Moral Low Ground


Oil-Rich Dictators Enjoy Obama’s Support

They execute people who reject Islam in Saudi Arabia, Mr. President.

They execute people who reject Islam in Saudi Arabia, Mr. President.

On the delicate matter of United States support for brutal dictatorships, the following statement attributed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was reportedly referring to the ruthless Nicaraguan tyrant Anastasio Somoza, speaks volumes. “Somoza may be a son of a bitch,” Roosevelt allegedly said in 1939, “but he’s our son of a bitch.”

The inconvenient truth is that the United States has always thrown its support behind brutal dictatorships when they suit Washington’s or Wall Street’s needs. Some of the most monstrous dictators of the 20th century, from Franco in Spain to Saddam Hussein, from the Indonesian generals who slaughtered millions of their own people to tacit support for the genocidal Cambodian leader Pol Pot, every American president, including Jimmy Carter, the so-called “human rights president,” has allied himself with human rights violators.

That sad and hypocritical tradition continues to this very day under President Barack Obama, who is currently visiting Saudi Arabia to shore up support of one of the world’s worst human rights violators. These days, access to oil is the main reason Washington backs most unsavory dictators. Here are the three worst oil-rich dictatorships that enjoy America’s favor:

Bahrain: Despite the al-Khalifa monarchy’s deadly crackdown on pro-democracy Arab Spring demonstrators, the Obama administration keeps selling weapons to the tiny nation that hosts the US Fifth Fleet. Bahraini security forces arrested, tortured and murdered protesters struggling for the very freedom that Obama claims to champion, even while he sells Bahrain the weapons it needs to crush the uprising.

The Bahraini crackdown was almost too horrific to describe. State security forces threatened to rape young schoolgirls. More than threats befell doctors and other medical professionals who dared to treat wounded demonstrators– the doctors, including women, were tortured with electric shocks, severely beaten and even allegedly made to eat their own feces.

How did the Obama administration respond to this barbarism? By welcoming Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa to the White House, despite a presidential directive he signed banning human rights violators from entering the United States. And by selling his regime more weapons.

Equatorial Guinea: Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi had oil but defied Washington, and so he’s history. Equatorial Guinea’s abominable, corrupt Teodoro Obiang has oil and is friendly to Washington, so his regime gets the friendship and support of the United States. Never mind that the US State Department report on the tiny West African nation cites “torture of detainees by security forces, life-threatening conditions in prisons, and arbitrary arrests.” Never mind that Obiang “wins” farcical elections with as much as 95 percent of the vote.

America’s dependence upon foreign oil means that the US will, as secret diplomatic cables outed by Wikileaks revealed, “abandon a moral narrative” and do business with a detestable dictator who was nevertheless literally embraced by the Obamas at a swank New York reception.

Saudi Arabia: Again, oil is the reason why Washington continues to count a nation that produced nearly all of the 9/11 hijackers as its ally. Besides supporting Islamic terror, the Saudi regime continues to use arbitrary arrest and detention, as well as torture, against those who displease it. Public executions, usually by beheading, are the punishment for ‘crimes’ such as blasphemy, renouncing Islam, homosexuality and sorcery.

Saudi women live as second class citizens, prohibited from voting, traveling or being treated in hospitals without the permission of male relatives. They’re even banned from driving. In one particularly horrific incident, the dreaded Saudi morality police locked 15 schoolgirls in a burning building because they weren’t ‘properly’ dressed.

You can add natural-gas rich Uzbekistan, who abominable dictator Islam Karimov is fond of boiling his opponents alive, and Turkmenistan, home of one of the most repressive and corrupt regimes on earth, to this list of energy-rich dictatorships supported by the Obama administration.


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