Letters to the Editor: Biden showed that the Saudis still have us over a barrel

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Group of 20 summit in Japan in 2019.
(Mikhail Klimentyev / PBS)

To the editor: The U.S. believes it cannot sanction the crown prince of Saudi Arabia for arranging the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi because the kingdom has been “a longtime Middle Eastern ally.” We accept limitations imposed by this marriage of convenience because they are necessary to contain “Iran and Islamic extremism.”

There’s another story to be told. Had the CIA not enabled the coup that toppled Iran’s democratically elected prime minister in 1953, then foisted on the Iranian people a monarch who ruled like Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman runs Saudi Arabia now, Iran could have been the strong democratic ally we need to contain a different extremist ideology: the Wahhabism that nurtured the 9/11 attackers and allows the Saudi royals to rule as absolute monarchs.

Despite however many Saudi human rights violations (and the crocodile tears U.S. policymakers shed over them), the U.S. will continue to be complicit in these crimes because the Saudis have us over a barrel — of oil.


Sarah S. Forth, Los Angeles


To the editor: President Biden is not in a tough spot. He has cynically violated his November 2019 campaign promise to punish senior Saudi leaders. Morality and international law mandate four straightforward presidential actions.

Biden must publicly condemn the crown prince for ordering a political assassination, cease all direct communications between the U.S. government and Mohammed, initiate sanctions on him, and terminate all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

Jeff Victoroff, Rancho Palos Verdes