Case of the Crown Prince

On December 13, the US Senate voted on two resolutions that were viewed as a rebuke to not only the Trump Administration, but also the country of Saudi Arabia and its Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Both resolutions passed the Senate.

One resolution was to end US military assistance in the Saudi-led coalition during the war in Yemen. The second resolution blamed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Both of these actions were notable due to the US’s strong relationship with Saudi Arabia. The military support resolution was the first time that either chamber of Congress supported a resolution to pull back US forces from a military engagement under the War Powers Act. The War Powers Act was a law that passed in 1973, that limits the president’s power to commit US forces to potential hostilities without congressional approval.

Vendetta:

These actions by the Senate raise one big question, which is where we find the vendetta for this topic. Would it be wise for the US and its foreign policy to continue to maintain an alliance with Saudi Arabia, after the Senate passed these resolutions? That is the big question moving forward for congressional lawmakers and Trump Administration officials. One of the main reasons that the Senate passed these resolutions was due to Saudi Arabia’s handling of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Some lawmakers have spoken out against Saudi Arabia’s recent actions, particularly in regards to the murder of Khashoggi. One reason the US-Saudi Arabia relationship is vital is that, as of right now, the Saudis are using U.S made weapons in Yemen in their fight against the Houthi rebels located in the region. Another reason why this relationship has been sustained concerns the United States dependence on the Saudis oil reserves as export to strengthen the US economy.

The US was put in a tough position in its relationship with Saudi Arabia when it was revealed that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman likely ordered and monitored the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi regime, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey, on October 2. President Trump has stated that he supports the Crown Prince, which is quite a contrast to some US lawmakers who are certain that the Saudi Crown Prince ordered to carry out this action after lawmakers were briefed by the CIA.

Here are some pros and cons for the US to continue maintaining a relationship with Saudi Arabia, despite these recent resolutions that were passed in the Senate.

Pros:

  • Continue to maintain the relationship, based on the economic need of both countries.
  • Show the international community that there’s economic stability between these two countries.

Cons:

  • Could be bad optics for the US to continue having an alliance with Saudi Arabia, in the aftermath of the Khashoggi murder.
  • This could set a dangerous precedent if another US ally allegedly does a heinous crime, and then the US will still stick by them if that was the case.
  • This could be seen by the international community as a presidential administration who’s more lenient on Saudi Arabia’s actions in the Khashoggi case, than its own lawmakers, who’ve have had some tough rhetoric directed at Saudi Arabia.

Resolution:

I believe that the US needs to wean itself off its dependence on Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves, in light of recent events.

The US also needs to enact a set of consequences on Saudi Arabia, for how it has handled the Jamal Khashoggi murder. It certainly doesn’t look good for the US to stand by Saudi Arabia, after CIA evidence shows that the Crown Prince was behind the murder. That view was also reinforced again by members of Congress, who attended a classified CIA briefing about the murder.

It’s not a good look for the US, who stands as a vital part of the international community, to continue supporting Saudi Arabia after the revelations which have gathered over the last several months. I support what the US Senate did in order to send a message to Saudi Arabia that their handling of the Khashoggi case will not be tolerated, and that their actions in this situation will have consequences. Hopefully, the House of Representatives will follow the Senate’s lead on this, which may or may not happen. What Prince Mohammad bin Salman did is inexcusable, and his government should be punished for what their heinous actions. I admire those in the international community who condemned the Saudi Crown government, for their alleged action in the Khashoggi murder.

 

Take Action:

  • The Committee to Protect Journalists: The Committee to Protect Journalists is a nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom around the world. They defend the rights of journalists to report the news without fear of retaliation. Donate here to support that mission: https://donate.cpj.org/page/28608/donate/1

 

References:

 

  1. Zengerle, Patricia. (2018, December 13). U.S. Senate hands Trump historic rebuke on Saudi Arabia. Reuters. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-saudi-yemen/us-senate-hands-trump-historic-rebuke-on-saudi-arabia-idUSKBN1OC2S3
  2. Foran, Clare. Barrett, Ted. Raju, Manu. (2018, December 13).  Senate rebukes Trump, condemns Saudi crown prince for Khashoggi murder. CNN. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/13/politics/corker-saudi-crown-prince-khashoggi/index.html
  3. Roberts, William. (2018, December 14). Defying Trump, US Senate votes to end US support for Yemen war. Aljazeera. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/12/defying-trump-senate-approves-yemen-resolution-181213201629972.html
  4. Elmenshawy, Mohamed. (2018, November 1). How Trump is damaging historical relations with Saudi Arabia. Aljazeera. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/trump-damaging-historic-relations-saudi-arabia-181101141143803.html
  5. Borger, Julian. (2018, December 4). US senators: we’re certain Saudi crown prince ordered Khashoggi’s murder. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/04/jamal-khashoggi-saudi-crown-prince-senators-cia-briefing
  6. Aljazeera. (2018, October 20). World reacts to Saudi confirmation of Jamal Khashoggi’s killing. Aljazeera. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/10/world-reacts-saudi-confirmation-jamal-khashoggi-killing-181020001510254.html

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Hashim Arain graduated with a B.A. in Political Science, from Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois. He’s a “political junkie,” who follows legislative and executive level policies and news, as well as their respective election cycles. Internationally, he is passionate about US-Middle Eastern policies and seeks to publish his work on that. Above all, he strongly values accountability, integrity, and objectivity in our system.

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