Medea Benjamin is one of America’s best-known activists. She is the author of Drone Warfare, and the new book, Kingdom of the Unjust. The co-founder of Code Pink and Global Exchange courageously explores the curious relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, a country long infamous for brutally repressing women and dissidents, supporting terrorists worldwide, and promoting Wahhabism, the most extreme interpretation of Islam.
Assuming you live in the United States, you should be aware of how much effort your government puts into facilitating and defending the crimes of Saudi Arabia. The Saud royal family keeps millions desperately poor. They send religion police around to beat the hell out of people, while they themselves party all over the globe with alcohol, cocaine, prostitutes, and gambling. Most religions are banned; you can be imprisoned, tortured, mutilated, or beheaded simply for being a follower of another religion.
With U.S. support, Saudi Arabia manages to be both the only nation that bans all churches and any non-Muslim religious building, and the leading proponent of global terrorism. In fact, Saudi Arabia spends three times as much per person as the U.S. does on its military, and it spends the biggest chunk of it buying weapons from U.S. profiteers. As the U.S. State Department is well aware, there are no civil liberties in Saudi Arabia. People are jailed, whipped, and killed for speaking out. Saudi Arabia didn’t ban slavery until 1962 and maintains a labor system referred to as “a culture of slavery.” Saudi schools have helped to create branches of Al Qaeda and other extremist groups across Western Asia and Northern Africa at least since the joint U.S.-Saudi operation in Afghanistan that created the Taliban, not to mention the Saudi role in Iran-Contra, in Boko Haram in Nigeria, in Yemen, in Syria and in Europe. — Excerpted from Counterpoint