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Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is one of MEDC’s focus countries. Our work on Saudi Arabia covers topics such as authoritarianism, political detentions, transnational repression, democracy and human rights advocacy, and U.S. policy.

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Letters and Statements

POMED in the News

“In a nutshell, [religious freedom in Saudi Arabia] is disastrous…the Saudi state is subjugating its people to the rulers no matter what…just in this conversation, I’m violating Saudi laws…The Saudi government has used laws, doctrines, everything in its power, to go after people for speaking up about anything. This is true for the shia minority, for the majority, anyone who has a different idea,” Abdullah Alaoudh told Professor Gabriel Said Reynolds on the Exploring the Quran and the Bible podcast.
Exploring the Quran and the Bible
,  02/23/2024
“We know we live in the real world and that governments must deal with Saudi Arabia, said Abdullah Alaoudh, Saudi director at the US-based Freedom Initiative. ‘But ignoring human rights, ignoring basic democratic values, when dealing with dictatorships and autocratic regimes doesn’t serve a country’s own strategic interests or bring about human rights,’ he argued.”
“The administration needs to abandon its behind-closed-doors approach to addressing human rights” in Saudi Arabia, said Tess McEnery, who served on Biden’s National Security Council until last year and now heads the nongovernmental Project on Middle East Democracy. “There need to be clear public costs to [Salman’s] repression. . . . For nearly a year [since the Biden visit], we’ve seen what a policy of appeasement looks like.”
“[The Public Investment Fund’s golf strategy is about both image and economics.] It’s both diversification and soft power projection. . . . It is now a more aggressive approach to simultaneously find lucrative, high-margin returns in the intermediate run simultaneous with elevating the image of the Saudi royal family, state emblems and nation in a global era defined by multipolarity.”
“[Biden’s fistbump with Saudi Arabia’s MBS last July] was just really this visceral visual welcoming of a full international rehabilitation of, quite frankly, one of the most brutal dictators in the world. . . . I think it’s very evident that the administration needs to abandon its behind closed doors approach to addressing human rights. There need to be clear public costs to MBS’S repression.”
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