Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Saudi Arabian Threats

Last month, Saudi Arabia won a seat on the governing body of the International Labor Organization (ILO) at the annual conference in Geneva. It will now be involved in setting the ILO policies, budget and program activities, and its presence could silence ILO critics who have called out Gulf states for widespread migrant worker abuses.
The Saudi kingdom, which just won a third term on the UN Human Rights Council, has also been elected to the United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women -- a peculiar step, given the kingdom's less than egalitarian stance on rights and social privileges for women.
 Numerous entities have benefited from Gulf state donations, including the Middle East Policy Council, the Middle East Institute and the Smithsonian Freer Museum of Art, just to name a small handful.
Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump blasted Hillary Clinton for taking money from Saudi Arabia, which, as he regularly noted, has a horrific human rights record. However, as president, Trump visited Saudi Arabia, meeting all Gulf rulers during his first formal state visit. Effusively praising his hosts, Trump negotiated a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. The deal does not include any contingencies or conditions seeking to take human rights guarantees into consideration. Rather, the deal is essentially a carte blanche gift to a nation with one of the worst records in atrocities that violate the sanctity of human rights.