9 Questions for the U.S. Government on the Middle East:

Saudi Arabia:  U.S. intelligence cooperation

Is the U.S. providing intelligence to the Government of Saudi Arabia that can be used by Saudi Arabian authorities to violate the human rights of peaceful reformers and critics?

Saudi Arabia:  Prisoners of Conscience

What steps is the U.S. government taking to secure the release of prisoners of conscience like Raif Badawi from Saudi Arabia’s prisons?

Israel:  

What steps is the U.S. taking to prevent the Government of Israel from using U.S. arms to commit human rights violations against Palestinian civilians living under Israeli occupation?

Syria: Refugee resettlement

There are now 4 million Syrian refugees.  Over the last four years, the U.S. has only resettled a few hundred Syrian refugees.  How many Syrian refugees does the U.S. expect to permanently resettle in the U.S. in 2015?

Syria/Iraq:  U.S. military assistance

How will the U.S. prevent U.S. military assistance in Iraq and Syria from facilitating more war crimes and human rights abuses?
What steps is the U.S. taking to protect Sunni communities from abuses by Shi’a militias affiliated with the Iraqi government?

Syria/Iraq:  U.S. air strikes

Is the U.S. investigate reports of civilian casualties from U.S. air strikes in Syria and Iraq?

Will the U.S. publish the results of these investigations, hold accountable those responsible for civilian casualties, and provide reparations to families and survivors?

Bahrain:  U.S. arms sales

In 2012, the U.S. State Department announced that it would not allow the sale of arms to Bahrain “typically used by police and other security forces for internal security” or “crowd control.”  Has the U.S. resumed the sale of arms to Bahrain in this category?

Is the U.S. currently providing arms to Bahraini security forces that can be used against peaceful protestors and critics of the government?

Repressive U.S. allies in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the battle against “Islamic State”

On Thursday, I spoke with CCTV America about Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other repressive governments reported to be supporting U.S. actions against the armed group calling itself “Islamic State.” Click to watch.

On Thursday, I spoke with CCTV America about Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other repressive governments reported to be supporting U.S. actions against the armed group calling itself “Islamic State.”

Click to watch.

Interview - CCTV - 2014-09-25 - US allies and ISIS

HRW: Dispatches: “Obama Refuses to Talk Human Rights in Saudi Arabia”

http://www.hrw.org/node/124305

March 31, 2014
By Adam Coogle
Human Rights Watch

US President Barack Obama left Riyadh on the afternoon of March 29 apparently without raising human rights issues during talks with Saudi officials. The trip came at a time when Saudi Arabia has scaled up its persecution of peaceful dissidents and human rights activists – including one who is expected to receive a long prison sentence next week; deported thousands of undocumented migrants who have been detained in terrible conditions; and continues its systematic discrimination against women.

Although billed as a “fence-mending” trip, it is hard not to wonder what it would take for Obama – or any senior US official – to shed some light on these pervasive abuses.

Continue reading “HRW: Dispatches: “Obama Refuses to Talk Human Rights in Saudi Arabia””

After Saudi Arabia: White House Said No Talk of Human Rights (Transcript)

White House briefing post-Saudi trip, as quoted in San Francisco Chronicle blog:

Key part bolded/underlined.

From the White House briefing for press with senior administration officials on the President’s meeting with King Abdullah, March 28:

Continue reading “After Saudi Arabia: White House Said No Talk of Human Rights (Transcript)”

Saudi Arabia & Bahrain: 5 Members of Congress Urge President Obama to Push Saudi Officials to Support Reforms

U.S. Rep Hank Johnson and four other Members of Congress have written a letter to President Obama urging him to push Saudi Arabian officials to be “more constructive” regarding political reform in Bahrain.  The core sentence in the letter is the following:

Long-term stability in Bahrain can only be achieved through meaningful political reform, and we urge you to encourage the Saudi government to play a more constructive role in this regard.

Being “more constructive?”  That’s definitely an understatement. 

As my colleagues wrote in our April 2012 report, “Flawed Reforms Bahrain Fails To Achieve Justice For Protesters” (PDF): 

On 15 March 2011, Saudi Arabia sent at least 1,200 troops to Bahrain across the causeway linking the two states, reportedly at the request of the Bahraini government. The same day,the King of Bahrain declared a three-month state of emergency, known as the State of National Safety, and gave the security forces sweeping powers to arrest and detain protesters and ban all protests.

Al-Monitor: “Members press Obama to raise human rights in Saudi Arabia” (Article)

“This is the beginning of an expression of popular concern articulated through the US Congress about that relationship,” predicted Sunjeev Bery, the advocacy director for Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA. “The Saudi Arabian government’s repression is so bad across so many fronts that it has created an environment in Washington, DC, where multiple groups representing multiple communities are all pushing Congress at the same time.”

Article:  “Members press Obama to raise human rights in Saudi Arabia”

Julian Pecquet, March 25, 2014