Saudi Arabia

Issue Details

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The U.S. has spent over $8 trillion on military forces in the Persian Gulf in the last four decades, supposedly protecting the Gulf from the then-Soviet Union and Iran. The effect has been to give backing to an absolute monarchy that opposes religious freedom, female equality and humane treatment of migrant workers–– the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The hereditary despots of Saudi Arabia are infamous for beheading and/or and floggings political dissidents. In January 2016 alone, the Saudi government beheaded 47 people, some of whom were guilty of such “crimes” as political activism. Between March 2015-2016, Saudi Arabia massacred over 6,000 people in a war of aggression against Yemen, and at least half of them were civilians. It’s time for the US to reevaluate the toxic relationship with Saudi Arabia!

Educate yourself and your community! Order CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin’s latest book, Kingdom of the Unjust, Behind the US-Saudi Connection, and invite her to your community to talk about this important issue! Email brienne.pa@gmail.com to book her now.

Below are more resources and ways you can get involved, and you can email brienne.pa@gmail.com if you have questions, comments, or ideas!


Yemen

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia led an international coalition (backed by the United States) to launch air strikes against the Houthi rebel group in Yemen, sparking a full-blown armed conflict.

The increase in violence exacerbated the existing issues that have blighted Yemen for years: poor governance, lack of rule of law, widespread poverty, and insufficient access to basic healthcare and water, among others.

Four out of five Yemenis today rely on humanitarian assistance for their survival. There is no access to essential services such as clean water and electricity, and food prices have soared creating a desperate situation for millions. Yet Saudi Arabia continues its brutal campaign against the poorest country in the Middle East.

CODEPINK calls for an end to the Saudi-led airstrike against Yemen!

  1. Tell your senators to stop ALL weapons sales to the Saudi regime

  2. Sign the petition: Stop the violence in Yemen
  3. Watch & share videos from Yemen! CODEPINK has launched a series of videos called Voices from Yemen. Share our videos on your Facebook page to help lift up the voices of Yemenis!

  4. #RememberYemen! Download this sign that says #RememberYemen in English and Arabic, take a photo or video of yourself with it, and post it on your social media accounts and tag CODEPINK! 

  5. Watch Video: Medea Benjamin crashes the US-Saudi investment forum

Confronting UBER!

Join us in telling UBER to not partner with Saudi Arabia in oppressing Saudi Women! Sign our petition here: http://www.codepink.org/uber


2016 Summit on Saudi Arabia: Understanding the Kingdom and its Global Role:


More Actions!


More Info

Proliferation of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia

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More than $21 billion in defense sales to Saudi Arabia include battleships, Blackhawk helicopters, machine guns and more than 1 million rounds of advanced ammunition.

1001 Letters to Congress

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Following his peaceful participation in protests during the Arab Spring, Ali Mohammed Al-Nimr was arrested on February 14, 2012, at age 16. On May 27, 2014, he was sentenced to death by beheading and crucifixion.

Dawood Hussain Al Marhoon was first arrested on May 2012, at age 17, for protesting the government, but was released on the same day. When he did not cooperate with officials who wanted him to spy on other activists, he was re-arrested on May 23 and later sentenced to death on October 27, 2014.

Abdullah Al-Zaher was arrested at age 15 in March of 2013, after being shot at by Saudi security forces. During apprehension, he was violently attacked until he fell to the ground bleeding. He was then forced to sign a paper without reading it or consulting with his family during his interrogation. Al-Zaher was sentenced to death by beheading and crucifixion in September 2015.

Mujtaba Al Suweikat was detained at the airport on his way to come to Western Michigan University to study at the Business School. He was tortured into confessing and sentenced to death.

It is unconscionable that – even in the face of such a universally abhorrent action as condemning juveniles to death – the United States government still refuses to impose legally mandated sanctions against the Saudi government for their persecution of religious minorities.

In order to get Congress to act, we have a call to action based on the famous Arabian Night's story of Sheherazade where she saved the lives of many by telling 1001 stories

We are hoping that if we mail congress and senate 1001 letters in the spirit of Sheherazade telling Congress and the Senate the story of these boys, it will inspire them to act to save the lives of these heroes who peacefully protested for democracy and stop further executions in Saudi Arabia.

Instructions:

  1. Download and print out a postcard
  2. Write your congressional representative’s address
  3. Mail it
  4. Take a photo and share it with CODEPINK

Stop the mid-air refueling of Saudi warplanes!

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Without US support, such as mid-air refueling of warplanes, Saudi Arabia cannot continue destroying the civilian population of Yemen. Representatives Khanna (CA), Jones (NC), Pocan (WI) and Lee (CA) have introduced a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prohibit the US refueling of Saudi warplanes that bomb civilians in Yemen. It will be voted on this week. Tell your member of Congress to support the Khanna-Jones amendment to the NDAA.

