America Should Be Severely Punishing Saudi Arabia

By: Rahem Hamid (Correspondent)

Jamal Khashoggi disappeared on the 2nd of October, 2018, and no one knows where he is to this day. The Saudi government has said that he did indeed die. However, their reports of how so are so confusing that it’s unclear what’s a lie and what’s more of a lie. At the heart of this all is Saudi Arabia’s young crown prince: Mohammad bin Salman, or MBS.

Mohammad bin Salman tries to brand himself as a radical reformer for Saudi Arabia, and, agreed, some of his reforms are valuable and should have happened years ago: giving women the right to drive, having movie theatres, and reverting to a more “moderate” version of Islam. But aside from this veil, MBS is a brutal and ruthless maniac. As Nicholas Kristof put it, he’s a mad prince. Furthermore, he’s a merciless killer.

The blood of tens of thousands Yemenis is on his hands and only the halting of the Saudi bombardment of Yemen and aiding them in reconstruction will begin the process of rinsing them clean, even though the stains will remain forever. He has mercilessly attacked innocent civilians. Men, women, and children. Dead at the hands of a 33-year-old super-rich Saudi prince.

Now is the time for the United States to step up. Experts have said repeatedly that MBS will destabilize the volatile Middle East further. We need to sanction Saudi Arabia, and most importantly halt all arms sales to the Kingdom. Let it be known that it is OUR arms which are being used to kill civilians. The blood may be on MBS’ hands, but it is on ours as well. Every Western nation which supports Saudi Arabia’s bombardment must immediately cease doing so.

Political cartoonist Matt Wuerker summed it up perfectly in a cartoon from this month: In the backdrop, planes marked with the Saudi flag are dropping bombs in the distance, and the bombs are labelled ‘Made in the USA’, while Uncle Sam sits on a bomb about to be loaded into a plane, exclaiming ‘A Bone Saw? My God!’, looking aghast. The message is clear: We cannot cry foul over one incident and not over another, when the perpetrators are the same country (in this case, Saudi Arabia).

Yemen has been declared the world’s worst humanitarian case. And when we are even PARTIALLY responsible, we should be ashamed of our role. There should not be bombs dropping over Yemen, much less American bombs. Do we want future generations to look back at us and wonder why we did nothing? For the sake of dignity, I plead for this war to stop, and for the US and the free world to hold the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia accountable.

It is abominable that Jamal Khashoggi, an American resident for those unaware, has been killed. He was a man who spoke truth to power in a time where those who did were punished. Khashoggi was an American permanent resident. The Saudis killed him, and we should be ashamed of ourselves. First, we let a foreign nation kill one of our residents. Secondly, we are not standing up for him. For all the American permanent residents, hold Saudi Arabia accountable. Jamal Khashoggi walked into their lands. He did not walk out. Something has to be done. Not only for justice, but to show that America cares about every person who lives here as a permanent resident. That we stand for those who choose to make our great country our home. And that if someone kills them because of what they say, we will take severe action.

Sharon students have not minced their words on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Sophomore Daniel Wachman says that “silencing the voice of a journalist is a truly heinous crime against free speech…I think Saudi Arabia must be punished in some way [to] show the crown prince [MBS] America does not take free speech for granted.”

I am opposed to sanctions. Sanctions have a history of failure- they end up hurting the innocent and poor, not the people intended. Sanctioning the government of Saudi Arabia will result in the inability for things like medicines to reach their hospitals. The super-rich royal family will fly their ill out to hospitals in the UK or US, while their poor toil away, unable to receive crucial healthcare. Sanctions will not work. There needs to be an impartial investigation into this egregious act and, if it is found that MBS had a role, he should be tried and punished. Additionally, MBS needs to be replaced regardless of the result of the investigation. The death and starvation of thousands of Yemeni civilians is more than disqualifying- he should be replaced. King Salman, MBS’s father, has eight surviving brothers and a surviving sister- in Saudi Arabia’s brother-to-brother succession, one of these should be the crown prince and not MBS. Additionally, King Salman has to wrest away the power he relinquished to his son. Even though Salman is King, MBS has the majority of the power. This is a problem.

Yemen should have been the last straw. Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance absolutely has to be. The bombs may be falling from Saudi planes. But we are complicit in the death of innocent civilians in a land more than 6,000 miles from Sharon. For the sake of humanity, justice, and all our American ideals: Stop this war. Hold Saudi Arabia accountable.

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