End the United States's alliance with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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In Yemen, a child dies every 10 minutes. That's 130 every day, and 50,000 every year. Saudi Arabia and Iran are fighting a proxy war through Yemen, and Saudi Arabia is bombing and blockading the country. Since 90% of all the country's food is imported, there is a lot less food, and 60% of the country is food insecure. This is causing rampant malnutrition throughout Yemen. To make matters worse, the worst cholera outbreak in modern history recently began in Yemen. Aid groups have a lot of trouble helping the people there because of the blockade. The United states is providing weapons and money for Saudi Arabia. The United States must end this now.
Saudi Arabia is also accused of many human rights crimes. They are limiting freedoms of expression and assembly, Woman's rights, and are using the death penalty recklessly. Women only recently gained the right to drive. In Saudi Arabia, you can be killed for sorcery, adultery and being an atheist.
Human lives are in our hands. We must end the United States's support of Saudi Arabia before it's to late. Thank you.
Nadhiri*, an 18 month old child in Yemen, is on the verge of death from starvation and malnutrition. Her mother, Shaika, saved up income for many days so that she could take her sick child to the medical center in a nearby city. Unfortunately, her condition worsened after her family ran out of money to pay for her medicine. However, Nadhiri’s isn’t a rare case. It is estimated that over 50,000 kids will die by the end of the year in Yemen from malnutrition. If Illinois was twice its current size, its population would be roughly the same as Yemen’s, and at that size, about 150 kids would die yearly. Sadly, the daily rate of child death in Yemen is 130. Saudi Arabia and Iran are fighting a proxy war through Yemen, which is causing the hunger and malnutrition. Some may think this is out of our control. However, the United States is providing weapons and giving money to Saudi Arabia. I aim to end our alliance with Saudi Arabia.
I believe this for multiple reasons. One of them is that Saudi Arabia is bombing and blockading Yemen. This is a problem, because roughly 90% of Yemen’s food is imported. To make matters worse, when citizens go out fishing to try to provide food for themselves and their communities, Saudi warships are shooting and bombing them. The army claims that they are only shooting down boats that are smuggling weapons, but that is simply untrue. The UN has proclaimed the crisis in Yemen as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. The war in Yemen is a major reason why the US should end its relationship with Saudi Arabia because if we stopped giving them weapons and money, it would be much harder for the civil war in Yemen to continue. In my opinion, this reason alone is enough to end the relationship, but there are other strong reasons to stop it.
One of these reasons is human rights. Saudi Arabia has been accused of many serious human rights crimes. According to the New York Times, “In November, the Saudi government locked up hundreds of influential businessmen…”. That same article later stated that the businessmen had face abuse during their captivity, one even died with a “neck that appeared twisted, a badly swollen body and other signs of abuse…”, and 17 were hospitalized for major physical abuse signs. They claimed the reason for the arrests was to eliminate corruption. According to the Amnesty International 2017/18 report, “The authorities severely restricted freedoms of expression, association and assembly.” This means that Saudi Arabia is restricting basic human rights. The report also said on the matter, “The authorities continued to repress peaceful activists and dissidents, harassing writers, online commentators and others who exercised their right to freedom of expression by expressing views against government policies.” These are serious human rights crimes. The Human Rights Watch 2018 world report stated, “Women in Saudi Arabia face formal and informal barriers when attempting to make decisions or take action without the presence or consent of a male relative.” Only recently did Saudi women gain the right to drive. Do we really want to be affiliated with a country like Saudi Arabia? The money we give them helps them stay in a state of power in the Middle East. Do we want to be aiding a country that is destroying the welfare of their citizens? I hope not.
One argument for the relationship is that we get a portion of our oil from Saudi Arabia. 11% of all our oil comes from Saudi Arabia, and that should not be ignored. However, there are plenty of countries that we could invest in for oil. We may have a little bit less oil, but is that such a huge issue? There is only a very limited amount of oil in this world. We should be slowly lowering our oil use so that our economy does not collapse when we very soon lose our remaining oil. I see this as a golden opportunity to start that withdrawal.
Another argument for continuing the alliance is that it provides a major ally in that region. This is true. But do we really want that ally to be Saudi Arabia? If countries in the region associate the United States with such blatant abuse of power, do you think that that can really benefit us in the long-term? The United states is very centered on our opportunity and democracy, and I can imagine that we do not wish to be associated with a kingdom that is behaving in an extremely irresponsible and deadly fashion. The United States supported the Shah in Iran because it provided an important ally in the Middle East, even though we knew that he was mistreating his people. That ended in the overthrowing of the Shah and 52 Americans being held hostage. We do not want to go down that path again.
Furthermore, the U.S. Department of State said, “[The alliance] also expand[s] opportunities for American companies in the region, potentially supporting tens of thousands of new jobs in the United States.” This is a legitimate argument, but one must ask where our priorities lie. Are we willing to have the benefit of 10,000 new jobs here at the price of the slaughter of another people? I believe that we should not profit off of this. Are we going to kill 50,000 kids each year in Yemen, rob them of the rest of their lives, to get 10,000 jobs here?
Another strong reason to end the relationship is their application of the death penalty. The Amnesty International 2017/18 report explains that the court imposes the death penalty on a range of crimes that “under international standards should not be criminalized, such as sorcery and adultery.” In Saudi Arabia, you can be sentenced to death for being an atheist. I don’t believe that we should be aiding a country that is killing people on these bases.
In brief, it is clear that Saudi Arabia should no longer receive our money and military equipment. Their government is too dangerous to their people and the people around them to be empowered by our country. If Saudi Arabia no longer receives our aid, it will lead to a major diminishment in the loss of life in Yemen and the oppression of the people of Saudi Arabia. The stifling of freedom of expression, the limiting of women's rights and the horrifying treatment of the people of Yemen are just a few reasons to cease our support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, there is no argument for supporting this relationship that stands up, and the reasons against it are far greater than those for. Imagine the horrors that the children in Yemen are witnessing. There are 130 unnecessary grieving mothers every day. Do we truly want to be at fault for these atrocities? I hope our country can rise above our greed for oil and power, and see the human aspect of this issue. These are human lives. This is not something we can take lightly, and it is not something we can ignore for our own benefit.
* Note: the child pictured above is not Nadhiri.
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