US President Donald Trump has doubled down on his partnership with Saudi Arabia, calling it an indispensable ally after a journalist’s grisly murder, but critics say his position ignores Washington’s enormous leverage over Riyadh.
Trump on Tuesday gave Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman a pass on Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, glossing over the Central Intelligence Agency’s reported conclusion that the kingdom’s de facto ruler had authorised the killing. “Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump said, implying Prince Mohammed’s culpability in Khashoggi’s killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 hardly matters.
What does, he asserted, is the Gulf kingdom’s role as a bulwark against rival Iran, its multi-billion dollar investments in the United States — including several arms deals — and its perceived stranglehold on global oil prices. Read More