By Aaron Kliegman\u00a0 In\u00a02019,\u00a0Iranian agents lured Ruhollah Zam, a dissident journalist living under asylum in France, to Iraq,\u00a0where they abducted him. The operatives then brought Zam to Iran, where the regime\u00a0executed\u00a0him\u00a0last\u00a0December for inspiring anti-government protests.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 The indifference among American journalists and politicians was striking, especially considering the\u00a0ferocity of their reactions to the murder of Saudi journalist\u00a0Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.\u00a0 Indeed,\u00a0the media and Democrats were calling to punish Saudi Arabia harshly for sending agents to kill Khashoggi\u00a0at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Some even wanted\u00a0Washington to downgrade, if not end altogether, America\u2019s decades-long strategic alliance with\u00a0Riyadh.\u00a0 Hence Joe Biden promising during his presidential campaign to\u00a0make\u00a0the Saudis\u00a0\u201cthe pariah that they are.\u201d\u00a0 The built-up backlash to the killing of Khashoggi led the Biden administration\u00a0last week\u00a0to\u00a0allow the\u00a0release\u00a0of\u00a0an American intelligence\u00a0assessment\u00a0concluding Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, often called MBS,\u00a0approved the hit.\u00a0 The assessment contains no actual evidence linking MBS to the murder, leading the CIA merely to speculate \u201cthere is no way this happened without being aware or involved.\u201d The intelligence community even admits in the report that, although \u201cSaudi officials had pre-planned an unspecified operation\u00a0against Khashoggi, we do not know how far in advance Saudi officials decided to harm him.\u201d\u00a0 To be clear, the murder of Khashoggi was heinous, and it\u2019s hard to believe MBS didn\u2019t order or at least know about it. But the intelligence community and the Biden administration are fortunate they\u2019re not prosecutors in a court of law. If they were, MBS would\u00a0walk free.\u00a0 The\u00a0White House has\u00a0wisely\u00a0said it won\u2019t punish MBS \u2014 the real leader of Saudi Arabia given the failing health of his father,\u00a0the king \u2014\u00a0no doubt\u00a0for fear of damaging relations.\u00a0 That doesn\u2019t really matter, though: The point of releasing the assessment was to make the Saudis look bad.\u00a0The damage has already been done.\u00a0\u00a0 Still,\u00a0Democrats\u00a0and\u00a0journalists\u00a0are\u00a0demanding harsher action against MBS and Saudi Arabia more broadly.\u00a0 What\u2019s so strange about their determination is their utter silence following the execution of Zam.\u00a0To explain themselves, many will say that, as tragic as Zam\u2019s\u00a0death\u00a0was, Khashoggi was a columnist for the\u00a0Washington Post\u00a0living in the United States.\u00a0\u00a0 Fair enough, except\u00a0Khashoggi\u00a0was neither a journalist nor a friend of the West.\u00a0\u00a0 In fact,\u00a0Khashoggi was a Saudi insider with\u00a0ties\u00a0to the Saudi intelligence services and Islamist extremist movements. He used his platform on social media to\u00a0make\u00a0anti-Israel, often egregiously antisemitic comments.\u00a0And he later became an\u00a0asset\u00a0of Qatar, which wanted him to write critically of its rival, Saudi Arabia.\u00a0 In short,\u00a0Khashoggi was an operative\u00a0with radical associations, working at the behest of foreign countries. As Lee Smith\u00a0wrote\u00a0recently, it seems he was \u201cusing his \u00a0Post\u00a0articles and relationship with to negotiate with Riyadh for his loyalty.\u201d\u00a0\u00a0 Naturally, those condemning Saudi Arabia the loudest are\u00a0the\u00a0quietist about\u00a0Khashoggi\u2019s\u00a0history. Compare\u00a0this\u00a0to the lack of response to Zam\u2019s execution.