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In-Depth Interview: Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin Talks About Her New Book on Saudi Arabia

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Longtime peace activist Medea Benjamin discusses Saudi Arabia and her new book, Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection.
Benjamin is co-founder of San Francisco-based Global Exchange, and co-founder of Code Pink: Women for Peace.  She is also the author of Drone Warfare.

Just a day before we talked, both houses of Congress passed an override of President Obama’s veto of JASTA, which will allow survivors of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia or other nations that may have funded and organized the hijackers.  We start with a discussion about JASTA and credit the Jersey Girls for the win.

We talk about the efforts of Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) to block the latest arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and re-evaluate the US-Saudi alliance, which drew 27 votes recently.  We also touch on the news of 14,000 Saudi women signing a petition to end the “male guardianship” laws that repress women in the kingdom.

We discuss the ultra-conservative Wahabbi sect of Sunni Islam, which is used by the royals to maintain their power, and note similarities of hypocrisy by the House of Saud and Islamic State and the selective outrage in American media and political circles over beheadings.

Our conversation touches on many aspects of Saudi influence in the wars in Syria and Yemen and the rise of IS, and the special treatment accorded to the Saudis by the US, despite their awful record of torturing and repressing any opponents.