Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Family Interest

Riyadh (probably) doesn't own President Trump- but it has taken a lease out on him. In March The Intercept reported

In late October, Jared Kushner made an unannounced trip to Riyadh, catching some intelligence officials off guard. “The two princes are said to have stayed up until nearly 4 a.m. several nights, swapping stories and planning strategy,” the Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported at the time.

What exactly Kushner and the Saudi royal talked about in Riyadh may be known only to them, but after the meeting, Crown Prince Mohammed told confidants that Kushner had discussed the names of Saudis disloyal to the crown prince, according to three sources who have been in contact with members of the Saudi and Emirati royal families since the crackdown. Kushner, through his attorney’s spokesperson, denies having done so....

One of the people MBS told about the discussion with Kushner was UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, according to a source who talks frequently to confidants of the Saudi and Emirati rulers. MBS bragged to the Emirati crown prince and others that Kushner was “in his pocket,” the source told The Intercept.

The spokesperson for Kushner attorney Abby Lowell denied the charge, but that was seven months before USA intelligence determined with "high probability" that Mohammed bin Salman, the son of Saudi King Salman, knew that his subjects had murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi. That was in turn a few weeks before the President would remark "maybe he did, maybe he didn't."

Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince bin Salman, the de facto leader of the Kingdom. "A senior Saudi source," according to London-based online news outlet Middle East Eye, maintains Pompeo gave the pair a plan which includes "an option to pin the Saudi journalist’s murder on an innocent member of the ruling al-Saud family in order to insulate those at the very top." Although the person has not been selected yet, "Saudi leaders are reserving the use of that plan in case the pressure on bin Salman, also known as MBS, becomes too much."

Amid growing criticism and pressure to acknowledge the obvious, President Trump on Tuesday issued a statement defending the Saudi government. An assistant professor at the Ottawa University Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, Thomas Juneau, has thoroughly refuted Trump's claims that: Iran is responsible for a bloody proxy war in Yemen; Assad has killed millions of his own citizens; Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave; Saudi Arabia has agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the US; $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from US companies; if we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries; King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder.

Otherwise, what Trump stated was largely accurate. (Otherwise, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?) President Trump has chosen Saudi national interest over USA national interest because Riyadh's national interest and the Trump family interest happily coincide. The executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which is involved in two lawsuits charging the President with violation of the Constitution's Emoluments Clausenotes Trump

and his businesses have continued to benefit substantially from Saudi customers, including the government of Saudi Arabia. Press reports have indicated that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has recently paid for rooms and meals at the Trump hotels in Washington and Chicago. In 2017, Saudi lobbyists spent $270,000 to reserve rooms at Trump’s hotel in Washington. The kingdom itself paid $4.5 million in 2001 to purchase a floor of Trump World Tower and continues to pay tens of thousands in annual common charges to Trump businesses for that property (the total of which could be up to $5.7 million since 2001, according to one estimate). In the past year, as bookings fell overall, Trump’s hotels in New York and Chicago reported a significant uptick in bookings from Saudi Arabia. And a major factor in a recent increase in revenue for the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Manhattan was that Saudis accompanying the crown prince during a recent visit stayed there, as The Washington Post has reported.

Trump said at a campaign rally in 2015 about Saudi Arabia: “I get along great with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”

What’s notable about that statement is not just the president’s description of his significant business ties to Saudi Arabia but his stark admission that he is inclined to look favorably on those who give him business.

The head of an organized crime cartel, Donald Trump' is the master of the shakedown. Thus the rationalization of his defense of Saudi Arabia was riddled with inaccuracies, which would have been more honest and simple if he had merely stated "they bought me off. So what are you going to do about it?"

                                                HAPPY THANKSGIVING

No comments:

The Ignominious Thirteen

Say their names. There are fifteen members of the United Nations Security Council , of which five are permanent: China, France, Russia Fe...