Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

MBS bonesaw

A protester dressed as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and another dressed as then-U.S. President Donald Trump stand outside the White House on October 19, 2018 in the wake of the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

'Indefensible': White House Confirms Biden Expected to Meet With Saudi Crown Prince

"Saudi Arabia is one of the worst countries for journalists, women, LGBTQ+ people, and migrant workers," said CodePink. "But sure, the Biden administration is totally concerned with human rights."

Jessica Corbett

U.S. President Joe Biden faced a firestorm of criticism Tuesday after the White House confirmed he will visit Saudi Arabia next month and is expected to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Concerns have mounted in recent weeks in response to reporting during the planning stage of Biden's mid-July trip, given the kingdom's human rights record and the 2018 assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi—which U.S. intelligence officials concluded was approved by the crown prince, or MBS.

National Iranian American Council research director Assal Rad highlighted Biden's own comments after the White House announced that from July 13 to July 16, the president will visit Israel, the West Bank, and Saudi Arabia:

"The Saudi regime had a Washington Post journalist murdered and dismembered in an embassy," said Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, referring to Khashoggi.

"Just a few weeks ago, Israeli forces killed an American journalist in what CNN said was a targeted killing," Jaffer added of Shireen Abu Akleh. "The Biden [administration] should be sanctioning these countries, not rewarding them."

"What message is the Biden [administration] sending about press freedom if even the deliberate killing of American journalists is so quickly forgotten and forgiven?" he asked.

Matt Duss, a foreign policy adviser to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), declared that "the U.S.-Saudi rapprochement is premised on the idea that the security and prosperity of the American people requires consigning the people of the Middle East to a future of repression. I absolutely reject that."

Duss said earlier this month that "if anyone can explain to me how this reflects the administration's previously stated commitment to 'a world in which human rights are protected, their defenders are celebrated, and those who commit human rights abuses are held accountable,' I'd love to hear it."

CodePink similarly said Tuesday that "Saudi Arabia is one of the worst countries for journalists, women, LGBTQ+ people, and migrant workers. But sure, the Biden administration is totally concerned with human rights."

"Tomorrow in D.C., we'll be honoring Jamal Khashoggi, just one of the many victims of... Saudi Arabia's government," the anti-war group added. "We hope Biden will honor him as well by canceling this trip."

As Common Dreams reported last week, 13 human rights groups wrote to Biden that he should not meet MBS without securing "tangible progress to alleviate some of the most egregious rights violations" committed by the kingdom.

During a call with reporters late Monday, a senior Biden official claimed that "human rights is always a part of the conversation in our foreign engagements" and highlighted the administration's February 2021 release of a declassified intelligence report about Khashoggi's murder.

"I think it's very important also, though, of course, to emphasize, as we did then, that while we recalibrate relations, we're not seeking to rupture relations, because Saudi Arabia has been a strategic partner of the United States for eight decades," the official added, specifically noting Biden's stated aim to end the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

During his trip to Jeddah, Biden is scheduled to attend a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council—made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—plus Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan.

"The president will also hold bilateral meetings with the Saudi hosts and other counterparts" to discuss regional and global issues, including the ongoing U.N.-mediated truce in Yemen, the Biden official told reporters, confirming he is expected to meet with MBS, who "played a critical role in securing the extension of the truce—that was in place since April—just last week."

Though Biden last year announced an end to U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition's "offensive operations" in Yemen, he has been blasted for continuing to allow arms sales and maintenance.

A report on the coalition's assault of Yemen revealed last week that "a substantial portion of the air raids were carried out by jets developed, maintained, and sold by U.S. companies, and by pilots who were trained by the U.S. military," bolstering support for a War Powers Resolution in Congress to end "unauthorized" United States involvement in the war.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

'Infuriating': Biden Rebuked for Continued Opposition to Supreme Court Expansion

"What does Biden 'agree' with doing?" Mehdi Hasan asked. "What does the leader of this country want to do to stop the increasingly fascistic assault on our democratic institutions and basic rights?"

Kenny Stancil ·


'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·


'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo