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McDonald's Swears Allegiance To Saudi Arabia's Prince

| by Michael Allen
McDonald's sign in Saudi ArabiaMcDonald's sign in Saudi Arabia

Fast-food giant McDonald's swore its allegiance to Saudi Arabia's new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

McDonald's Kingdom of Saudi Arabia took out a full-page ad on June 21 in a Saudi Arabian newspaper to pledge its allegiance to the 31-year-old prince, notes Vox:

We renew our allegiance and obedience for his royal highness, the servant of the two holy mosques, King Salman the son of Abdul Aziz Al Saud. And we support Amir Mohammed bin Salman, his son, to become Minister of Defense and Prime Minister and to be nominated as successor. God give him wisdom and equip him to rule his kingdom. With peace and prosperity, McDonald's.

McDonald's KSA is owned by Mishaal Bin Khalid al Saud, who is a close relative of Salman, who began a bloody war in Yemen that is ongoing.

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Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud decided to skip over his 57-year-old nephew, former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and chose his son as his successor on June 21, reported Vox.

In May, President Donald Trump signed arms deals with Saudi Arabia worth $110 billion; the deals included artillery, cybersecurity technology, helicopters, missile defense, ships and tanks, noted Democracy Now.

Kristine Beckerle of Human Rights Watch told Democracy Now why the choice of Salman to lead Saudi Arabia was troubling:

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And when you talk about what is going on in Yemen, and you look at the actions of Saudi Arabia and the coalition it’s leading, it’s very hard to see a policy or a plan or a strategy, but it’s very easy to see devastation wrought on a country for two-and-a-half years. You’ve got famine, cholera and repeated war crimes and violations of the laws of war.

So, when you say you’re going to give this person more power, and we haven’t seen this person commit to rights reforms, we’ve seen this person oversee a massive campaign that’s been marred by numerous abuses, and we’ve seen the new U.S. administration, Donald Trump, court this young prince and say, in his first trip abroad, that he’s going to go to Riyadh and he’s going to sell the Saudis $110 billion worth of arms -- so I think the question now becomes: With this new power, is Mohammed bin Salman going to take the step forward and say, "OK, now I’m going to push rights reforms," or are we going to see more of this reckless and sort of dangerous and very destructive policies that we’ve been seeing out of Saudi?

Later during the program, Beckerle noted that the U.S. may potentially be liable for human rights abuses by the Saudi regime:

And the reason that’s significant is not only because the U.S. should care about the ways in which its weapons are being used in Yemen, but also because it exposes the U.S. and U.S. officials to legal liability for aiding and abetting coalition war crimes in Yemen.

So Human Rights Watch has already found remnants of a weapon produced seven months after the start of the war, after violations were clear, at the site of an apparently unlawful attack in Yemen that killed over 30 civilians.

And now we’re saying, "Don’t worry. Here are some more weapons that you might be able to use in the war in Yemen." And that’s significant both for the Yemeni civilian population and for U.S. officials who are exposing themselves to potential legal liability.

Sources: Vox (2), Democracy Now / Photo credit: Rabun/Flickr, Mazen AlDarrab/Wikimedia Commons, The White House/Flickr

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