\u00a0 This\u00a0Saudi-Iranian\u00a0double standard among American elites\u00a0is\u00a0hardly confined to the murder of dissidents.\u00a0 Consider, for example,\u00a0the\u00a0situation\u00a0in Yemen.\u00a0 For years,\u00a0Democrats and the media have been decrying Saudi Arabia\u2019s war in Yemen against the Houthis, extremist rebels\u00a0backed\u00a0by Iran.\u00a0They\u2019ve demanded the US not support the Saudis\u2019 efforts and called for downgrading the alliance.\u00a0\u00a0 The Saudi\u00a0war\u00a0in Yemen has\u00a0certainly been clumsy and at times incompetent, but too many American elites are letting their irrational hatred of Saudi Arabia blind them to what\u2019s really happening in Yemen: Iran is using the Houthis to try to\u00a0create\u00a0a proxy on Saudi Arabia\u2019s southern border to threaten a key American ally with missiles and rockets, just as Iran uses Lebanese Hezbollah to\u00a0threaten\u00a0Israel on its northern border.\u00a0 Despite all\u00a0its\u00a0problems,\u00a0Saudi Arabia is a key American ally.\u00a0It\u2019s\u00a0an important partner in counterterrorism\u00a0and a huge purchaser of American arms. The Saudis are\u00a0also\u00a0a necessary staple of the global oil market, which\u00a0still greatly affects the American economy even if the US imports less oil from the Middle East.\u00a0 For those who care more\u00a0about the humanitarian situation in Yemen\u00a0than\u00a0America\u2019s strategic interests, the Houthis are the ones who\u00a0failed to repair sanitation services, worsening Yemen's cholera epidemic. The Houthis are the ones who\u2019ve\u00a0confiscated food and medical aid from civilians to support their fighters. The Houthis\u00a0are the ones who\u2019ve\u00a0used child soldiers to field more fighters.\u202fAnd the Houthis are the ones with the slogan \u201cDeath to America, death to Israel, curse upon the Jews, victory to Islam!\u201d\u00a0 And yet, Democrats in Congress and our nation\u2019s most prestigious editorial boards say Saudi Arabia is the problem, more than Iran and the Houthis.\u00a0 This\u00a0position makes no sense.\u00a0Unless\u00a0their\u00a0objective\u00a0here is not to\u00a0advance America\u2019s interests in the\u00a0Middle East.\u00a0 And that\u2019s\u00a0the key point to understand:\u00a0The objective of many\u00a0Democrats and like-minded journalists is to downgrade America\u2019s alliance with Saudi Arabia (and other friendly countries) in order to establish more harmonious relations with Iran.\u00a0\u00a0 They\u00a0don\u2019t\u00a0see the Iranian regime as a friend exactly.\u00a0Instead, they see Iran as an appealing potential partner to play a positive role in the\u00a0Middle East, allowing the US to leave\u00a0the region knowing a capable force is there to clean up the mess.\u00a0According to their misguided progressive view, engaging and appeasing Iran will moderate the regime over time.\u00a0 This is the vision that\u00a0President\u00a0Barack Obama\u00a0pursued\u00a0and\u00a0President\u00a0Biden is following in his former boss\u2019s footsteps\u00a0with the same team. It\u2019s\u00a0a recipe for disaster \u2014 a perfect formula to embolden Iranian aggression and Saudi risk-taking.\u00a0 And all the while, Iran won\u2019t be punished for murdering Ruhollah Zam, whose only crime was\u00a0speaking his mind about the\u00a0cruel and oppressive theocracy that\u00a0brutalizes\u00a0the Iranian people and\u00a0terrorizes\u00a0the entire Middle East. Newt hosts monthly virtual events in which he discusses news of the day and why it matters to you and your community. These Newt Live events are your opportunity to communicate directly with Newt. We hope you will join us next time and let Newt answer\u00a0your\u00a0questions and provide his insight on the issues that concern\u00a0you\u00a0most. JOIN TODAY to be a part of this special event and receive a BONUS GIFT.\u00a0Click here to join Newt\u2019s Inner Circle.