Human Rights Promotion in Saudi Arabia Doesn’t Serve American Interests

It is generally a truism that promotion of human rights serves American interests, but this is not always true everywhere. One place where this is usually not the case is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. What are the American interests in Saudi Arabia? 1) First, Riyadh controls the global price of oil and so irrespective of whether the occupant of the White House is a fan of MBS is it an American interest to maintain friendly relations with Riyadh in general and with MBS in particular. 2) Second, the KSA is the most important Arab nation and as such is vital for defending the MENA region from Iran. 3) Third, Israeli-Saudi normalization is vital for ending the Arab-Israeli conflict, disarming the Palestinian issue as a geopolitical bomb and forming a MENA defense alliance. 4) Fourth, the KSA is vital for promotion of moderation in Islam and discouraging Islamism, something which is also an American interest. 5) Fifth, MBS will probably rule KSA for the next 50 years and so it is an American interest to maintain good relations with the next king of Saudi Arabia. 6) Sixth, human rights promotion in the KSA mainly serves Islamist agendas since human rights promotion provides space for Islamist takeover whether in openly Islamist shape or in ideological disguise. It is certainly not an American interest to undermine MBS through human rights promotion which if implemented will lead to the fall of his regime, but rather to deepen the alliance between the KSA and the USA. Official American human rights promotion in the KSA is useless as MBS is certainly not under any circumstances going to commit political suicide by obliging. Instead, official US human rights promotion in the KSA undermines all aforementioned American interests with respect to Saudi Arabia.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization.

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