Blog note: The killing of Jamal Khashoggi has geo-political and prophetic significance. It has exposed the extremes that the Saudi Government will go to ‘silence’ even the smallest or greatest of dissent and criticism. It also showcases the growing evil behind Mohammed Bin Salman and the cult of obedience to him. He is highly regarded by his millennial generation (he is in his early 30’s) and is widely considered the future face of the country. He is also in line to become the 8th King of Saudi Arabia from the House of Saud. However, his track record in the very few short years he has been on the stage in the Middle East is worrisome. Yes, there have been despots and dictators all over the Middle East for decades. Nothing new. HOWEVER, the power that is coalescing around Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) is worrisome because of the role Saudi Arabia plays in the Middle East, its size and influence with OPEC, its role as one of the largest oil producers in the world, its relationship with the U.S./Trump over arms deals, its oil agreements with Putin/Russia and so on. Strangely, Saudi Arabia and ‘MBS’ have sided with Israel, since IRAN is both Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s nemesis in the Middle East. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. This is a fairly recent development and has further prophetic implications because other Arab countries tend to follow the Saudi’s lead. Mohammed Bin Salman has that much political and financial muscle with most of his Arab brethren. All of this on-top of the pending ‘deal of the century’ by Donald Trump to offer or create an ‘agreement’ (covenant) of ‘peace and safety’ or ‘peace and security’ between Israel and the Palestinians. The so-called ‘two state solution’. Jared Kushner, Trump’s creative genius behind crafting the plan has routinely met with and conferred with Mohammed Bin Salman during the construction of this ‘peace’ plan. Presumably, whatever peace plan is unveiled and agreed upon between the parties will have to gain wider acceptance in the region by means of a ‘confirmation’ or verification that everyone in the region will abide by the covenant or agreement. Perhaps it will be up to the MBS and Saudi Arabia to police and ensure that the plan will be enforced and actively implemented by all those concerned. The ‘Big Brother’ in the region will make sure everyone toes the line and doesn’t cross the agreement. Who in the region might have the ‘political weight’ or strength to solidly ‘confirm’ the ‘covenant of peace and security’ for Israel? Mohammed Bin Salman. End of note.
Blog note 2. If you have followed the world wide reaction to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, most world leaders are tip-toeing around doing anything constructive against Saudi Arabia and Mohammed Bin Salman. Excuses have ranged from protecting arms deals, to keep the oil flowing, to maintain ‘stability’ in the Middle East (keep the status quo), to keep the allegiance and alliance together against Iran and so forth. There are higher geo-political issues at stake than severing political, military and financial relationships with Saudi Arabia and MBS because the Saudi’s killed a dissenter. MBS will come out of this relatively unscathed. Already, there are scapegoats and fall-guys. Nothing new here. No one wants to touch Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) for all these reasons and more. Oh, by the way, follow the BIG-BIG-BIG money… The recent investment initiative held in Saudi Arabia still drew some of the world’s biggest money kingpins from Japan and Europe. Even with some invited attendees sitting out the conference because of the Khashoggi killing, Saudi Arabia still received commitments of an additional $50 Billion investment funds. This is on TOP of a $2 Trillion sovereign investment fund that MBS has set up to fund his ‘vision 2030’ agenda and NEOM, a $500 Billion Babylon/high-tech oasis in Saudi Arabia that is planned to be 26,500-square km (10,230-square mile) business and industrial zone that will sit on the intersection of three countries, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt and is on both the Red Sea and Sea of Aqaba. It will be 17X the size of London and 22X the size of New York. All of these are the Great Convergence of Signs. End of note.
Kushner’s relationship with Salman has been the subject of intense scrutiny and criticism.
10/16/2018 04:43 pm ET/ Hunter Walker. Yahoo News.
WASHINGTON — With a mounting uproar over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has been playing a critical role in the White House’s response to the situation, according to multiple sources.
A senior Trump administration official said Kushner has a close relationship with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the heir to the Saudi throne, and the pair have been in direct phone conversations about Khashoggi. These calls have been part of a White House push to get Saudi Arabia to participate in an investigation into Khashoggi’s case.
Kushner’s relationship with Salman has been the subject of intense scrutiny and criticism. Other sources who spoke to Yahoo News about Kushner’s role in the effort provided new details about his thinking regarding the Saudi heir. All of the sources requested anonymity in order to discuss high-level diplomatic strategy. One source familiar with Kushner’s work said he is playing an important role in deciding how the White House will react to Khashoggi’s disappearance and communicate with the Saudi government.
