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Should America break our diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/8/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 268 times Debate No: 90895
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
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Hello. This is a debate on whether or not the USA should break our ties with Saudi Arabia. I will be arguing Pro, that we should, and you will be arguing Con, that we should not. Structure for arguments goes like this.
1. Acceptance
2. Opening Statements
3.Arguments (no rebuttals)
4. Rebuttals (no new arguments)
5. Closing Statements.
Rules are
1. No trolling
2. No rude behavior/personal attacks
3. Cite all sources in the round that you use them in. Repeat if necessary.
4. Failure to comply to argument structure will result in automatic win for the other side.
5. All above rules are the same for both sides.

I thank you for accepting my first debate, and I hope for it it be casual, friendly, and well thought out.


I accept, I hope we both have an interesting debate!
Debate Round No. 1


First of all, I would like to thank Con for accepting the debate. I also hope it will be an interesting one.

The country of Saudi Arabia is a US ally. However, their actions simply do not support this. From sponsoring and supporting terrorism through funding and indoctrination, to publicly beheading peaceful dissenters, Saudi Arabia is definitely not acting as an ally of the United States of America should. However, these are not just ideological reasons. Including the reasons I have previously listed, Saudi Arabia is contributing a large part to the destabilization of the Middle East. Without a powerhouse like the US to back it, it may change its tactics to more peaceful methods. While this would most definitely not be a "cure" for unrest and strife in that region, it would certainly help.

Some Terms I Plan to Use: (Please define any important ones you do as well)
Defined by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
1. Terrorism: "The use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal"
2. Ally: "A county that helps another country in war" or "One that is associated with another as a helper"
3. Destabilization: "to cause (something , such as a government) to be unable to continue working in the usual or desired way: to make (something) unstable"


Thank you.

In order for the US economy (the world's economy too as most are dependent on the US for imports and exports as well) to prosper we need access to stable markets. In order to maintain access to these stable markets we need tolerable relations with other nations. We need to maintain diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia to keep a healthy economy in the world, we may not like their policies and course of actions but we need them, like we need China.

Saudi Arabia is one of the few allies the US has in the Middle East, we need to maintain diplomatic ties as we already have limited leverage on countries in the Middle East (not to mention the negative relations as well). The US and Saudi Arabia are not in favorable relations with Iran, like an ancient proverb used "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" whether we like it or not we need Saudi Arabia. Similar to World War I and World War II the US and other European countries were not in friendly relations with Russia but still maintained an alliance as Russia was crucial in defeating the central powers and the axis power.

Definitions by
1. Economy-the management of the resources of a community, country, etc., especially with a view to its productivity.
2. Interest- a participation in or concern for a cause, advantage, responsibility, etc.
3. Relation- the various connections between peoples, countries, etc.
Debate Round No. 2


I thank Con for responding in such a timely manner. He brings up some good arguments, but as it was his opening statement and that rebuttals are in round four I will not respond to them yet.

