A Review of U.S. – Saudi Relations Is Coming (and Who Could Be Caught up in It?)

A Review of U.S. – Saudi Relations Is Coming (and Who Could Be Caught up in It?) December 10, 2018

Sometimes you just have to clean all the skeletons out of your closets, in order to start fresh.

We are at a point in time where the stench of how the brutal murder of U.S. resident and journalist, Jamal Khashoggi was handled requires a thorough going over.

Representative Eliot Engel, who will be taking over the House Foreign Affairs Committee, once Democrats take the majority in the House, is prepared to do just that. Maybe not coincidentally, that bit of cleaning may sweep up White House senior adviser and Trump son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

From CNN:

Engel is “committed to conducting a top-to-bottom review of U.S. policy towards Saudi Arabia and that includes what has driven the US response to the Jamal Khashoggi murder,” said spokesman Tim Mulvey, referring to the October killing of The Washington Post journalist in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Asked if that meant probing the ties between Kushner and the crown prince, Mulvey said: “Everything is on the table.”

Should I remind everyone again “what has driven the U.S. response,” at least as it pertains to the Trump administration?

That’s right.

It should be an embarrassment that no one in the GOP has made an active move to investigate what happened here. Why has this been allowed to go on unchecked?

As it is, we could possibly see a vote by the Republican majority Senate as early as this week, regarding whether or not to withdraw the support of the United States for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

There is also a possibility of seeing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote on legislation that would suspend arms sales to the Saudi government, as well as sanctioning those beasts individuals responsible for the murder of Khashoggi.

By “individuals” we’re not just talking about the coldblooded ghouls that used a bone saw to dismember a man while he was still alive, but also the demon that ordered the murder – Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

This whole nightmare came as retaliation for Khashoggi’s outspoken opposition to the Saudi royal family, and in particular, the crown prince (MBS).

To recap, Jamal Khashoggi disappeared on October 2, 2018, after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, seeking paperwork on the divorce from his first wife, in order that he could be married again to Hatice Cengiz, his fiancée, who waited outside for him.

He never returned.

After denials turned to tales of a questioning that went bad, the horrific truth of Khashoggi’s disappearance was made public.

Not only was the journalist ambushed by MBS’ thugs, but he had full knowledge of the events, and those events were carried out with his approval.

Other nations have already stepped away from the Saudi government, in protest of the event.

The United States still clings, with President Trump balking at the idea of giving up a big money arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, it’s not even a deal that has been completed. At best, it’s a vague discussion of deals that could maybe be set.

For the time being,  Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican and the ranking Democrat, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, are hashing out the details of the legislation that would move the U.S. on to the side of humanity, when dealing with the Saudi government.

Kushner in particular has come under intense scrutiny given his close relationship with the crown prince. A New York Times investigation on Sunday showed that Kushner sought to counsel the prince to weather the storm in the aftermath of the murder. The White House has emphasized the importance of maintaining strong Saudi relations for the benefit of the US economy.

Seriously. A U.S. resident is slaughtered, and Kushner wants to help the butcher?

The House Foreign Affairs Committee, which has oversight of the State Department, is not the only panel planning an examination over the aftermath of the Khashoggi murder and the White House’s efforts to downplay it. The House Intelligence Committee, which has jurisdiction over the CIA, plans to look into the matter as well.

Good. Every bit of that is good.

Just go ahead and add it to the growing mountain of investigations involving this administration.  Maybe we’ll have an answer before a new administration takes over.



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  • Marcion

    This is going to be an important test of the strength of the bipartisan foreign policy establishment. On the one hand, the moral case for ending the Saudi alliance couldn’t be clearer: It’s a brutal theocracy which oppresses its own people, spreads violent religious fanaticism all over the world, and has murdered tens of thousands of Yemenis in a pointless war. On the other hand, it creates a market for American arms manufacturers and serves as an ally against Iran (even though everything bad about Iran is worse in Saudi Arabia) so it’s had bipartisan support in Washington for decades. Hopefully America’s politicians can overcome the tsunami of scaremongering and money that’s coming and do the right thing.

    If nothing else, this will expose who has any sort of moral principles and who’s a soulless ghoul. For example Ben Sasse, who sells himself as a warrior for decency and against tribalism, voted to continue a sectarian war that has killed tens of thousands of people and given a million more cholera. He should never be taken seriously again.

