The U.S is at a difficult crossroads– justice for a human rights violation or a business deal that’s going to help corporations on both sides of the pond pocket massive profits. Mr. President has long boasted his friendly relations with Saudi Arabia, probably due to some of them being members at Mar-a-Lago, and he is still intent on boosting business with the Kingdom over placing sanctions on them for multiple alleged human rights violations. Unfortunately folks, and thank Heaven’s the US is not governed by a monarchy, Congress doesn’t seem to agree with the President. Republicans have joined hands with the Democrats in the Senate for the first time in a bitter, stretch of US politics to remove US military aid in the current Saudi-led military struggle in Yemen. And it was a landslide 56-41 vote that slammed the demand down on the President’s desk. Unfortunately, the US is a nation– not the next Mother Teresa with a global reach.
If we think about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi taking into account the evidence that has surfaced after investigations by several nations, the evidence is concrete and points to only one possible conclusion: it was a pre-meditated, cold-blooded, state-sponsored killing undertaken by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Mr. Khashoggi was not the most fanatic Saudi nationalist and had his fair share of enmity with the Kingdom; he was a ‘modern rebel’ opposing the rule of the current Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. So, it’s not an unlikely prospect that a nation that has been accused of multiple human rights violations could commit another one and cover it up as a hoax, or a conspiracy. On the other hand, you have Saudi Arabia and Iran fighting a proxy war in Yemen, with each nation trying to cement the rule of the type of Islam they follow, Shia Islam in the case of Iran and Sunni Islam in the case of Arabia. The current war in Yemen is a battle for religious and territorial dominance in the Muslim world, and neither the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or Iran are likely to stop it. In the perception of Saudi Arabia, the good they have done– killing civilians, supporting rebel groups linked with Islamic radical groups and much more– is all in the name of restoring order in Yemen. And Uncle Sam has for long played along with the Kingdom to prevent the Kingdom and OPEC from raising oil prices.
Oil prices have slid massively within the last month as the US has repeatedly expressed its support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and denied the Kingdom’s links to the murder of Mr.Khashoggi. Indeed, US businesses, especially US manufacturers have benefitted from low oil prices as their operating costs have been pared. But is money worth accepting injustice? Is overlooking the murder of an innocent man worth it? The Senate thinks not, and in the mind of any western nation, it should not be worth it– the US is taking blood money from the Kingdom and that is not standing for the values of western democracy and human rights.
It is unethical for the US to participate in the genocide of innocent Yemeni citizens, and as the leading western power, it is the duty of the US to champion human rights above all, even if that compromises US businesses to a slight degree. If the US follows Mr.President’s direction in this conflict, we are only giving the Kingdom more leverage over the Middle East to commit even more atrocious human rights violations.
Mr. President has stated that he will likely veto the current ruling passed in the Senate. Although that will provide temporary relief to businesses worldwide as energy prices will remain likely where they are right now, it displays a downright negligence of the countless other opinions that make up the US government. However, once the Democrats take back the seats they won in the midterms in January of 2019, that could possibly change. From a logical standpoint, the US could still keep oil prices low if it decides to increase local oil fracking operations, and that would result in no harm to US businesses. So, even with the upper hand in this fight, why is President Trump backing down? Why are we as a nation acknowledging the clear, state-sponsored killing of an individual as a story cooked up by Turkey?
The US is not enslaved under the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for oil. Saudi Arabia may threaten retaliation through oil, but they are unlikely to get on the bad side of the US as that would result in them being singled out in the Middle East. On top of that, the global economic slowdown is likely to keep oil prices low as demands are low. Thus, America has little to fear in championing justice– yet the White House is in disagreement. If America is a place where the freedom of expression is one of the founding elements of society, why are we holding back, acting inferior to a power that is propagating violence and conflict throughout the Middle East?