My first reason is that The Saudi Arabian government is not like the rest of the world. They are a monarchy, one which rules by an incredibly strict interpretation of Muslim law. This stifling and restrictive code is called Wahhabism, and in Saudi Arabia, it is law. Freedom House published a report on this country, and it said that they teach hate and intolerance to all those who do not follow Wahhabism. This is introduced in the first grade, and continued throughout their school until twelfth grade, when they learn" that is is a religious obligation to engage in jihad (holy war) with "infidels", anyone who opposes their hateful extremism, including most Americans. However, Saudi Arabia is not just shamefully supporting terrorism, they are funding it. The Saudi government, in an effort to destroy their enemies in the Middle East, poured money into anyone and everyone who would help them in their violence. Al-Qaeda. ISIS. The instigators of 9/11, the Paris attacks, the Brussels bombing, the influencers of the San Bernardino attack on US soil. This is not just destabilizing the Middle East, this is threatening the entire world with a steady flow of indoctrinated and extremist young adults and children, ready to kill for their cause. It is also boosting the prominent terrorist groups, because the money they get from Saudi Arabia is used to buy weapons and other supplies for them to wage war. executing any and all dissenters, even Muslim clerics who are not extremist, loving peace, not jihad, such Sheikh al-Nimr. Amnesty International, a worldwide organization dedicated to promoting human rights all across the globe, called the verdict against this particular cleric "part of a campaign by Saudi authorities to crush all dissent."" Before his arrest in 2012, Sheikh al-Nimr had said "the people do not want rulers who kill and carry out injustices against protesters."" That was his crime. His punishment: he was publicly beheaded. Sadly, this is all too common in Saudi Arabia, in 2015 they had at least 157 state-sanctioned beheadings. While on the subject of Amnensty International, their report on Saudi Arabia for 2015-2016 said that "The government continued to severely restrict freedoms of expression, association and assembly. The authorities arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned human rights defenders and government critics, including under the 2014 anti-terror law, often after unfair trials. Some of those detained were prisoners of conscience. Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained common. Unfair trials continued before the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC), a special court for hearing terrorism-related cases, with some trials resulting in death sentences. Discrimination against the Shi'a minority remained entrenched; some Shi'a activists were on death row awaiting execution. Women faced discrimination in law and in practice and were inadequately protected against sexual and other violence. Thousands of migrants were summarily expelled, many to countries where they were at risk of serious human rights violations." We do not need the Saudis to produce our oil, we get almost four times the amount they sell to us from Canada. With the recent-ish drop in oil prices and the fact that more countries are finding more of it around the globe, we can easily buy more from Canada, or other countries. Another important fact to know about oil is that we produce 60% of our oil. So, in conclusion, Saudi Arabia is threatening world peace by funding extremism and teaching/supporting it in schools, which will lead to many more potential able-bodied soldiers for the extremists. They continuously violate human rights by publicly beheading dissenters and executing unfairly-conviced "terrorists". They also discriminate very heavily against women and Shi'as. Because of that, we should break our diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia.

Good luck with your arguments. This is shaping up to be a great debate.

My sources were


Thanks for the fast response too!

Anyway I'm not denying it I don't support Saudi Arabia's government, torture methods, funding terrorism, human rights violation etc.

The Middle East was filled with dictatorship forms of government prior to US intervention, it still is in Yemen, Libya and Syria. Dictators are generally less obligated to serve the interest of the people, if we cut diplomacy they can easily manipulate propaganda with the media and create hatred for the US among their people. An example would be North Korea.

Keep in mind I love the United States, I'm patriotic but there is no denying it the US has also funded terrorism in our history.
"Much like Al Qaeda, the Islamic State (ISIS) is made-in-the-USA, an instrument of terror designed to divide and conquer the oil-rich Middle East and to counter Iran"s growing influence in the region."
"During the 1970R42;s the CIA used the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a barrier, both to thwart Soviet expansion and prevent the spread of Marxist ideology among the Arab masses. The United States also openly supported Sarekat Islam against Sukarno in Indonesia, and supported the Jamaat-e-Islami terror group against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in Pakistan. "

We've also overthrow democratically elected governments, and create terror in the world ourselves.
"Iran " CIA overthrows the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in a military coup, after he threatened to nationalize British oil. The CIA replaces him with a dictator, the Shah of Iran, whose secret police, SAVAK, is as brutal as the Gestapo."
"Haiti " The U.S. military helps "Papa Doc" Duvalier become dictator of Haiti. He creates his own private police force, the "Tonton Macoutes," who terrorize the population with machetes. They will kill over 100,000 during the Duvalier family reign. The U.S. does not protest their dismal human rights record."

My point is the US isn't exactly utopia, yet the world's economy and diplomacy revolves around the US. No country is perfect China, Russia, France etc we all have black marks in our record. We shouldn't be judging Saudi Arabia's actions without looking at our own.

We do produce 60% of our oil but oil from the Middle East is still a necessity for our economy to function, if we could already move to stable oil markets away from the Middle East we would have already. We need Saudi Arabia as an ally, we are in no position to cut diplomatic ties without severe damages to our world status.

Debate Round No. 3


Oh, wow. Those are some great arguments that I was definitely not expecting... I will try my best to rebut them.

While it is true that the US has used terrorist groups in the past to achieve the goals it wants, that certainly doesn't mean that
we are using them right now, as we are in a state of war with most terrorist organizations and actively killing their soldiers with drone strikes. The source Con uses to show that the US still does use terrorist networks is called It looks completely legit on the surface, but I invite any reader to take a few quick minutes surfing it. You will no doubt find a large amount of anti-Semitic material and conspiracy theories, such as "The Mysterious Death of Dr. David Kelly. Was He Murdered? The Official Verdict Was Suicide..." or "The JFK Assassination: Why Richard Helms Lied about Oswald. Obstruction of Justice and The Rationale for Committing Perjury" or even "Is Barack Obama Actually Trying To Help the Islamic State (ISIS) Take Over Syria?" This is obviously not a reliable site. Please check it out yourself if you do not think so. I guarantee you will be shocked by what you find.

