TEHRAN (Basirta): A prominent American analyst and former negotiator in the US administration blasted President Donald Trump for risking the country's interests for supporting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Khashoggi's case, saying that neither money nor oil can resolve the Saudis' problem.
"Saudis have finally created a problem that neither oil nor money can fix. And
the Trump Administration tethered to MBS and his reckless policies is caught
between covering for MBS and calling him out," Vice-President and Director of
Middle East Program of Woodrow Wilson Center Aaron David Miller wrote in his
twitter page on Monday.
The CNN Analyst and former Middle East analyst and negotiator in Republican and
Democratic Administrations underlined that Khashoggi's killing will leave a
stain and stench on both Saudi Arabia and the US that will not disappear easily.
"The Saudis for the killing; the Trump Administration for the acquiescing."
He noted that there will never be a moment, including 9/11, that any US
Administration has more leverage on Saudi Arabia, and said, "It’s time to use it
on Yemen; human rights and to recalibrate a relationship that’s out of control."
"The Trump Administration is becoming MBS’s lawyer and risking America’s values
and interests in the process," Miller said.
He suggested that the Saudi crown prince has clearly been watching Game of
Thrones series, noting, "He’d see the Kingdom burn if he could be king of the
The Saudi crown prince has faced growing scrutiny in recent weeks as Turkish
investigators and US lawmakers have attempted to piece together what happened to
prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi after he was last seen entering the
Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Turkish authorities reportedly have
audio they say proves Khashoggi was killed and dismembered at the facility.
While the crown prince and his father, King Salman, initially denied knowing
what happened to the journalist and outspoken critic of Saudi leadership, the
kingdom announced on Friday that Khashoggi died in a physical altercation gone
awry, and that it had detained 18 people in connection with the incident.
US lawmakers balked at the explanation and have in recent days grown
increasingly wary of the crown prince's leadership. They have noted that
Mohammad has a history of lashing out at political opponents, such as when
he detained other royals and prominent figures in Saudi Arabia last year to
consolidate power under the guise of an anti-corruption campaign.
Sen. Lindsey Graham said last week that Mohammad — known colloquially as "MbS" —
has "got to go".
Tillis on Sunday indicated he would be open to exploring the crown prince's
removal as the heir to the throne depending on the outcome of an independent
"If the facts lead to what we all suspect they will, I think it’ll be very
problematic for our relationship going forward," Tillis stated.
As critics close in, the crown prince has found an ally in Trump, who has been
publicly accepting of Saudi explanations of what happened to Khashoggi.
He at first repeatedly highlighted Mohammad and King Salman's denials of any
involvement, and later called the claim that Khashoggi died in a fist-fight a
"good first step".
Late Saturday, Trump acknowledged to The Washington Post that the
Saudis' "stories are all over the place", but indicated he still has confidence
in the crown prince.
"Nobody has told me he’s responsible," Trump said, adding that "nobody has told
me he’s not responsible. We haven’t reached that point ... I would love if he
The American leader stated that he would like to see the crown prince remain in
power, calling him a "strong person" who "truly loves his country".
While defending Saudi leadership, Trump has on multiple occasions vowed "severe"
consequences for those responsible in Khashoggi's death.
Paul, who has long been a critic of the US-Saudi relationship, said Sunday that
such a punishment should go beyond sanctions.
"I think [the crown prince] is going to have to be replaced frankly," Paul
noted, adding that "I don’t think sanctions go far enough".
Paul additionally rejected Trump's argument that lucrative weapons deals
between the US and Saudi Arabia should be off-limits because of their economic
benefits, saying arms sales should not be viewed simply through an economic
Other Republicans refrained from offering specific potential consequences on
Sunday, but said they feel confident the Trump administration will
act appropriately once US officials have access to a full complement of
intelligence in Khashoggi's killing.
"What we don't want is a ruler that's going to be around for 40 or 50 years
going around the world continuing to conduct operations like this," Corker said,
adding that "and so, collectively, we have got to deal with this in an
Democrats, meanwhile, offered up a few specific actions they'd like to see take
place in the meantime.
Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, suggested the Trump
administration expel the Saudi ambassador from the United States "tomorrow
"We ought to formally expel the Saudi ambassador from the United States until
there is a completion of a third-party investigation into this kidnap, murder
and god-knows-what-followed that occurred in Istanbul," Durbin said on "Meet the
Rep. Adam Schiff, one of Trump's most outspoken critics, seized on the Saudi
controversy to call for financial transparency from the president.
"This is the very problem with the president not releasing his tax returns,"
Schiff said, adding that "it leaves the American people wondering, is US-Saudi
policy being driven by something other than national interests".
Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, on Sunday
predicted that Trump will accept the Saudi crown prince's denials of involvement
in the murder of Khashoggi.
Schiff on ABC's "This Week" said he can "see where this is headed" but added he
does not find the prince's denials credible.
Source: Fars News Agency