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Monday, November 28, 2022

Biden should back away from Saudi despot

I still get a feeling of revulsion when I see a photograph of President Joe Biden giving the fist bump to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler also known as MBS. “I think it was flat-out murder,” then-candidate Biden said in a 2019 CNN town hall, regarding the 2018 murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi ordered by MBS.

We can’t have our president addressing human rights while ignoring the horrific record held by MBS (”U.S. backs immunity for Saudi leader in lawsuit over Khashoggi murder,” Nov. 18). Recently, for example, two Saudi mothers received draconian sentences for tweeting. A mother of two, Salma al-Shehab, was sentenced to 34 years imprisonment, and a mother of five, Noura al-Qahtani, got a 45-year sentence.

Young voters came out in droves for the Democrats in the midterm election. Youth are generally progressive and very concerned about the environment, human rights and U.S. support for dictators. Biden has to reconsider having any relationship with the Saudi despot. Unfortunately, his administration urged a court to grant MBS sovereign immunity.

Will it take a phone call from Pope Francis to prick Biden’s conscience?

— Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Towson

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