Update: the Beeb updated this into the past tense, confirming that he did not mention Raif to his nice new friend King Salman.

The two leaders also discussed the security situation in Yemen as well as stability in the global oil market.

Mr Obama stressed the importance of human rights, US officials added, but did not raise the case of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.

The Beeb reports on Obama’s plans for his trip to Riyadh.

US President Barack Obama is heading a large, bipartisan US delegation travelling to Saudi Arabia following the death of King Abdullah.

Large and bipartisan because Saud-family Arabia is such an important “ally,” I suppose.

He is being accompanied by prominent Republican officials, including former Secretaries of State James Baker and Condoleezza Rice.

Saudi Arabia is a key US ally in a region riven by war and rivalries.

Saudi Arabia is also a source of many wars and rivalries.

In an interview with CNN before he left India, Mr Obama suggested he would be unlikely to raise the case of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison last May for “insulting Islam through electronic channels” and “going beyond the realm of obedience”.

Of course he did, and of course he is, because…key US ally.


  1. maddog1129 says

    That’s the only reason for the president to go to SA himself. What good is influence if you are not willing to use it?

  2. PatrickG says

    From your linked CNN article:

    Obama was candid that U.S. pressure to advance human rights or encourage political reforms isn’t always appreciated and “oftentimes that makes some of our allies uncomfortable. It makes them frustrated,” he said.

    Well. Wouldn’t want to make them uncomfortable. Though I could see frustrated, given the US record on human rights.

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