There is no excuse to prioritize profit over human rights. Senator Jack Reed and the rest of Congress have made themselves fully complicit in Saudi Arabia's war crimes and the destabilization of Yemen.
Beneath the surface, these two old adversaries actually have a lot in common and have become the strangest of bedfellows.
One concrete outcome that President Obama could pursue on his visit to Saudi Arabia is saving the lives of three Shia youth sentenced to be executed for participating in nonviolent protests.
On Christmas Eve in 2011, Hillary Clinton and her closest aides celebrated a $29.4 billion sale of over 80 F-15 fighter jets, manufactured by U.S.-based Boeing Corporation, to Saudi Arabia. In a chain of enthusiastic emails, an aide exclaimed that it was "not a bad Christmas present."
The killing of Sheikh Al-Nimr should serve as a prime moment for the U.S. to reconsider its alliance with the Saudi regime, a regime that not only denies human rights to its own people but exports death and destruction abroad.
It would certainly be easy to do a piece about 10 horrible events from 2015, from the ongoing war in Syria and the refugee crisis, to the bombings in Beirut, Paris and San Bernardino, to the rise of Donald Trump and Islamophobia. But that wouldn't be a very inspiring way to bid farewell to this year and usher in a new one.
The U.S., NATO, and the Afghan government all say they are conducting their own investigations into the attack, but only an independent investigation can uncover the facts we need to demand accountability and new safeguards to ensure this type of tragedy doesn't happen again.
During the discussion on the Iran nuclear deal, it has been strange to hear U.S. politicians fiercely condemn Iranian human rights abuses while remaining silent about worse abuses by U.S. ally Saudi Arabia.