Undermining the KSA is not a US Interest

Are there currently negotiations underway for a KSA-USA defense pact? There are strong indications that this is indeed the case as this is very strongly in the interest of both nations, not to mention other regional nations. However, negotiations appear to be delayed by US human rights demands. The US needs to be cognizant that the process of liberalization in Saudi Arabia is a highly sensitive one that is being carefully calibrated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. MBS knows perfectly well the fate of the last Shah of Iran who had a similar agenda to that of MBS. Therefore rushing the process is very dangerous and could unleash forces inimical to liberalization and could furthermore undermine the Kingdom and its stability. That said, the US has legitimate human rights concerns, however MBS like the former Shah is pursuing liberalization with an iron first in a country with overwhelmingly Islamist public opinion. While it is true that there is a new Americanized young generation with liberal values in Saudi Arabia, this is not true for the older generations. The US government should certainly demand that all torture ends in the KSA but beyond that should it be careful about rushing its human rights agenda in the Desert Kingdom. President Biden should keep in mind that political stability in Saudi Arabia is an overriding US national interest as it is essential to ensure that liberalization in the KSA does not end up the way it ended up in Iran in 1979.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization.

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