ACTION ALERT: Stop Biden from Meeting with MbS
Win Without War
(June 6, 2022) — President Biden is thinking of meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) — and it could happen as soon as next month.
MbS is one of the world’s most morally bankrupt authoritarians — just like Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both of them are waging brutal wars — one in Yemen and the other in Ukraine — and both are known for assassinating and detaining political enemies and journalists. But while President Biden has rightly rallied the world to isolate Putin on the international stage, he’s set to potentially embrace the Saudi leader in the coming weeks.
There’s more at stake here than a photo op — this meeting would simultaneously legitimize the Saudi monarchy, make it easier for hawks and war profiteers to push for more weapons sales, and delegitimize ongoing efforts to improve human rights in the region.
Over the weekend, we heard news reports that President Biden himself is wavering on the idea of meeting with MbS.
If we raise our voices now, we can not only help STOP this meeting, but also help hold the Saudi monarchy accountable for its war crimes and gross human rights violations.
Here’s the thing: We believe the US government should engage in diplomacy, especially with countries we disagree with. But this meeting isn’t diplomacy — it’s a photo op. And it’s missing the opportunity for the United States to make crucial demands around human rights and accountability for the war in Yemen.
What’s really happening is that the US government is capitulating to Saudi Arabia in hopes that they’ll release more oil in the global markets. This strategy not only compromises our morals, but is also simply flawed.
Why? Here Are Three Reasons:
First, energy analysts agree that even if Saudi Arabia pumps more oil, it cannot replace the loss of Russian supply overnight.
Second, a clearer pathway to helping support families in the US struggling with the cost of gas would be to bring some political heat on oil company CEOs for price gouging at this difficult economic moment, as Senator Warren and other Congressional champions have proposed.
Finally, given the existential threat of climate change, we should be limiting the power of petrostates and encouraging clean energy transitions, so that neither MbS, Putin, or anyone else can hold the world hostage to their abuses just because they sit on big puddles of oil.
To put it simply, President Biden’s meeting with MbS would further solidify tyrannical power structures that are bad for people and the planet.
Folks inside the Biden administration already know that this would be a deeply unpopular meeting — and not only are White House officials on the fence, but key Democrats in Congress are also unhappy with the idea.
The president was right during the campaign when he called Saudi Arabia a “pariah” state, and declared that “America will never again check its principles at the door just to buy oil or sell weapons.” But now he’s trying to backtrack — and that’s why we’ve got to speak up now and do all we can to STOP it.
With enough public pressure, we can stop this meeting and remind President Biden that the US government shouldn’t be in the business of laundering the reputation of authoritarians. Can I count on you to join us?
To President Biden,
The US government must hold dictators to account and make the Saudi monarchy a “pariah” given their actions and lack of accountability. We strongly urge you to reconsider meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Until there is justice for Jamal Khashoggi, concrete progress on human rights, and a pathway to peace in Yemen, this meeting will be nothing more than a photo op that helps launder the reputation of an authoritarian leader who has fostered crisis and violence throughout the Middle East.
Thank you for working for peace,
Shayna, Amy, Sam, and the Win Without War team