“He’s deeply, deeply involved in what’s going on,” the source said of Kushner.
Khashoggi, a U.S. permanent resident and contributor to the Washington Post, went missing on Oct. 2 after going to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to complete paperwork needed to allow him to marry his Turkish fiancée.
Once a connected insider, Khashoggi had become an outspoken critic of the Saudi monarchy. The Turkish government, which has a tense relationship with Riyadh, has alleged that Saudi Arabia dispatched a 15-member team to kill Khashoggi while he was inside the diplomatic post. Saudi Arabia initially denied playing any role in Khashoggi’s disappearance, but there have been multiple reports in the past 24 hours that the Gulf nation is preparing to say that Khashoggi died during a botched interrogation.
Khashoggi’s disappearance, and what some critics have called a tepid response from the Trump administration, have led to criticism of Kushner over his close relationship with Crown Prince Salman. Kushner, whose White House portfolio includes Middle Eastern affairs and spearheading a peace plan between Israel and Palestine has enjoyed a closer partnership with the crown prince since Trump took office last year. Kushner was a key force behind the president’s decision to make Saudi Arabia the destination for his first foreign trip in May 2017. Crown Prince Salman and Kushner have met for lunch at the White House and stayed in regular phone contact.
Critics have accused Kushner of buying into a media narrative that Crown Prince Salman has aggressively pushed since June 2017 when the Saudi King changed the order of succession and made Salman heir to the throne.
With the help of a robust public relations operation, Salman cast himself as a reformer bent on modernizing Saudi Arabia with measures that included allowing women to drive and launching an economic initiative designed to encourage tech startups and decrease the country’s dependence on oil. Salman also visited the United States, including a trip to California where he hobnobbed with the elite in Silicon Valley and Hollywood.
However, even as Salman launched his charm offensive, Saudi Arabia carried out a brutal anti-corruption drive that saw scores of business leaders jailed, arrested journalists, and led a military campaign in Yemen that has led to widespread civilian deaths.
The source familiar with Kushner’s work on Saudi Arabia rejected the notion he was taken in by Salman. They said Kushner was always a “pragmatist” about the Saudi prince and never expected the country to turn into a “liberal democracy overnight.”
A second source familiar with Kushner’s work on Saudi Arabia said Kushner is working closely with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton. They described it as a coordinated effort that is leveraging Kushner’s ability to connect with the crown prince over the phone. The source also pushed back on the popular notion that Kushner was the driving force behind the White House’s decision to develop a strong relationship with Saudi Arabia. They said the full Trump administration thought it was a bet worth taking even though officials recognized the outcome was unclear.
A senior administration official confirmed Kushner is playing a major role in the White House response to Khashoggi’s disappearance. According to the official, the White House is focusing on pushing Saudi Arabia to conduct a full investigation with Turkish participation. That effort is being led by President Trump, who is in direct talks with the Saudi king. Trump is being supported by the trio of Pompeo, Kushner, and Bolton. The official said Pompeo, who flew to Saudi Arabia, is leading the way, while Bolton is coordinating with Trump, and Kushner is supporting their efforts by serving as a direct line of communication to the crown prince including the phone calls between the two discussing Khashoggi.
A former White House National Security Council official said Kushner has been a “key player” on Gulf strategy since Trump took office and that his views on Salman have undergone “an evolution” during that time.
“Jared’s been key to this from the beginning. … When he came in, he had never dealt with this stuff before. He did have a naive understanding of this and, I think, he did buy into immediately this ‘MBS’ aura. You know, a ’he’s another young guy like me type of thing,’” the former official said. “But I think over time, Jared’s come to see that he’s still going to be an autocrat.”
The former official, articulating a sentiment that appears to be shared by others in the White House orbit, said no one should act surprised about the Saudis killing Khashoggi.
“They’ve been an autocratic regime for sixty years that has beheaded people in the streets,” the source said. “They’re perpetrating terrible human rights abuses in Yemen.”
Despite awareness of Saudi Arabia’s bad behavior, a close relationship with the Kingdom has emerged as a cornerstone of Trump administration policy in the Middle East. Major priorities for the White House in the region include brokering a peace deal between Israel and Palestine, confronting the Iranian regime, terrorism funding, and the situations in Syria and Yemen.
The former NSC official argued it would not make sense to compromise the U.S.-Saudi relationship, even if the country admits responsibility for Khashoggi’s death.
“Anybody that says that we should blow up the peace plan or that we should basically blow up finally having some Middle Eastern unity over Iran, if they think we should do that over the death of one person, it’s a little ridiculous,” the former official said.