Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
Members of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), based on intelligence, have alleged that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a.k.a. MBS, directly ordered a hit squad to kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2. But the Saudi royal family has vehemently denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s killing, and President Donald Trump reaffirmed his alliance with the Saudi government in an official statement released on November 20.
In his statement, the president said, “We may never know all the facts surround the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our fight against Iran. The United States plans to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region.”
Saudi Arabia’s position as an oil-producing nation, Trump stressed, makes it a valuable U.S. ally.
“After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil-producing nation in the world,” Trump stated. “They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels—so important for the world.”
Trump exalted Saudi Arabia as an ally in the War on Terror, saying, “Saudi Arabia has agreed to spend billions of dollars in leading the fight against radical Islamic terrorism.”
Trump also described Saudi Arabia as a major investor in the U.S. economy.
“After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year,” Trump said, “the kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States.”
Trump reiterated that MBS and King Salman “deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi”—also noting that the Saudi Royal family considered him “an enemy of the state” and “a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. But my decision is in no way based on that.”
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman was critical of Trump’s comments, posting on Twitter, “Trump justifies the means re his approach re Khashoggi death, revives Muslim Brotherhood smear while saying it’s irrelevant.”
Trump justifies the means re his approach re Khashoggi death, revives Muslim Brotherhood smear while saying it’s irrelevant. pic.twitter.com/rb3e0nUKWJ
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 20, 2018
Alex Henderson is a news writer at AlterNet and veteran political journalist. His work has also appeared in Salon, Raw Story, Truthdig, National Memo, Philadelphia Weekly, Democratic Underground, L.A. Weekly, MintPress News and many other publications. Follow him on Twitter @alexvhenderson.