Saudi King Salman Intervenes to Handle Khashoggi Incident Fallout
According to Reuters, the furor over what happened to Jamal Khashoggi got king Salman involved to handle things – “check(ing) his son’s power,” according to “five (unnamed) sources with links to the royal family.”
Nine days after Khashoggi’s disappearance, close king Salman aide prince Khaled al-Faisal was dispatched to Istanbul to take control over trying to defuse the crisis – likely with orders to do whatever it takes to cool things down.
According to an unnamed source Reuters quoted, “(t)he selection of Khaled, a senior royal with high status, is telling as he is the king’s personal adviser, his right hand man, and has had very strong ties and a friendship with (Turkish President) Erdogan” – despite overall strained bilateral relations.
Because of king Salman’s poor health, he turned over running the country to his son, crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), a major error in judgment, his ineptness proving it, begging the question whether the king intends a change of command.
Intervening over his son’s authority may be prelude to replacing him as crown prince. A week after Khashoggi’s disappearance, I asked if the incident may be MBS’ undoing.
His status and ascension to the kingdom’s throne may be jeopardized. King Salman may may try soothing international furor by appointing another royal family member to succeed him.
Sources cited by Reuters indicate the king’s intervention “reflects growing disquiet” in the kingdom about MBS’ fitness to govern.
He’s a reformist in name only, governing ruthlessly, acting harshly against potential rivals, other ruling family members, and Saudi businessmen on alleged corruption charges.
His alliance with Washington’s endless war in Yemen has been disastrous, creating the world’s gravest humanitarian crisis, the lives and welfare of millions of Yemenis jeopardized.
Was the Khashoggi incident the last straw for king Salman? According to a source Reuters quoted, “(e)ven if (MBS) is his favorite son, the king needs to have a comprehensive view for his survival and the survival of the royal family.”
“In the end, it will snowball on all of them” if things keep spinning out of control. MBS miscalculated, believing the incident would fade from world headlines quickly.
While admitting that Khashoggi was likely killed inside the Saudi’s Istanbul consulate, Trump and regime officials are going all out not to jeopardize longstanding relations.
Reuters: “Reaction and threats to the possible sanctions of the last 24 hours were still (coming) from the crown prince. The king is now holding the file personally…and the tone is very different,” according to a source close to the royal family.
Another source said he’s been largely detached from day-to-day MBS decision-making – “living in an artificially-created bubble.”
“(P)eople around him are starting to tell him to wake up to what’s happening” and reassert his authority, regardless of his poor health.
Clearly MBS was responsible for Khashoggi’s fate. Demoting him in favor of a new crown prince may be the only way to diffuse things.
According to Middle East Institute president Paul Salem, the US and Saudi Arabia are longstanding strong allies because of its oil, its influence on “global finance and economics,” along with “(m)uch of (its) great wealth flow(ing) into the US economy in terms of investments, arms purchases, or other businesses setting up shop in Saudi Arabia.”
Both countries benefit politically, economically and militarily from the relationship, Riyadh a key US strategic partner.
The Khashoggi incident won’t change things, the furor persisting longer than was likely believed earlier.
A Final Comment
According to the neocon/CIA-connected Washington Post, “a cadre of (hardline) House Republicans allied with Trump…are mounting a whispering campaign against Jamal Khashoggi.”
They’re aiming to smear his reputation to try “preserv(ing) the US-Saudi relationship and avoid confronting the Saudis on human rights.”
Demeaning a brutally murdered prominent figure by a ruthless regime will likely backfire if pushed too far.
US/Saudi ties will remain strong without stooping this low.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”