In the wake of the shooting of US military servicemen on the Pensacola naval base by a Saudi military student, the US government undertook an investigation of Saudi military students in the US. The US currently hosts nearly 600 Saudis in the country for military training. As a result of the investigation, 12 Saudi military students are being expelled from the country. Their offenses range from having connections to extremist groups to being in possession of child pornography.
While it’s good that the government is getting serious about the threat posed by foreign military students in the US, particularly by Saudis, it’s a little overdue. It shouldn’t have to take our soldiers getting murdered on military bases in their home country for the government to do its due diligence in rooting out these rotten apples. Why weren’t these Saudi students vetted before they were allowed to set foot in our country?
This is an unfortunate side effect of the US government’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. Given the importance of Saudi Arabia to world oil markets, and the necessity of keeping Saudi Arabia within the petrodollar system, the US government is loath to do anything to upset the Saudis. If Saudi Arabia starts to accept non-dollar payment for oil, the US dollar’s days as the world’s reserve currency could be numbered.
That’s why, despite the overwhelming evidence that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the US government seems to have overlooked that in its efforts to maintain harmonious relations with Saudi Arabia. Going back further, the US government allowed members of the bin Laden family to flee back to Saudi Arabia after 9/11, and the government has never fully followed up on the link between Saudi Arabia and the 9/11 hijackers.
It’s undeniable that Saudi Arabia is a major sponsor of terrorist groups throughout the Middle East. Yet we continue to set up Iran as the major bogeyman and blame it for the deaths of our soldiers abroad, while Saudi soldiers murder our servicemen here in the US. Something has to change.
Image: Kevin King