Con also stated that "We've also overthrow democratically elected governments, and create terror in the world ourselves.
"Iran " CIA overthrows the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in a military coup, after he threatened to nationalize British oil. The CIA replaces him with a dictator, the Shah of Iran, whose secret police, SAVAK, is as brutal as the Gestapo."
"Haiti " The U.S. military helps "Papa Doc" Duvalier become dictator of Haiti. He creates his own private police force, the "Tonton Macoutes," who terrorize the population with machetes. They will kill over 100,000 during the Duvalier family reign. The U.S. does not protest their dismal human rights record."
While it is true that the US has supported dictators in the past, we are not doing so now (with the exception of Saudi Arabia, of course. After all, that's what this debate is about. :)" and that does not make it right, or even acceptable.

I agree with Con, that "We should not judge Saudi Arabia's black marks without looking at our own". However, Our country has come a long way since the Cold War, desperate and looking for allies anywhere, to understand that even with the potential rise of oh-so-feared Communism, it was incorrect to use terrorists as allies, and that we have examined said "black marks" and again, realized that it was incorrect. Hopefully we have learned from that and will not ask for such help nor support such leaders again. However, this particular argument has no relation to the debate. I don;t see why we should keep Saudi Arabia as an ally just because we have done some of the same horrible things in the past. It is irrelevant.

In his last paragraph, Con states that "We do produce 60% of our oil but oil from the Middle East is still a necessity for our economy to function" and that "We need Saudi Arabia as an ally, we are in no position to cut diplomatic ties without severe damages to our world status." However, he gives no evidence to back this claim up. Because of this, I stick to my original argument, that America can get its oil from other, more friendly nations, like Canada and Mexico.

Finally, it is worth noting that one of the sources Con used, says that "Dictators may keep a country secure, but they do that at the expense of their own people. They may support the West's interests, but they will turn against them whenever their own interests are threatened.
Although many today lament that the Arab Spring has turned into an Arab Winter, the conflicts emerging across the Middle East are largely the result of the political, economic, and social ills of dictatorships and the conditions that had sustained them. They have come to the surface because the lid has been lifted.
But the current misery in the Middle East still does not mean that the region was better off under dictatorships. The aftermath of dictatorships is always messy, and democratic transition is never linear.
Those with nostalgia for the days of Arab strongmen should remember that autocratic regimes plant the seed of future unrest and therefore only offer false, temporary security -- even if "temporary" takes a few decades to pass."

My resources were just two of the ones you used,

I would like to remind Con to limit his statements he makes in the next round to rebottles only. Thank you for responding, I hope you are having a great debate. :)


Well I don't deny it, does have some weird conspiracy theory articles, but plenty of news articles have conspiracy theories. Those titles just grab attention which equals to ad revenue for them. Where is the anti-semitic material? I only saw some articles that didn't write positively on Israel, I am a supporter of Israel but that doesn't mean we can just turn a blind eye on everything they do.

The US has a dark past so does every pretty much every other country. "we are not doing so now " We are not but we can't ignore history, the past has helped shape our foreign policies, we cannot just turn a blind eye and ignore atrocities the US has committed. I am not trying to sound anti-American here I just can't ignore the wrong doing of our nation.

We have come a long way but it does not mean our history is in the past entirely. With terrorism on the rise (partly funded by the US during the cold war as provided in previous sources), we are in no position to make enemies with anyone just because we disagree with them.

Here's a source to back up my statement:
"So why does the U.S. put up with Saudi Arabia? The simplest explanation, of course, is oil. The kingdom is the largest and most important producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the bloc that controls around 40 percent of the world's oil. Because the United States was until recently the world's top oil importer, an alliance with Saudi Arabia made geopolitical sense.

The recent shale oil boom in the U.S. has led Washington to hope that before long, its alliance with Riyadh won't be necessary. The U.S. now pumps more than 9 million barrels of oil per day, which almost matches the amount in Saudi Arabia. Observers project that in five years, the U.S. will get 80 percent of its oil from North and South America and will be mostly self-sufficient by 2035."

