The brutal killing of Washington Post Journalist Jamal Khashoggi has pointed the spotlight at Saudi Arabia, bringing attention to the regime’s many atrocities, the most significant one being the ongoing Yemen war, which the United States supports. According to the Wall Street Journal, that might soon change since Senate is set to vote on a resolution meant to withdraw American support.
In spite of overwhelming domestic — largely bipartisan — and international pressure, President Donald Trump has stuck with Saudi Arabia, once going as far as contradicting the Central Intelligence Agency’s conclusion that it was indeed the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that ordered journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, according to the Guardian.
In charge of cultivating the United States relationship with Saudi Arabia is Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House Adviser Jared Kushner. But both Kushner and Trump have been “played for suckers” by the Saudi government, according to conservative author and military historian Max Boot.
In a CNN interview broadcast Sunday, Boot argued that an intelligence report about conversations between Kushner and bin Salman shows that Saudi Arabia has found a way to take advantage of the president and his son-in-law, Raw Story reports.
“The impression from that report is that the Saudis have played Kushner and Donald Trump for suckers. There was even a slide quoted in that report, the Saudi report, that they were saying that Jared Kushner revealed his lack of familiarity with U.S.-Saudi relations. And, essentially the Saudis took advantage of that to feed a line to Kushner.”
According to Boot, the Saudi government thought to have “scored a blank check” with the Trump administration, hoping that it would broker a peace agreement between the Saudis and the Palestinians. The administration, however, is not going to change course, according to the author, which is why the Congress has to act and end the relationship between the two countries.
Throughout the interview, Boot kept referencing a New York Times report which alleges that Saudi Arabia’s government found a way to influence and cultivate inexperienced Jared Kushner. The “wooing” of the young White House adviser, according to the report, lasted for more than two years. According to the NYT, Saudi Arabia made a slew of promises in order to impress the administration, and Donald Trump appears to have fallen for them.
One of the promises Mohammed bin Salman’s government made was to buy $50 billion worth of arms deals. Trump and Kushner, however, have repeatedly insisted that the regime is going to buy $110 billion worth of arms.
According to Max Boot, the Saudis are only buying $14 billion worth of arms. Trump and Kushner “might as well claim it is a trillion dollars; it is all nonsense. It is just not true,” the author concluded, pointing out that “the benefits that Donald Trump claims for U.S.-Saudi relationship are vastly exaggerated.”