Just a little over a year ago Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election. It was historic from many standpoints. A perceived outsider defied nearly every poll and won against one of the most politically savvy campaigns and candidates in modern history. Not only did Trump win the electoral college, but he did so by winning traditionally blue states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. The so-called “blue wall” was broken. The Trump campaign did this by calling out Clinton for her clear contradictions on some of the hottest issues in contemporary America – feminism and Islamic extremism.
The belief that Hillary was “pro-women” was crucified by the fact that she and her husband routinely assaulted (Bill) and intimidated (Hillary) women over the past few decades. The move to invite Bill Clinton’s accusers to not only a press conference, but also a debate, was incredibly powerful and allowed Trump to push Hillary off her phony feminist pedestal.
Another issue repeatedly brought up not just by Donald Trump, but by his many surrogates on television and radio, was that the Clinton Foundation had taken large donations from Saudi Arabia, a country renowned for its brutal treatment of women, homosexuals, and religious minorities. How in the world could Clinton claim to be pro-women, pro-gay, and pro-religious tolerance, while at the same time taking money from Saudis? This was another sharp attack to her consistency, character, and backbone.
Today, however, it seems Saudi Arabia is back to being America’s “ally”, and it is seen as a good thing. If Saudis donating to the Clinton Foundation was a sign of corruption, why is Saudi Arabia buying billions of dollars worth of arms not also met with outrage?
Let’s go back to the 2016 election cycle and reexamine why Saudi Arabia donating to the Clinton Foundation was bad.
Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Record
As many know, Saudi Arabia has one of the worst records when it comes to human rights. Amnesty International reported that,
“Women continued to be required by law to obtain the permission of a male guardian before getting married, travelling, undertaking paid employment or enrolling in higher education. Saudi Arabian women with foreign spouses, unlike their male counterparts, could not pass on their nationality to their children. Women continued to be prohibited from driving, although the “Women2Drive” campaign by local activists challenged the ban. Discriminatory rules relating to marriage and divorce appeared to cause some women to remain trapped in violent and abusive relationships.”
“The courts continued to impose sentences of flogging as a principal or additional punishment for many offences. At least five defendants were sentenced to flogging of 1,000 to 2,500 lashes. Flogging was carried out in prisons.”
“The courts continued to impose death sentences for a range of drugs and other offences. Several hundred prisoners were believed to be on death row; some for many years. At least 79 prisoners were executed, mostly in public. They included at least 52 Saudi Arabians and at least 27 foreign nationals, including at least one woman. Some prisoners were executed for non-violent offenses.”
If Hillary Clinton supported LGBT rights, how in the world could she not do more to protect their rights abroad, especially during her tenure as Secretary of State. In 2014, for instance, a gay man was sentence to three years and 450 lashes just for being gay. Regardless of how a person may feel about same sex marriage, Hobby Lobby, or bakeries, I’d hope that we can all agree that a person should not be imprisoned and tortured just for being a homosexual, yet this is common in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia and Terrorism
One of the worst incidents on Clinton’s record was her response to the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, which claimed the lives of four Americans – U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, along with USFS Officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. For weeks following the attack, Clinton and her team played fast and loose with the facts surrounding the Benghazi story. It was one of the worst foreign policy blunders in recent memory.
Of course, the attack came as no surprise, as it went hand-in-hand with the “Arab Spring” movement, championed by Barack Obama and Clinton herself. This movement, as we all know, eventually gave rise to ISIS. Trump even claimed that Obama “founded ISIS” along with co-founder “crooked Hillary Clinton”.
It didn’t stop there though. Wikileaks released the emails of John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign manager and close confidant. In one email, Clinton admitted to knowing that US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar were supplying funding to ISIS.
“While this military/para-military operation is moving >> forward, we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence >> assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, >> which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and >> other radical Sunni groups in the region.”
It wasn’t the first time Saudi Arabia had been linked to terrorism. Remember this?
