US Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders explicated his views on the country's foreign policy in the Middle East, specifically with the Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, during a town hall meeting on CNN. Calling the Royals of the Kingdom 'murderous thugs', the Democratic frontrunner said that the US can bring rivals in the region--Saudi Arabia and Iran together.
Taking a dig at US' 'wonderful ally' in the Middle East, Sanders said, "For years, we have loved Saudi Arabia, our wonderful ally; the only problem is the people who run that country are murderous thugs." "I believe that instead of being really cozy with Mohammed bin Salman they are the billionaire dictator of Saudi Arabia, I believe, President Obama made good progress in this way to build on that, that we can bring the Saudis and the Iranians together and, tell them that we're sick and tired as a nation (of) spending trillions of dollars on endless wars," Bernie Sanders added.
The US senator, who won the popular vote in the first two Democratic contests, reiterated his stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict, saying, "What American foreign policy has got to be about in the Middle East, bringing the Israelis bringing the Palestinians together under the banner of justice. We could do it, we have the wealth to do it. It cannot just simply be a one that we're just pro Israel and we ignore the needs of the Palestinian people." Back in December last year, Bernie Sanders had said that US' foreign policy cannot be only pro-Israel, but also must be 'pro-Palestine.'
The independent US senator, back in 2017 had told The Intercept, that the Saudi Arabia was "not an ally of the United States", calling the Kingdom a 'supporter of terrorism." He had said, "I consider (Saudi Arabia) to be an undemocratic country that has supported terrorism around the world, it has funded terrorism. They are not an ally of the United States." "They are fomenting a lot of hatred," he added.
In an op-ed to The New York Times, Bernie Sandres had called for the US to 'redefine' its relationship with the United States, following the murder of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi. "One place we can start is by ending United States support for the war in Yemen," Sanders said in October 2018.
"No more! Enough death. Enough killing. Enough destruction. The time is not to tell Saudi Arabia that we are not committing to partner with them in this horrific crisis," Bernie Sanders repeated his views on the Kingdom in November 2018.
Apart from lambasting Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen and its role in the killing of Jamal Kashoggi, Sanders has called to end the arms deal with Riyadh.
Bernie Sanders' stance on Saudi Arabia is in stark contrast to the current US President Donald Trump, who has often been accused of shielding the Kingdom, from holding the culpable for issues ranging from human rights violation to Jamal Khashoggi's death and their bloody war in Yemen that has pushed the country to the worst humanitarian crisis.