Vice President Dick Cheney recently traveled to Saudi Arabia to pay his respects to the late King Fahd and the newly crowned King Abdullah. Apparently, the administration has more respect for the Saudi dictatorship than U.S. law.
Last September, after years of foot dragging, the Bush administration designated Saudi Arabia a “country of particular concern” for “severe religious freedom violations” pursuant to International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA). The designation was based “not only on the Saudi government’s violations of religious freedom within its own borders, but also based on reports of its propagation and export of an ideology of religious hate and intolerance throughout the world.”
Under the IRFA, the administration is required to “take action to oppose religious freedom violations” in Saudi Arabia within 90 days of making the designation. The administration can choose from among 15 actions, ranging from a condemnation to significant economic sanctions.
But, more than 5 months after the 90 day deadline expired, the Bush administration has done nothing.
Religious fundamentalism and intolerance motivates much of the world’s terrorism. Why won’t the Bush administration treat the problems in Saudi Arabia seriously?