America was a key backer of the Mubarak regime — at least, until the uprising in Cairo intensified this week. But Mubarak isn’t the only autocrat to receive U.S. backing. Here, a list of dictators the U.S. still supports:
- King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
The U.S. has had a good relationship with Saudi Arabia since 1974, when Richard Nixon became the first American president to visit the country. The ties strengthened during George W. Bush’s tenure — Saudi Arabia was certified as an anti-terrorism ally in 2007 — and King Abdullah maintains a good relationship with President Obama. And yet Saudi Arabia is indisputably an authoritarian regime. There is no elected parliament, public protests are banned, and the media is controlled by the state. The United States’ support of Abdullah may one day backfire, says Alex Welch at The Daily Campus. “On the day the Saudi monarchy collapses, the United States may find itself powerless to defeat any anti-American sentiment that may foster as a result."
- Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al-Said of Oman
The Sultan of Oman has ruled over the country in a benevolent dictatorship since 1970, and has established an absolute monarchy under which all substantial decision are made by him. Even so, Oman is one of America’s oldest Arab allies, and one of the few Arab countries with which a free trade agreement has been signed. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently praised the “remarkable gains” made in Oman under the Sultan’s leadership.
Read the full list of dictators we still support here.
(Cartoon by Cam Cardow, copyright 2011 Cagle Cartoons)