We get most of our imported oil from Canada (about a third), while Saudi Arabia is our second largest provider at 17%; this is way down from a few years ago which is great for us but worrisome to the Saudis who have enjoyed their major leverage in our oil dependency. Venezuela was a major exporter of oil into our country but they lost a lot of business when we sanctioned them for various human rights violations.
Our relationship with Saudi Arabia including during the Bush years, seems to lack integrity but there’s no doubt it’s a solid quid pro quo (military bases and oil), but to attack other countries in the Middle-East regarding human rights while not saying anything bad about Saudi Arabia is blatantly biased.
There were 19 hijackers during the 9/11 attack and 15 of them were from Saudi Arabia. We were able to trace much of the funding back to the Saudis yet where was our condemnation of their government? Our focus was on a few terrorists groups mostly in Afghanistan and Iran yet the terrorists themselves were from Saudi Arabia and had moved to these other countries to establish terrorists’ cells through funding from the Saudis.
We know their country is a farce in reference to what they say and what they do. They’re supposed to have an executive, judicial, and legislative branches but everyone knows the royal family runs everything. There’s not a major influential post in the country that isn’t filled with someone who’s related in one way or another to the family. There are around 7,000 princes who have major positions throughout the country like the positions of Royal Governors.
Notice I didn’t say princesses running anything because women are treated as property in Saudi Arabia. If a woman is raped it’s generally her fault and it’s a shame put on her family so most women know not to say anything. Women only make up 5% of the workforce in Saudi Arabia and they are generally servant positions within Royal palaces.
Saudi Arabia uses judicial corporal punishment such as amputations of hands and feet for robbery, and flogging for lesser crimes such as "sexual deviance" and drunkenness. Someone who is found to be a homosexual can receive the death penalty. Basically the Saudis run the country based on their own interpretation of the Koran and this is why they are generally one of the recognized worst violators in the world when it comes to human rights.
With the above in mind, we still cozy up to them. We condemn other middle-eastern countries for their human right’s violations but don’t condemn one of the worst violators of all. How do you think it makes these other countries feel? They already hate us because of our relationship with Israel so our quid pro quo relationship with Saudi Arabia means there’s nothing we can do to have solid relationships in the Middle-East. If as a country we’re going to stand up to violations across the globe, we shouldn’t pick and choose who we’ll call out based on what we get from them; at least in theory.
Like I wrote at the start, I’m not a foreign relations expert so I don’t know which polices are best for our country but I came at this article as an ordinary citizen and I can’t help but feel that our relationship with Saudi Arabia is a bit unwholesome from an ethical perspective. Saudi Arabia is a façade. We know who they really are and we know what they really do; but we let it slide. I understand why we let it slide but once again something feels wrong about doing it. This is one of the reasons politics can be so dirty as politicians are often confronted with the question of does the end justify the means?