Asking the US to stop funding the Saudi-led war in Yemen is like asking my heart to stop pumping blood to my left arm. (thread)
Yemen suffers the greatest humanitarian conflict today – including a record-breaking cholera outbreak and devastating bombardment by bomber jets that are fueled by the US.
Critics are calling for the US to end its support to this genocidal Saudi assault. Sure. But…this ignores the very roots of how the Saudi kingdom itself came into being.
100 years ago there *was * no Saudi Arabia. But as oil became profitable, Britain and the US began to seek out local figures who would protect their access to Saudi oil
There was a guy, Ibn Saud, who was a warlord seeking control of the region. One of the ways he did this was by building alliances, including with an ultra-conservative movement called Wahhabism.
Wahhabism is today the “dominant” form of Islamic practice in Saudi Arabia, but this wasn’t always the case. Ibn Saud saw that foreign oil interests * liked* ultra-conservative Wahhabi Islam.
So in the 1930s, Ibn Saud was sitting down and negotiating with the Americans on how they might help him establish rule over the Arabian peninsula. In exchange he would promise them access to Arabian oil.
Timothy Mitchell (whose work I’m summarizing) writes that American oil companies came to depend on and support what was a repressive, fundamentalist version of Islam as a way to maintain control over Middle Eastern oil.
Modern-day #Chevron was key in helping Ibn Saud become the ruler of #Saudi Arabia. In order to do this, he had to maintain an alliance with the Wahhabis and help make their brand of Islam the law of the land.
#Aramco, the Arabian American Oil Company, would help build roads, airports, and more in Saudi Arabia and help Ibn Saud maintain power over the newly-formed kingdom.
Of course, Ibn Saud was unpopular with the people – and they were resisting him, as people do. So the US used its Saudi military base to train the Saudi security forces to torture/kill dissenters. Aramco would even set up an Arabian Affairs division to help “eliminate” agitators.
1956: workers in Saudi went on strike, demanding the closure of the US military base and the right to form unions. These protesters were arrested to tortured or deported, with both American oil executives and Wahhabis working to suppress them.
Later, in the 70s, more protestors would try to protest the House of Saud, taking control of holy sites in Mecca and Medina. These armed rebels demanded an end to corruption and government oppression. US-trained Saudi troops came in and killed them.
In the mid 1900s, there were nationalist movements in Egypt and Iraq that were threatening Western control of the region. The US was too happy to see the Saudi monarchy respond by spending tons of money to export its ultraconservative religious ideology to counter this.
This is context for calls for US to end its support to Saudi Arabia. As if the US didn’t create Saudi Arabia, the global oil economy, and geopolitical tensions. As if the US has any moral high ground to separate itself from “their” crimes.

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