Hijackers by Airplane:
American Airlines Flight 11
Mohamed Atta – Egypt, tactical leader of 9/11 plot and pilot
Abdul Aziz al Omari – Saudi Arabia
Wail al Shehri – Saudi Arabia
Waleed al Shehri – Saudi Arabia
Satam al Suqami – Saudi Arabia
United Airlines Flight 175
Fayez Banihammad – United Arab Emirates
Ahmed al Ghamdi – Saudi Arabia
Hamza al Ghamdi – Saudi Arabia
Marwan al Shehhi – United Arab Emirates, pilot
Mohand al Shehri – Saudi Arabia
American Airlines Flight 77
Hani Hanjour – Saudi Arabia, pilot
Nawaf al Hazmi – Saudi Arabia
Salem al Hazmi – Saudi Arabia
Khalid al Mihdhar – Saudi Arabia
Majed Moqed – Saudi Arabia
United Airlines Flight 93
Saeed al Ghamdi – Saudi Arabia
Ahmad al Haznawi – Saudi Arabia
Ziad Jarrah – Lebanon, pilot
Ahmed al Nami – Saudi Arabia
(Don’t forget Osama bin Laden – another Saudi himself.)
“Saudi Arabia—not Iran—is the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world today and Wahhabism remains the source of most radical Islamic extremism. For years Iran has borne the unenviable title of “world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism.” However, out of the 61 groups that are designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S. State Department, the overwhelming majority are Wahhabi-inspired and Saudi-funded groups, with a focus on the West and Iran as their primary enemy.”
If Hillary Clinton was accepting donations from people with strong links to not just terrorism in the middle east, but also terrorism seen on America’s home front, it was a huge red flag! Where were Clinton’s loyalties? Obviously NOT to women, NOT to the LGBT community, and NOT to American national security.
How Quickly Things Change
Of course, despite Saudi Arabia’s treatment of its own people, and its numerous links to terrorist groups, most of that has been swept under the rug unless it can be used as ammo against a political opponent. During the 2016 campaigns, any ties to Saudi Arabia were used as missiles to hurl at “Crooked Hillary”, but all was forgiven and forgotten as soon as the politics changed.
Once in office, Donald Trump signed the largest arms deal in history with Saudi Arabia. The Week reported in May,
“The immediate sale is worth $110 billion and includes “Abrams tanks, combat ships, missile defense systems, radar, and communications and cyber security technology,” officials familiar with the package told The Associated Press Friday. “When completed, it will be the largest single arms deal in American history,” said Vice Admiral Joe Rixey, chief of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency.”
I thought doing business with Saudi Arabia was bad! Now, we’re selling them hundreds of billions of dollars worth of tanks and ships? Don’t worry – it gets worse! According to Bloomberg,
The Trump administration is encouraging Saudi Arabia to consider bids by Westinghouse Electric Co. and other U.S. companies to build nuclear reactors in that country and may allow the enrichment of uranium as part of that deal, according to three people familiar with the plans.
Bloody hell! Not one of the 9/11 attackers was Iranian, but we’re constantly hearing about the negative consequences of Iranian nuclear development. The vast majority of the attackers were from Saudi Arabia, and we’re encouraging them to get more into the nuclear sphere. What’s going on here?
It Continues Today…
Saudi Arabia was recently conducting a massive blockade of food and goods to be shipped into Yemen. The United Nations had warned that as many as 8 million people were facing famine due to these actions. Everyday 130 children die from starvation in Yemen. This continued with what could have been considered at worst American support, or at best American indifference. In early December, Donald Trump thankfully asked for Saudi Arabia to end their blockade, which they have partially and temporarily complied with. How long it will be before that blockade is reinstated is anyone’s guess.
Radical ultraconservative forms of Islam continue to be pushed both inside and outside of the Saudi kingdom by their government. The majority of terrorist groups hold greater allegiance to Saudi Arabia than Iran or other middle east governments. Arms are still passed from Saudis to groups that carryout terrorist attacks around the world. Hell, the pilot training for the 9/11 attackers was paid for by the Saudi embassy. This is a huge problem. We addressed it briefly during the 2016 election cycle, and we shouldn’t forget about it.
Here we are today with another president being “honored” by King Salman of Saudi Arabia – our “best friend” (other than Israel, of course) in the middle east. If we were outraged by Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation accepting millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia, we should be equally as outraged when “our guy” does the same thing. Right and wrong don’t change based on a political party. If it was wrong for Hillary last year, it is wrong for Donald Trump and Republicans today. Stand up for women. Stand up for our LGBT friends. Stand up for human rights. Stand against Saudi Arabia!
Tim Preuss is the host of the Tim Preuss Podcast, available Monday-Friday on iTunes, the Liberty Radio Network, Talk America Radio, and everywhere else. More of his work is available at PreussPodcast.com.