  • chemical

    That tweet, though. Emoluments Clause much? Trump is bragging about taking bribes from foreign royalty (specifically, ones that spread Islamic theocracy and fund terrorists) while his mindless sycophants cheer him on.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    That lawsuit (Emoluments Claus) was allowed to go forward and is now in the discovery phase – collecting information from many of the Trump Organization competitors that have been harmed by Trump’s conflict of interest.

  • Ellen Elmore

    Unfortunately, there is about as much of a chance of Trump being removed from office, or losing the election in 2020, as there is of Hillary going to prison.

  • JASmius

    The chances of Trump’s impeachment and removal are still slim, but they are slowly growing. It’s not yet probable, but it is possible. I still don’t understand why you think Trump is a lock for re-election, though. The chances of that are lower than the ones for him being impeached.

  • JASmius

    We don’t need the Saudis for economic reasons, but we do need them as a regional counterweight to Iran. However, when it comes down to it, they need us far more than we need them. We’re the rider in this alliance, and they’re the horse. Or at least, that’s how it should be. Trump has corruptly reversed that hierarchy. In an actual presidency, we could have had a quiet “come to Allah” talk with other Saudi officials and told them how much it was in their best interests to ensure that MBS “had an accident” in the near future (since that’s how the Saudi royal family and Islamic societies in general operate). That’s not happening with Trump because he has personal financial stakes in the U.S.-Saudi “relationship” that he prioritizes over U.S. national interests (i.e. “America First”, my fanny).

    It is the universal axiom that applies across the board to any action and pronouncement this president makes (h/t: Rick Wilson): “Everything Trump touches, dies”.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Trump was an unknown in 2016 to most Republicans. Now that people have gotten to know Trump, he is no longer getting the benefit of the doubt and has used up all his “grace” and many people are not liking what they are seeing.

    You only have to look at the 2018 midterms and the massive losses for the vaunted “GOP majority” in the house to see that.

    As to the Senate, we need to realize that the Senate fight in 2018 was almost exclusively in deep-red, GOP-friendly states and even then, Trump almost lost them (Ted Cruz in Texas had a 2.6 point margin instead of a 20+ point margin. Marsha Blackburn in Tenn almost lost where the GOP traditionally has a 15-20 point margin. Repeat that scenario in almost every deep-red state the Republicans “won” in 2018. Trump’s popularity will continue to decline as the economy declines due to his tariff war. We already see the stock market in decline and threatening a possible recession.

    If Trump continues attacking China, he will permanently destroy (if he has not already) a primary market for midwest soybeans and other grains and his antagonism of Canada and Mexico is harming other industries. When farmers lose their land to non-payment of taxes, gasoline tax is hiked to pay for more green-energy boondoggles (rural areas buy disproportionate amounts of gasoline to get to their jobs so urban-dwellers can ride tax-subsidized mass transit), and more factories are closed (and jobs lost) due to Trump steel & aluminum tariffs, more and more Trump voters will realize he’s not working in their best interests.

    Much of the pre-2018 Republican party is no long backing the “Trumplican GOP” and has gone independent. Even Trump’s base is shrinking as Trumps’ trade war continues to wreak economic havoc and his support of Democrat policies (deals with Pelosi / Schumer) will only hasten that shrinkage.

    I just don’t see where Trump plans to get the votes. He will not have (nor did he have in 2018) the Kremlin manipulating social media for him and he will not be running against Hillary in 2020, so I think he’s going to be toast by 2020 if it’s not impeached first.

  • chemical

    Good analysis. Ted Cruz and the GOP should take his campaign as a loss; statewide, Dems picked up seats in the state House and Senate due to Beto voters heading to the polls in unprecedented numbers. Also, this:

    If Trump continues attacking China, he will permanently destroy (if he has not already) a primary market for midwest soybeans and other grains and his antagonism of Canada and Mexico is harming other industries.

    Trump has almost exclusively shafted his own voters. Back when he got elected, I said that Trump was like a brick thrown through America’s collective window. I spoke too soon: It seems like that brick ricocheted off the window and they hit themselves in the head with it. As a matter of fact, I’m starting to see why you think Trump is a liberal: If there was a petty, vindictive Democrat in office right now, his/her foreign and domestic policies wouldn’t differ much from Trump’s.

  • Marcion

    Trump’s cult of personality has inadvertently created the saddest group of people on the planet: people who support and defend Saudi Arabia without being paid to do it.