Is Saudi Arabia a threat to US Mideast policy?

Is Saudi Arabia a threat to US Mideast policy?

  • Saudi Arabia has a deplorable record when it comes to human rights
  • US foreign policy is seen by the rest of the world as a double standard due to their close alliance with the Saudi Kingdom
  • The US must distance itself from the Saudi Kingdom to better promote their democratic ideals

US foreign policy prides itself on promoting democratic principles and basic human rights. These ideals have been a central theme in every US administration, but alliances with certain countries undermine the authenticity of that message.

The US alliance with Saudi Arabia is a prime example on why many believe there is a double standard in American foreign policy. Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records. The kingdom exports their radical wahhabi ideology throughout the Middle East that contributes to radical opinions against the United States. The Al-Saud family hides behind a cultural argument that continues to put a stain on the credibility of US foreign policy.


Freedom of speech, religion, expression, and assembly are protected freedoms in the US constitution. Americans believe in these ideals, and presidents throughout American history have tried to export these freedoms to the rest of the world. Saudi Arabia’s kingdom oppresses all of these valuable freedoms.

The kingdom does not allow the establishment of churches on its soil, because all forms of religion are banned except those permitted by the kingdom.

Saudi Freedom Index

Saudi Arabia Freedom Index  from

Charges of apostasy, speaking against the kingdom, or the Al-Saud family are all punishable by death. Saudi Arabia has imprisoned an eighteen year-old blogger with a sentence of 1,000 lashes in public and 10 years in jail. His charge was insulting Islam through social media.

Riyadh uses medieval tactics by beheading individuals, putting women to death if convicted of adultery, and performs mass executions on individuals who threaten their rule. The kingdom receives one of the lowest scores on the Freedom House Index. In 2015, Saudi Arabia beheaded 151 people, which was an all-time high in 20 years.

READ: Saudi Arabia’s 2015 beheadings the most in 20 years


Saudi Arabia has been successful in exporting a radical Sunni ideology throughout the Middle East. The Al-Saud family has funneled millions of dollars into their madrasas, and their funding has fueled rage and hatred against western ideals. These madrasas purport certain ideologies that are in direct conflict with the United States ideology.

Saudi Arabia does not believe in the equality of gender, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press. They believe that these freedoms build a lifestyle that goes against their twisted medieval ideology of Islam.  They are brutal on their crackdown on those who want to challenge their laws and beliefs.

Women are challenging these ideals by driving cars, and there has been a movement by the youth to challenge the kingdom’s backdated laws.

The United States seems to be holding a double standard, and portrays the image that economic interests are of greater value than human rights.


For decades now, Saudi Arabia has hid behind the argument that their laws contain a cultural aspect that should not be meddled by any outside power. This argument should be seen as illegitimate, and the United States should not tolerate this behavior.

Both the United States and Saudi Arabia are part of the United Nations. The UN specifically sets certain universal human rights laws that should be observed and implemented in all countries. The fact that the United States stays silent on Saudi Arabia’s blatant human rights violations shows that the US will look the other way when there is an economic interest.

This close partnership between the two nations might be seen as beneficial in economic terms, but has been costly in terms of national security. The Al-Saud family has been free to project their radical Islamist ideology throughout the Middle East and has caused more sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shias.

Saudi Arabia’s laws and Islamist ideology have been replicated by some of the worst terror organizations, such as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. The United States needs to review its partnership with Riyadh and realize that this desert kingdom provides a threat to national security rather than an alliance against terror.

About the author

George Doctorian graduated Magna Cum laude from Cal Poly Pomona in 2014 and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in American History. His area of concentration is Middle Eastern Relations and public administration. He is currently an administrative assistant at Orange County Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO). He plans to continue his education at Cal Poly Pomona to obtain his master’s degree in public administration.