We are at a new place in our nation’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia warned on Sunday that it will respond to threats and political pressure with tough measures of its own after President Donald Trump said the oil-rich kingdom deserves “severe punishment” if responsible for the disappearance and suspected murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.
The apparent threat of economic retaliation from the world’s top oil exporter came after a turbulent day on the Saudi stock exchange, which plunged as much as 7 percent at one point.
The statement was issued as international concern grew over the writer who vanished on a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul over a week ago. American lawmakers have threated sanctions against the Saudis, and Germany, France and Britain jointly called on Sunday for a “credible investigation” into Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Turkish officials have said they fear a Saudi hit team killed and dismembered Khashoggi, who wrote critically of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The kingdom has called such allegations “baseless” but has not offered any evidence Khashoggi ever left the consulate.
For generations, the United States and Europe would look past Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses because we needed their oil to fuel the economy. Those days are over. Thanks to American innovation and fracking, the US is now the largest producer of oil in the world and the world’s largest exporter of oil. Saudi Arabia’s importance in world affairs has diminished.
There is still risk to isolating Saudi Arabia. They have been a force of stability in an unstable region. And they are still a major oil producer whose behavior can impact the world economy. But it isn’t like it used to be.