You are completely right about how tired the Middle East is of dictatorship, but who will replace those dictators? We need a solid plan breaking diplomatic ties will not solve our problems with Saudi Arabia. Look at Iraq, we defeated Saddam Hussein but we had no plan to rebuild the nation, with a corrupt democratically elected government it's not surprising that the Iraq military has little loyalty to their government.

In conclusion you're right it would be the "right" thing to break diplomatic ties but we are in no position to do so just yet. In a way I support your view, we could be tougher on Saudi Arabia but completely breaking diplomatic ties will have negative consequences on our economy, politics, foreign policy etc etc.


I am having a great debate! I completely understand your POV now, you have changed my stance on it but I still stand by my position.
Debate Round No. 4


That's great! I am also starting to change my stance on this topic after reading your arguments. I think a good debate should challenge both side's views and make them think.

Anyway, in conclusion, the USA should cut ties with Saudi Arabia, a monarchy that continues to violate human rights in a number of ways, teaches children in school that it is an obligation to kill others who do not agree with the extremism taught in the schools. My opponent seems to believe that because the USA has funded terrorism in the past, (not defending it, I do think it was wrong) we are in no position to judge other countries who are doing so now, and even teaching it in schools. If the US does what he thinks, even if we end up defeating ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, we will still not be safe due to the large amount of now-indoctrinated terrorists coming out of Saudi Arabia to wage jihad. The US does not need Saudi Arabia for oil any more, contrary to what Con says. He even offered evidence to my point, stating that "The U.S. now pumps more than 9 million barrels of oil per day, which almost matches the amount in Saudi Arabia. Observers project that in five years, the U.S. will get 80 percent of its oil from North and South America and will be mostly self-sufficient by 2035." This shows that the US actually is in position to break off from Saudi Arabia. We make almost as much oil as them, and they sell most of theirs. We can easily just not sell as much and keep buying from Canada and others. I agree that the Middle East needs a plan to put into place after dictators, but that is simply not what this debate is about. While I agree that America needs an ally in the Middle East that all the other countries in the region don't hate, I feel that breaking ties with a country that actively supports terrorism, commits horrible atrocities against its own people, and isn't needed by the US for any purpose is more important. We can build up better relations with other countries over time, but we can't afford to support and protect a country that indoctrinates children to follow extremism any more. I would like to thank Con for this amazing debate, and ask the community to please vote Pro. Thank you for your time.


The US has funded terrorism, we supplied Osama Bin- Laden with 3 billion dollars to stop the Russia invasion of Afghanistan. We can't deny it we've messed up supporting anyone who opposed the Soviet Union during the Cold War. We've learned from our mistakes and are more cautious for when we provide foreign aid now. But that is still in our history books (note I volunteered to enlist in the USAF, it hurts me to say it but the US has help fund terrorism in the past.)
My statement does not support your belief on oil directly, it states that our economy is still reliant on Saudi Arabia for oil. Unless we can sustain oil production completely on our own we still need to import oil to fuel our oil consumption. My statement shows we are still not in a position to break ties with Saudi Arabia yet, in time we can but while we are still reliant on them no we can't. That 20% of oil we import is tremendous, unless we can sustain from consuming such a vast amount of oil we still need oil imported from outside the Continental United States.

Anyway I completely understand where you're coming from, it's hard to say we still need Saudi Arabia but we do. Similar to the international community imposing sanctions on Russia after their military intervention in the Ukraine, Russian approval of Putin skyrocketed while their disapproval of the US reached 81%. I still believe breaking diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia will not help us. Whether we like it or not we still need Saudi Arabia economically and politically. In a way like China we don't agree with their human rights violation either yet we still need them as a trading partner.

Vote whichever way you deem fit voters, I know it's not easy to support my view but I have to look at the realistic side and support what's best for the US currently.

Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Reigon 5 months ago
Yep, you most likely won. I found it hard to morally support my stance.
Posted by I_Wanna_Rawk 5 months ago
Wow. Great debate, man. I'm eager to see how the voting goes for this.
Posted by Reigon 5 months ago
Yea go ahead, I'm new to the debating on here too.
Posted by I_Wanna_Rawk 5 months ago
Sorry, this is my first debate and I have a question. Am I allowed to respond to a question that the other side asked in my closing? Im not going to, I just want to know for future debates. Thanks for any feedback.
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