According to international affairs analyst writing for Foreign Policy, President Donald Trump will likely do little to nothing about the reported brutal murder of a Washington Post reporter at the hands of Saudi operatives.
As reports continue to trickle in that reporter Jamal Khashoggi may have been lured to the Middle East, only to be slaughtered on orders from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, analyst Michael Hirsh ticked off the many reasons Trump will look the other way.
Among those variables: the U.S. government’s need to maintain financial ties to the oil-rich and wealthy country and Trump’s antipathy towards the press.
Calling the longtime U.S./Saudi relationship one based upon a “Faustian” contract, Hirsh writes, “For the Trump administration, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman might be the perfect Middle East partner. He leads a strategic alignment against Iran, maintains quiet ties with Israel, and buys billions of dollars in U.S. weapons.”
“For Mohammed bin Salman, Trump is an equally convenient ally,” he adds. “The U.S. president doesn’t get too worked up about democracy and human rights—or the fate of an individual Saudi journalist who disappeared in Turkey.”
Pointing out that the reported murder of the journalist “Is part of an increasingly brazen—indeed unprecedented—Saudi campaign to silence dissenters who might question Mohammed bin Salman’s legitimacy since he was selected over ousted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef,” Hirsh stated: “Trump administration continues to respond to questions about Khashoggi’s fate with extreme caution, for the most part echoing the Saudi official line that it doesn’t know what happened to him.”
“Trump’s larger Middle East agenda, particularly aligning with both Saudi Arabia and Israel to contain Iran, appears to be the main reason for his silence on Mohammed bin Salman’s human rights record,” Hirsh explained. “And in the case of Khashoggi, the U.S. president has opened the door to physical attacks on journalists by repeatedly calling the media ‘the enemy of the people.'”
According to Bruce Reidel, a retired CIA official and a Middle East expert who has advised four U.S. Presidents, Trump will likely sit on his hands and hope it all blows over.
“I’m sure the demise of a Washington Post journalist is not a priority for a ‘fake news’ president,” Riedelbluntly stated. “I don’t think the Trump administration is going to do anything about Khashoggi.”
You can read more about the relationship between Trump — and in particular Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s — relationship with Mohammed bin Salman here.