Joel Mowbray, in yesterday’s Opinion Journal, demonstrates how the State Department coddles Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes in the world, the place with most of the 9/11 hijackers came from, which still funds extremist Islamic groups in the US. From programs that gave away visas like after-dinner mints to preventing the FBI from arresting suspects on terrorist watch lists to ignoring the country’s brutal persecution of any religion but Wahhabi Islam, State is suspiciously determined to let nothing get in the way of good relations with the House of Saud, not even national security.
Christians are not allowed to worship on Saudi soil—and Jews are not even allowed in the country. Even Shiites, the majority population in the oil-rich Eastern Province, are not free to practice their denomination of Islam. Not only does State not push to change this flagrant violation of religious liberty, it behaves like the House of Saud when asked to do so. In 1997, the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah banned the offering of Catholic Mass on the premises—Protestant services had already been relegated to the British Consulate—because of the Saudi government’s “displeasure.”
And why does State let this go on—regardless of which president is in office? Could it be that so many high-ranking former officials now get their paychecks courtesy of the House of Saud, either directly or indirectly? Cracking down on Saudi Arabia would be like cracking down on your pension plan.
A free and democratic Iraq, which has the second-largest oil reserves in the world, would be a huge counter-balance and friend in the region and would go a long way to giving us a reason to stop treating the Saudis like they’re our friends, which they’re not.