Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States
Goal: Ensure weapon sales to Saudi Arabia are not reauthorized by the Trump Administration.
In 2016, the Obama administration abandoned a weapons sale worth $1.15 billion over reports that Saudi Arabia had committed numerous war crimes in Yemen. The United Nations confirmed at least eight attacks which resulted in significant civilian casualties, including an airstrike on a funeral procession which killed over 100 and left 500 wounded. Even with mounting evidence of these atrocities, the Trump administration has signaled that it will reauthorize the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia.
A primary reason for continued sale of arms to Saudi Arabia has been the country’s role as partner in battling ISIS. However, there exists several uncomfortable commonalities between our closest ally in the Middle East and the most reviled terrorist organization in the world. First is the strict application of Sharia Law, which includes public executions for even suspected adultery, homosexuality and slander. Second is the authoritarian control over all aspects of society — in Saudi Arabia, this takes the form of no freedom of press, speech, due process or demonstration. As reported by Human Rights Watch, individuals who speak against the state are swiftly jailed under vague terms such as “infringing on the public order.” Finally, a senior Saudi official recently admitted that Saudi Arabia has financially supported extremist organizations; while this admission did not include ISIS directly, it does insert doubt regarding the ultimate destination for any weapon shipments from the United States.
The collapse of oil prices paired with rising domestic energy production has provided leverage to the United States in its partnership with Saudi Arabia. As austerity measures are implemented, stripping away heavy government subsidies on rent, fuel and utility costs from a populace accustomed to a high standard of living at low cost, there will be increasing pressure on the monarchy in Saudi Arabia to look beyond oil for economic opportunity. The United States could offer additional assistance with strict terms that any agreements would require commitments to uphold civil, human and social rights with oversight from the United Nations. However, no additional shipments of weapons should be authorized until that promise is contained in a binding agreement. Please sign the below petition demanding President Trump not reverse the Obama blockade of arm sales to Saudi Arabia.
Dear President Trump,
I am writing to demand that you not resume weapon sales to Saudi Arabia in support of its war in Yemen. The United Nations has confirmed numerous attacks on civilians by the Saudi military, including an air strike which killed over 100 and left 500 wounded.
Saudi Arabia deprives its own citizens of basic rights including free speech, press and due process. In fact, you yourself would have been subject to execution for adultery under Saudi law. Please do not send support to this authoritarian regime.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Almigdad Mojalli