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06 May, 2017

Whitewashing an extremist kingdom: corporate pundits shill for Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has benefited from its cozy relationship with the United States for decades, receiving funding and arms despite its horrific human rights track record. Mainstream media outlets continue to lavish praise on the kingdom while largely ignoring its misconduct.

by Roqayah Chamseddine

Saudi Arabia is being marketed to U.S. audiences as a nation on the precipice of reformation. But the efforts made by corporate-backed pundits to whitewash the country can’t hide its wrongdoings.

Since 1933, Saudi Arabia has enjoyed a “special relationship” with the U.S. that’s been unbreakable. The relationship has helped the totalitarian kingdom maintain a powerful grip on the Middle East, east Asia and parts of Africa, with weapons and financial assistance as a bonus. During former President Barack Obama’s time in office alone, Saudi Arabia was offered $115 billion worth of weapons in 42 separate deals, a figure that tops any other in the history of U.S.-Saudi relations.

But mainstream media outlets like the New York Times rarely comment on the country’s brazen disdain for human rights. These corporate apologists for the kingdom write prolifically about reform being on the horizon, rarely or outright refusing to mention horrific crimes committed by the Saudi state against women and religious minorities, as well as people accused of misdeeds as preposterous as sorcery.

But it isn’t just pundits who are waxing poetic about Saudi Arabia. In a posthumous speech that can only be described as fantastical, Obama praised the late Saudi King Abdullah for having taken “bold steps in advancing the Arab Peace Initiative…an enduring contribution to the search for peace in the region.

Barack went on to say that “at home, King Abdullah’s vision was dedicated to the education of his people and to greater engagement with the world.” This is the same king who oversaw the execution of nearly 600 people between 2007 and 2014 by way of public beheadings.

Saudi Arabia not only enjoys lavish military aid courtesy of the U.S. government but has also landed a seat on the U.N.’s Women’s Rights Commission by secret ballot. While the U.S. may market itself as a force for good in the world, it still continues to arm and finance a monarchy that regularly unleashes horror on countless people.

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