Updated Jul 9, 2019

Nicki Minaj cancels performance in Saudi Arabia

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TNT

Rapper Nicki Minaj on Tuesday canceled her performance in Saudi Arabia, citing her "support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression," CNN reports.

The big picture: The hip-hop artist was scheduled to headline act at the Jeddah World Fest on July 18, as the "ultraconservative kingdom" works to shake off its reputation for strict regulations on entertainment, per AP.

  • The performance was part of a push to increase tourism to the country. The Saudi government intended to issue visas to foreigners who planned to attend the show.

The state of play: Even though Minaj is known for her provocative dances and lyrics, the women that would have attended the concert were expected to dress in abayas (long conservative gowns) and headscarves.

  • Some women took to social media to critique the hypocrisy, according to AP.
  • The genders also would have been segregated during the performance.

Go deeper: UN report says Khashoggi killing was "deliberate, premeditated execution"

Editor's note: This piece has been updated to reflect that Minaj cancelled her concert.

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Khashoggi killing: Judge orders federal agencies release records

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi at an event in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2018. Photo: Omar Shagaleh/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A judge in New York ordered federal agencies Tuesday to urgently release thousands of pages of documents related to the 2018 killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey, AP reports.

Why it matters: President Trump and members of his administration including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have publicly stood by the Saudis after Khashoggi's death last year, despite the CIA's assessment that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder.

Go deeperArrowAug 7, 2019

Trump replenishes Saudi arsenal by vetoing arms sale blocks

Data: SIPRI Arms Transfers Database; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump vetoed 3 bipartisan resolutions that would have blocked more than $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.

Why it matters: These sales would "replenish part of the Saudi arsenal that lawmakers say has been used against civilians in Yemen’s civil war," per the Washington Post. Trump's relationship with Saudi Arabia has been one area of sustained bipartisan backlash, due in part to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of the Saudi government and the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Go deeperArrowJul 27, 2019

Saudi arms sales move forward after Trump veto

Trump shakes hands with Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud June 29. Photo: Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Kingdom Council/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

President Trump vetoed 3 bipartisan resolutions that would have blocked more than $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.

Why it matters: These sales would "replenish part of the Saudi arsenal that lawmakers say has been used against civilians in Yemen’s civil war," per the Washington Post. Trump's relationship with Saudi Arabia has been one area of sustained bipartisan backlash, due in part to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of the Saudi government and the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Go deeperArrowJul 24, 2019