Thursday, October 18, 2018

It Looks Like Trump is Getting Set to Throw Crown Prince Salman Under the Bus

From  an interview of President Trump by Maggie Haberman, Mark Landler and Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times:
President Trump said on Thursday that he believes the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead, and he expressed confidence in intelligence reports from multiple sources that strongly suggest a high-level Saudi role in Mr. Khashoggi’s assassination.

Mr. Trump stopped short of saying the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s death. But the president acknowledged that the allegations that the prince ordered the killing raised deep questions about the American alliance with Saudi Arabia and had ignited one of the most serious foreign policy crises of his presidency.

“This one has caught the imagination of the world, unfortunately,” Mr. Trump said to reporters from The New York Times in a brief interview in the Oval Office. “It’s not a positive. Not a positive.”

“Unless the miracle of all miracles happens, I would acknowledge that he’s dead,” Mr. Trump said. “That’s based on everything — intelligence coming from every side.”

A short time later, Mr. Trump reiterated to reporters at Joint Base Andrews that he believed Mr. Khashoggi is dead, and said “this is bad, bad stuff and the consequences should be severe.”

So is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman strong enough inside Saudi Arabia to handle any push to force him out of power if the U.S. sanctions the Kingdom or will he withstand the threat and sanctions and align himself closer with Russia?



  1. I predict that in the next sixty days MBS launches a major assault on Iran. The attack will based on Iranian support of the Yemeni/Houthi Shia. At the same time he will begin cracking down on Shia within Saudi Arabia. The Wahhabist hatred for all things Shia will shore up his support in the Saudi street and largely neutralize his rivals/detractors in his extended family. This may also have the effect of flipping The Donald back to the MBS camp as any attack on Iran will cause John Bolton to grow tumescent and Lisping Lindsey to swoon. MBS will pivot toward an ever tighter alliance with Pakistan in an effort to open up a second front to Iran’s east.

    Of course, I may be dead wrong.

    1. The Iranians will take the Saudis apart. it would be embarassing.

    2. I'd agree if they have a common border. You ever see two drunks get in a fight at the bar? That's what it'd look like. (But the naval dimension would be interesting.)

      On the other hand, this would be the ideal time for the Saudi's to attack the Iranians. They would have full USA support and it would distract from the Khashoggi murder.

  2. Seems like Trump is stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place on this.