The ally, the enemy, and America in between
During Barack Obama’s presidency, we have witnessed an intense attack against Saudi Arabia in liberal media outlets
Regarding the comparison between the Saudi presence in all aspects of American life and that of Iran, two news stories should be considered. The first is the US Senate paving the way for a $1.15 billion deal to sell tanks and other military equipment to Saudi Arabia. The Senate voted 71 to 27 to oppose legislation aimed at obstructing the deal.
The second is the draft law Congress is working on to reveal the amount of money held by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and 80 other senior figures. Congress voted 39 to 20 in favor of the draft law. The White House issued a statement rejecting the draft law and referring to a presidential veto, saying the law will have implications on the Iran nuclear deal.
These examples highlight the extent of Saudi interests in the US, and how they oblige American policy-makers to respect the kingdom. However, this is an incomplete picture.
During Barack Obama’s presidency, we have witnessed an intense attack against Saudi Arabia in liberal media outlets such as CNN and the New York Times, and an attempt to demonize the kingdom, Arabs and Sunnis, even if it is not explicitly admitted. Is it possible to make these media platforms work in favor of Saudi Arabia? I do not think it is possible to do so with someone who has decided in advance to stereotype you.
Hostility toward Saudi Arabia and politically conservative Arabs is an integral part of Western leftist ‘traditions,’ so it is pointless to woo themMshari al-Thaydi
Hostility toward Saudi Arabia and politically conservative Arabs is an integral part of Western leftist ‘traditions,’ so it is pointless to woo them. Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif despises the kingdom and keeps benefiting from leftist hatred of it.
A trusted Saudi friend - who has spent half his life studying in the US, and who works in business there and in Saudi Arabia - told me that think tanks are our only chance to expel spiteful propaganda against the kingdom, because they are fed up with the way US media outlets handle Saudi Arabia and Islam.
For example, prominent researcher Gregory Gause wrote in Foreign Policy about US media stereotypes of Saudi Arabia, despite him previously criticizing the kingdom sharply.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Sept. 23, 2016.
Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.