No Weapons Deal With Saudi Arabia

Resources on the U.S. $110 Billion Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

On May 20, Donald Trump announced the sale of $110 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia during his first stop on his first international trip as U.S. president (fact sheet and joint strategic vision). At this time it is difficult to determine what items and services would be new and which would be carryover from the Obama administration, as well as when sales would be notified to Congress for their review. Media analysis suggests that perhaps about $24 billion dates to the Obama era, with the provision of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system being the most identifiable new potential sale.

On May 21, Trump addressed the Arab Islamic American Summit where he touted the deal and said, "We are not here to lecture—we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship." That and other statements were widely interpreted as indicating that human rights would not be a factor in arms sales and other dealings with Saudi Arabia.

Precision Guided Munitions Sale Proposed - First Battle in Congress

On May 19, Congress was notified of the potential direct commercial sale of approximately $510 million in precision-guided munitions and related services, reversing a suspension that President Obama instituted in December 2016 due to concerns regarding civilian deaths caused by Saudi actions in Yemen. (Since 2015, the United States has supported a Saudi-led coalition aligned with ousted Yemeni president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi that has been fighting to capture territory in Yemen from the Houthi, who seized the capital Sanaa in 2014.)

On May 25, Senators Paul, Murphy and Franken introduced a resolution (S.J. Res 42) to block the sale. Six Representatives introduced (H.J. Res 102) the same resolution in the House. Many of these members of Congress were also involved in efforts to block a US-Saudi tank deal in 2016.

In related efforts, Senators Murphy, Paul, Durbin and Franken introduced S.J. Res 40 to suspend certain air-to-ground munition deliveries until the U.S. president certifies that the Saudis show commitment to fighting terrorism, facilitating the flow of humanitarian and commercial goods, and to protecting civilians in Yemen. Additional sponsors have since signed onto the resolution, which would apply to precision-guided munitions in this proposed sale. A similar resolution was introduced in the House on May 25 with 6 co-sponsors -- H.J. Res 104.

Congress can block the president from concluding an agreement if both chambers pass resolutions of disapproval within 30-days of notification of a proposed deal -- in this case that appears to be June 20. As of June 1, no date had yet been set for votes on S.J. Res 42 or H.J. Res 102, but the Senate at a minimum is expected to vote before the 30-day period ends. (Congress also can block a sale at any time up until delivery.)

On May 30, UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordination Stephen O'Brien addressed a special Security Council meeting on Yemen. In his testimony, O'Brien said Yemen now faces the world's largest food security crisis, "with more than 17 million people who are food insecure, 6.8 million of whom are one step away from famine." Alarmingly, a cholera outbreak has occurred, with 60,000 suspected cases since April and 150,000 new cases expected in the next six months. O'Brien predicted than an attack on Hodeida "will directly and irrevocably drive the Yemeni population further into starvation and famine." 

Now that Ramadan has begun, an invasion by Saudi-UAE led forces on the port of Hodeida appears less likely until after the holiday concludes in the last week of June. Numerous members of Congress and other leaders have expressed opposition to invasion of the port, through which the majority of humanitarian and commercial goods flow into Yemen despite damage to cranes and a de facto blockade.

Stop Trump’s $110B Saudi Weapons Sale!

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Trump just signed a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia despite the knowledge that these weapons will be used to exacerbate the already catastrophic situation in Yemen. Tell your Senator to co-sponsor the bill to stop the US weapons from reaching Saudi Arabia.

Tell Trump: Don't Escalate War in Yemen!

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Uber: Oppression of Saudi Women

Take Action!

Sign our Petition: Uber: Don't Partner with Saudi Arabia to Oppress Women!

What's the issue?

  • Saudi Arabia is the only country where women are prohibited from driving.
  • There is no official law, but government officials and religious leaders enforce a ban.
  • The ban prevents women from traveling freely, which inhibits their ability to attend school, maintain a job, and socialize.
  • The ban on driving stems from the male guardianship system: a structure which decrees women must have the permission of a male relative (father, husband, brother, or even a son) for any personal decisions such as obtaining medical care, attending school, pursuing a career, or traveling.

How is Uber involved?

  • Uber accepted a $3.5 million investment from Saudi Arabia
  • Uber placed Yasir Al Rumayyan- managing director of the Saudi government fund- on their Board of Directors.
  • The ride services company is profiting from the driving ban on women as their customer base is 80% female.
  • Saudi women are standing against the company because of its partnership with their oppressive government.
  • Watch Video
  • Social media hashtags: #IAmMyOwnGaurdian, #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen

Medea Benjamin’s Book on Saudi Arabia and Speaking Tour

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Buy the Book  |  Book Tour Schedule

The co-founder of CODEPINK has become famous for fearlessly tackling head-on subjects most of us studiously avoid. Sometimes, she does so in person—as during President Obama’s speech at the National Defense University, or during a reception for drone manufacturers and members of Congress, or in Cairo, where she was assaulted by police. Here, she’s researching the sinister nature of the relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. In seven succinct chapters followed by a meditation on prospects for change, Benjamin—cited by the L.A. Times as “one of the high-profile members of the peace movement”—shines a light on one of the most perplexing elements of American foreign policy. What is the origin of this strange alliance between two countries that seemingly have very little in common? Why does it persist, and what are its consequences? Why, over a period of decades and across various presidential administrations, has the United States consistently supported a regime shown time and again to be one of the most powerful forces working against American interests? Saudi Arabia is perhaps the single most important source of funds for terrorists worldwide, promoting an extreme interpretation of Islam along with anti-Western sentiment, while brutally repressing non-violent dissidents at home.

