Donald Trump appears willing to give a brutal murderer a free pass, because his administration has everything to gain by pretending that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wasn’t involved at all in the gruesome murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. From the beginning, the U.S. president has made it known that he isn’t a fan of human rights.
After all, what could the United States, possibly benefit from the crisis if they proceed to punish the King Salman’s favourite son? After all, the journalist is dead and Trump isn’t a fan of reporters anyway, judging by how the news media in his country have been attacking him. If he’s going to be a one-term president, there’s more reason for Trump to do whatever he likes.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been making truckloads of U-turns, twists and spins. From denying that Khashoggi was killed, to admitting he was murdered to finally reveal that the critic of the Saudi Crown Prince was indeed cut into pieces. Yet, they have been consistent that their brutal king-in-waiting was not involved in whatsoever ways.
However, the most damaging report came from the CIA – that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave the order to kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi. This was the most definitive U.S. assessment to date, tying Saudi Arabia’s crown prince – de facto ruler – directly to the killing and contradicted Saudi government assertions that he was not involved.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, however, rejected the CIA’s report, saying the calls for Saudi Crown Prince to be held accountable for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi are a “red line”. What do you expect him to say? He would probably get fired by his own boss, the crown prince himself, if he doesn’t convince the world that the future king is as innocent as a lamb.
By now, everyone knows the Saudi crown prince was the man behind the brutal assassination of Khashoggi. But it doesn’t matter as long as President Donald Trump, the most powerful man in the world, chooses to protect him. Not only Trump deliberately ignores the CIA’s conclusion, the president went one step ahead – praising the Islamic kingdom for keeping oil prices low.
Trump, on holiday at his Florida Mar-a-Lago Club, sent a tweet – “Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy! $54, was just $82. Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s go lower!” That is one example how the U.S. gains by protecting an evil man and throw basic human rights out of the windows.
The U.S. president has argued his case against punishing the U.S. ally for Khashoggi’s death. Basically, he justified that if the U.S. goes against the Saudi, the oil prices would go through the roof. And if the U.S. protects the crown prince instead, the kingdom would be under the thumb of the United States of America, making Saudi some sort of a puppet.
And the U.S. president has no problem partnering with a crazy crown prince because Saudi Arabia and the United States have a common enemy – Iranian – and the Saudis have committed to US$450 billion in weapons contracts and other investments, as well as being a major oil producer. Trump declared – “Very simply it is called America first!”
But there could be more rewards on the table if President Trump continues to support the Saudi monarch, the custodian of the two Holy Mosques. The Yemen War, started by the same Saudi crown prince, may be scaled back. Last month, the U.S. increased its calls for a cease-fire in Yemen, where Houthi rebels (backed by Iran) have been fighting a Saudi-led coalition that supports the Yemeni government.
In fact, the Saudi is willing to end its land, maritime and air blockade against Qatar in exchange for Trump’s support. Again, started by the Saudi crown prince, the kingdom – along with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt – severed ties with Qatar last year, accusing it of supporting terrorism, when in fact it was to isolate the gas-rich kingdom after it challenged the Saudi’s leadership in the region.
America gains very little from the Yemen War, not to mention Qatar hosts the largest U.S. military facility in the Middle East. More importantly, the U.S. can order Saudi to stop becoming too friendly with Russia. Back in June, Saudi Arabia says negotiations over the purchase of Russian S-400 missile system were “advancing well”, but the U.S. wasn’t impressed.
Still, even if there’s a regime change in the succession of the Saudi next king, the U.S. would make sure the next crown prince is pro-America. Even under Barack Obama, whose administration wasn’t very much appreciated by the Saudi, the kingdom was careful not to offend the superpower, purchasing tons of military hardware from the U.S.
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