this discrimination within the Islamic world, it is no wonder so many people in the Middle East hold such contempt for Western nations, especially Americans.

Saudi Arabia is classified as Tier 2 by the UN Refugee Agency, meaning that while international standards for trafficking exist, they are largely ignored and little to no data is produced to show compliance with regulations. Sometimes, victims are tricked, promised better lives and an opportunity to make money to send back home. However, upon their arrival, their passports are stipped and they are kept in inhuman conditions, sometimes even shipping containers. These people work and die due to harsh conditions the disregard for their lives. Yet, the west does nothing.

Sophomore Nanya Nanda said, “I feel like because we’re so dependant on the Saudi’s for oil, we kind of give them a free pass when it comes to terrorist organizations.” Money talks and oil money is particularly vocal.

I believe that stronger action must be taken because we have gone far too long without speaking out. The current US administration has been as submissive as all preceding administration on the topic of Saudi Arabia. When the Trump administration called for Saudi Arabia to end hostilities in Yemen, the message was largely ignored, as there was nothing backing it up.

The brutal slaughter of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist, in Turkey is another matter that it seems Saudi Arabia will go unpunished for. I don’t pretend to understand all the factors that go into the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia. However, I do know that what we are doing is not enough.

The United States is criticized for interfering in world affairs. It is also criticized for staying out of them. Some people, like Nanda, believe “we should get involved. As a world power, it is our duty to fix the problems that we see”.

Seeing as we are damned if we do, damned if we don’t, the reaction of the global public seems irrelevant. What I believe is important is standing up against a bully that has tormented the world for far too long

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The US needs to stand up to Saudi Arabia