With extremism spreading across the globe, a reduced U.S. need for Saudi oil, and a thawing of U.S. relations with Iran, the time is right for a re-evaluation of our close ties with the Saudi regime. Publication September 2016 • 240 pages


Book Orders

Individuals can purchase the book on the CODEPINK website. Groups/organizations interested in purchasing five copies or more can get a 50% discount—which makes the book only $9! Just email orders@orbooks.com or call (212) 514-6485 and let them know you want the want the “CODEPINK activist” price.


Bring Medea to speak in your area! 

Medea will also be traveling around the country for the next nine months on a book tour and campaign to cut US weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and support Saudi dissidents. If you are interested in bringing Medea to your community, email Martha at Martha@codepink.org!

It’s way past time to call into question the toxic US-Saudi relationship and build a movement that demands an end to US weapons sales to this repressive regime and supports the courageous Saudi dissidents who are trying to transform their nation. With extremism spreading across the globe, a reduced U.S. need for Saudi oil, and a thawing of U.S. relations with Iran, the time is right for such a movement.

Please read the book and help get it out to the public, and invite Medea to speak in your community!


Book Tour Schedule

If you have questions about any of the events or you want to bring Medea to your town contact brienne.pa@gmail.com!

Deerfield Beach, Florida

Saturday, February 11th from 10am- 12pm

Deerfield Progressive Forum, Century Village 

http://deerfieldprogressiveforum.org/ 

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Sunday, February 12th at 11am

Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Lauderdale (UUCFL)


Book Reviews

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia: A Toxic Alliance?, The Leveller, October 10, 2016
Activist and author Medea Benjamin gives readers a vital primer to understand the history, controversies and possible future of the U.S.-Saudi relationship.

It's Time to End the U.S.-Saudi Arabia Special Relationship, Alternate, August 17, 2016
Obama is clearly irritated that foreign-policy orthodoxy compels him to treat Saudi Arabia as an ally.

Book review. Kingdom of the Unjust: the US-Saudi connection by Medea Benjamin, Ian Sinclair, September 2016
Having campaigned against the ‘war on terror’ and penned a book on drone warfare in 2012, American CODEPINK activist Medea Benjamin has turned her attention to the United States’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, one of its closest allies.

Medea Benjamin’s Kingdom of the Unjust, by DAVID SWANSON, August 17, 2016
For years and years, activists demanded that the U.S. government make public 28 (turned out to be 29) pages it had censored from a report, because it was suspected they would show a Saudi Arabian role in funding and facilitating the crimes of September 11, 2001.

In-Depth Interview: Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin Talks About Her New Book on Saudi Arabia, Peter Collins, September 29, 2016

Great Minds P2: Medea Benjamin Compares Saudi Labor System to Slavery, Sep. 1, 2016 

Why Is the US Aligned With Saudi Arabia?
September 4, 2016, Truthout


Videos

 

Tell Your Senator to BLOCK ALL Weapons Sale to Saudi Arabia!

Did you hear that the Obama administration just blocked a new sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia? Concerned over the high rate of civilian casualties caused by the Saudi bombings in Yemen, the White House stopped a Raytheon sale of 16,000 guided munition kits valued at $350 million. This a great step forward — thanks to all your calls and signing of our petitions.
We must keep pushing. Blocking these munition kits is good, but it’s not enough. Other weapons are still being sold to the Saudis. Just last week, the State Department announced plans to sell Chinook cargo helicopters and other equipment worth $3.51 billion! And the US military continues to refuel Saudi aircraft and provide intelligence information for the Yemen attacks. Moreover, a Trump administration might well restore all weapons sales. That’s why we need Congress to step up. Congress has the right to stop any sales authorized by the State Department, but has refused to exercise its authority.

Tell your U.S. Senators to stop ALL weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, using the form below!

Thank You For Contacting Your Senators!

Thank you for contacting your Senators to urge them to block ALL weapons sale to Saudi Arabia.

Can you help us get as much support as possible by using the links below to share this action on social media and by emailing your friends with the sample message we've included?

 Share This Action
 
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Copy & Paste This Message
 
I just took action to urge my U.S. Senators to stop ALL weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and save the children of Yemen who are facing acute malnutrition. U.S.-made fighter jets, cluster bombs and munitions are being used by Saudi Arabia to kill thousands of innocent civilians in Yemen. It's unconscionable that we would enable them to kill even more people by selling them more weapons!

Join me by taking action at the link below:

http://www.codepink.org/saudiaction

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