The public relations effort to defend the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in spite of the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi took a fascinating turn on Saturday when a prominent defender of the country attempted to praise Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Ali Shihabi, the founder of the Arabia Foundation, posted an extended Twitter rant lashing out at critics of the Kingdom and blaming the outrage on critics of President Donald Trump.
Many of you don’t give a damn what happens to Saudi Arabia, my country, either out of ignorance or malice toward the country or out of hatred for Trump, and you see this tragic event as a convenient weapon to use against the president.# p #3_15 # ad skipped = true #
— Ali Shihabi (@aliShihabi) October 20, 2018# p #4_15 # ad skipped = true #
Later, he praised the Crown Prince.
For him to have the courage to come out now and admit to what has happened, to make a 180-degree turn in the narrative, frankly shows more courage than most politicians who have initially fallen into the cover-up trap.# p #7_15 # ad skipped = true #
— Ali Shihabi (@aliShihabi) October 20, 2018# p #8_15 # ad skipped = true #
Stanford Prof. Michael McFaul, a former National Security Council advisor and Ambassador to Russia, slammed Shihabi’s attempt to defend the Kingdom.
How do you know that the operation was "botched"? How do you know that MBS didn't order it? https://t.co/Xi0q0WTYcC# p #11_15 # ad skipped = true #
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) October 20, 2018# p #12_15 # ad skipped = true #
This lame #whataboutism is so inappropriate right now. 2 wrongs don't make a right. (If your neighbor breaks into your house, that gives you license to break into someone else's house?) https://t.co/m9WxZf5DLA# p #13_15 # ad skipped = true #
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) October 20, 2018# p #14_15 # ad skipped = true #
Ambassador McFaul said it is time for the United States to be less engaged with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.