President Biden’s formally announced plan to visit Saudi Arabia next month is a dramatic reversal of earlier promises to treat the Arab nation as a “pariah” in light of its repeated human rights violations. Calls are growing for Biden to hold the Saudi government accountable for the brutal murder and dismemberment of American resident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. But as he faces domestic anger over rising fuel prices, Biden seems to have declining leverage with one of the most oil-rich countries in the world and the top weapons client for the U.S. “The Biden administration has succumbed to the pressures of defense industries and the foreign government lobbyists to continue what are very profitable arms sales,” says Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now, founded by Khashoggi. #DemocracyNow
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