Saudi Arabia

Call-in: Urge your Senator to speak out about Saudi Arabia

Following Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent Shia dissident, its ending of the ceasefire in Yemen, and its attempts to sabotage the Syria peace talks, relations between the US and Saudi Arabia have reached an unprecedented state of crisis. But Washington still hasn't had a serious public discussion about how to say no to Saudi Arabia. In Germany and the UK, there is a debate in the government about how to say no to Saudi Arabia; but in the US, while there is a debate in the media, there is still no real debate in the government.

We can change this. Call your Senator now at (202) 224-3121. When you reach a staffer, you can say something like:

"I urge Senator ______ to make a public statement calling for Saudi Arabia to end its gross abuses of human rights and cooperate fully with international efforts to end the civil wars in Syria and Yemen, and calling on the Obama Administration to enact real pressure on Saudi Arabia to change its behavior."

When you've made your call, please report it below.

And if you haven't signed our petition urging President Obama to call out Saudi Arabia during the State of the Union address, you can do that here:

What I Learned in the Airport in Bahrain

Bahrain International Airport - When I came to Bahrain, it certainly wasn't with the intention of spending my whole time in the country in the airport. I wanted to see what was going on in the country, not to see what was going on in the airport.

 

But the Bahrain authorities would not let me enter the country. At this writing, it's 5 PM local time. My flight got in at 2:15 AM. I have been informed that the Director of Immigration has decided that I shall not have a visa to enter Bahrain - although in the past it was the practice of the Bahrain authorities to give visas to Americans in the airport pretty much automatically - so the authorities are saying that the only way I am leaving the airport is on a plane out of the country. At this writing, it looks like I could be in the airport for another 36 hours.

 

Other observers managed to get in, and you can see their reports at Witness Bahrain. [You can't see that website if you live in Bahrain though - it's blocked here by the Bahrain authorities.] But if you're in the U.S., you can read reports on Witness Bahrain on the protests marking the first anniversary of the uprising for democracy, and the Bahrain government's response to those protests. I won't be able to contribute to those reports, since, sitting in the airport, I won't be able to observe the protests and the government response.

 

However, I did learn something useful, sitting in the airport, waiting with a bunch of other foreigners for permission to enter the country.

 

I learned that the government of Bahrain is starting to pay a real price for its efforts to shield its actions towards peaceful protesters from international scrutiny.