When trying to set a good example, it is vital not only to speak empty words but also to ‘practice what you preach’ as the old saying goes. It is therefore delightful to see pro-democracy, pro-peace and pro-freedom all-star USA selling $30 billon worth of weapons of ‘stability’ to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis after all share the same interest in democracy, peace and freedom, especially for its own people.
Hang on, I meant to say authoritarian rule, terror and suppression. Amnesty details grave abuses in Saudi Arabia, including imprisonment without trial, torture of prisoners, public flogging and extreme suppression of women. Not exactly the most obvious, and certainly not the best, choice of ally for said purpose. Then again, this ally is the largest exporter of petroleum in the world and happens to have access to the second largest oil reserve on earth.
This particular deal is only one part of a much larger agreement to supply the Saudis with military aircrafts, missiles and bombs totalling $60 billion. That’s a whole lot of peace (and a great deal of money for America’s arms industry!).
The justification for supplying the 7th most authoritarian regime in the world with such an abundance of weaponry is, according to the official tagline, to secure stability in the region. But what sort of stability is this? One where Iran is further pushed into a corner and oil can continue to flow freely?
The US government condemns selected regimes world-wide for human rights abuses and oppression, while at the same time supporting countries who exercise exactly the same kind of state terror. How is this supposed to set a good example for the rest of the world? More importantly, how strategically wise is it to arm such a regime, when this has been done before and failed miserably as witnessed with the Taliban and Saddam Hussein?