While all of these are important steps, they are long overdue, and much more can be done — like blocking arms sales to the Saudis — to hold the Kingdom accountable for its crimes. As the Saudi activists who remain behind bars can attest, the Saudi monarchy, particularly under the tyrannical rule of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is not an “indispensable” U.S. partner.
When innocents are killed by American bombs dropped from American-made planes that are kept in the air by American contractors, Yemeni civilians understandably associate the U.S with the carnage being imposed on them from above.
The new government in Israel has not yet indicated what, if anything, it will do differently when it comes to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, but it has announced a fundamental shift when it comes to another contentious foreign policy issue that could ultimately influence Palestinian relations: its approach to influence in the U.S.
Fahad Nazer, the spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s embassy in the U.S., was in the hot seat. After providing background on U.S.-Saudi ties during a Zoom panel last Friday, Nazer faced an uncomfortable question from the moderator: would the murder of Jamal Khashoggi damage bilateral relations?
If President Sisi’s administration continues its slide toward autocracy, the Biden administration should send a clear message that security assistance is not unconditional.
At a time when Biden has called for an American renewal, ending arms transfers to repressive regimes would be a welcome first step in ensuring that the U.S. role in the world reflects the values and commitments it seeks to promote at home.