•  HOME 
  •  BOOKS 
  •  WWP 
  •  DONATE 
  • Loading

Follow workers.org on
Twitter Facebook iGoogle

U.S. never helped Saudi women

Published Aug 26, 2010 8:39 PM

To test the U.S. government’s “concern” for the women of Afghanistan, it is useful to examine Washington’s record on helping women in other Muslim countries. Take Saudi Arabia, for example.

The Saudi regime is a U.S. client. For more than 60 years, U.S. oil companies have reaped billions of dollars yearly from the extraction of cheap and plentiful Saudi oil. Washington so thoroughly dominates this country of 27 million people that it got the Saudi government to pay $40 billion of the $60 billion the U.S. spent on the first Gulf War in 1991.

Certainly there has been plenty of opportunity for Washington to help Saudi women. But it hasn’t done so. In Saudi Arabia, arranged child marriage is legal. If a woman files for and wins a divorce, she can keep her children only until the boys are 7 years old and the girls 9, and can receive maintenance payments from her husband for only three months. Women are not allowed to drive or travel without written permission from a male guardian. They cannot walk alone even in their own neighborhoods. They are discouraged from becoming lawyers or architects because they might come in contact with men.

The U.S. government has locked Saudi Arabia into a feudal and misogynist social system while finding the most efficient and modern ways to extract its oil. In the words of Egyptian fighter for women’s rights, Nahwal al Sadawi, “In Saudi Arabia — one of the worst countries for women — fanatic fundamentalist Islamic groups are supported by U.S. troops.”

With this kind of record, is it any wonder that under U.S. occupation Afghan women must live in a feudal social system that regards them as chattel, even as they are bombarded by the latest in 21st century weapons?