Trump Administration’s Under-Handed Arms Sales To Saudia Arabia, Fires Investigator Shining Light On Abuse Of Power

Once again, the autocratic nature of Donald Trump and his administration, the danger that so many have warned about over the past three years, is coming to fruition.

It was reported late today the State Department inspector general, who was fired by Trump late last week, was in the final stages of an investigation into whether the administration had unlawfully declared an “emergency” in 2019 to allow the resumption of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for their air war in Yemen.

In other words, no small, thing, this abuse of power.

Employees from the office of the inspector general, Steve Linick, presented preliminary findings to senior State Department officials in early March.  The investigation into how Pompeo moved to end a congressional hold on arms sales to the Saudis was prompted in part by demands from congress.  

The framers of the Constitution placed checks and balances into the document for a reason.  They knew human nature could well produce someone with low-class tendencies and power-grabbing desires who also had political ambitions.  Though desiring virtuous leaders they could never have anticipated the level of deviousness that would one day sit as president in 2020.  Trump has proven over and over he simply doesn’t want any oversight or questions asked about his motivations or actions in any area of public policy and affairs.   Well, that is not how our government was constituted.

No one comes off looking good from this dismal over-reach by the grifters in the White House.  The Republicans are absolutely to blame for Trump’s autocratic behavior. This abuse of power has occurred in different ways over the years and Republicans just pretend all is fine and normal.  By allowing Trump to continuously act in such a way has placed grave consequences ahead, not only for domestic politics but also in relation to international relations.

Why this matters to us all is the chaos, famine, and diseases in Yemen threatens to ramp up and nurture the terrorist threat.  It is no surprise that jihadists thrive in these environments.  Allowing the savagery in this war zone to continue, and to abet it, gives those we voice our opposition about—al Qaeda and ISIS—a grand opportunity to grow and strengthen.   I understand that Trump does not understand, but surely some Republican Senators must grasp the facts and care enough to slap back on the power-play by Trump and Company.

Curtailing military sales to a headstrong Saudi ruler who is hell-bent on destruction in Yemen was the policy we should have undertaken.   Making him stronger with such sales is not in our best interest.  Which is always how we must view such relationships.

What this all allows for is a deeper dig by international reporters into what can only be termed a ruthless alliance between the Trump Administration and the dark and sinister  Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.  I know that American journalists and international reporters are up to the task of shining light on the grifters who now make up the Trump Family and administration.  And make no mistake that when the light shines brightly the one who will squint and squirm the most is Jared Kushner.

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Prediction: 2018 Time Person Of The Year

There are always several top contenders around the world to earn the title of Time magazine’s Person of the Year.  But it would appear from any objective view of the international arena this year one name, more than any other, deserves such a ranking.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Long before the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, there was every reason to place the Crown Prince on the magazine cover for the final year’s edition.  The always-intriguing turf battles within the ruling Saudi family, the struggle for the heart and soul of Islam, the geo-political fight with Iran, the proxy wars and alliances through-out the region has long placed Salman at the center of the news world.

The Crown Prince had allowed many–including this blogger–to see hopeful signs that modernity could take place over time within Saudi Arabia.  With that view also came the real possibility of modernity of the harsh brand of Islam which dominates the kingdom.  Wahhabism has been a most detrimental force in the region, and its export has made for terrorism around the globe.  The towering figure of Salman might have brought many changes over decades of his ruling.  Much of that is now in doubt.

What happens following the heinous murder of Khashoggi makes for another chapter yet to be written in the kingdom. The central role that Saudi Arabia plays in international relations creates many hurdles, as nations based on law and order must now seek a path forward that does not undermine their basic concepts, while at the same time grasping the need for realpolitik.

Which all leads to the most important, exasperating, mysterious, and newsworthy person of the year.

Time magazine’s Person of the Year.

 

 

Hopes Dashed By Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Love the history of Saudi Arabia and its line of leaders.  Have long wanted to take a vacation and experience the Bedouin time in the desert.

As noted on this blog over the past year I had very high hopes for Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. It was not just here at CP, either, where hope was raised.

When the crown prince visited the United States earlier this year, he was fêted in Hollywood and Silicon Valley, on Wall Street, and, of course, by the Trump White House, as a messiah—in the mold of Gorbachev or Gandhi. “Historic night it was,’’ Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson, the actor, wrote, on Instagram, of a dinner with M.B.S. hosted by Rupert Murdoch at his vineyard in Bel Air. In apparently ordering the grisly killing of a Washington Post columnist, M.B.S. wagered that the world would not miss another murdered journalist. So far, he has been spectacularly wrong, and the slow drip of information during the past two weeks—from the Turkish government and American officials—has rendered the denials of M.B.S. and other Saudis preposterous.

What Did Donald Trump Know About Saudi Intentions Regarding Jamal Khashoggi?

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The role of the free press and the right of journalists to report has taken a most severe punch to the gut.  And people need to know about it, and then care enough to demand answers.

Top Turkish security officials have concluded that the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on orders from the highest levels of the royal court, a senior official said Tuesday.

The official described a quick and complex operation in which Mr. Khashoggi was killed within two hours of his arrival at the consulate by a team of Saudi agents, who dismembered his body with a bone saw they brought for the purpose.

“It is like ‘Pulp Fiction,’” the official said.

There are piles of tweets and public statements showing the disdain, and even hatred, of Donald Trump towards reporters and the media.  He has a deep loathing for the Washington Post and  owner, Jeff Bezos.   There is also a very tight and too-close-for-comfort relationship with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman.  Trump himself was played the fool at the summit in 2017 when he was dazzled with his image flashed upon a building.  This would not be the first White House played by Saudi machinations.

So it comes as no surprise there are many questions to be asked about what the Trump White House knew leading up to the death of the Post reporter.  Perhaps bin Salman shared his opinion of Khashoggi–even in a fleeting and indirect manner–with his good friends Kushner and Trump, knowing the contempt they felt towards the free press.

There is no way that the Saudis would kill a journalist living in the United States, and working for of all papers, the Post, without some checking to see what the ramifications would be.   It is inconceivable that the Saudis would act without some license from the Trump White House.

This matter can not, and must not, be allowed to just fester like so many outrageous actions over the past 20 months.  This nation has to stand up and morally condemn Saudi Arabia’s outrageous murder of a journalist.   Without such a national response it means that America has lost her moral compass.

I have a feeling this is going to be Trump’s Benghazi when a Democratic House takes over.

This matter will not be allowed to slide away.

Best Read In Sunday Newspaper About Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

If I could journey to one place in the world at the snap of my fingers it would be–without a doubt–Saudi Arabia.  I have always been interested in the Middle East from their history to their food. And the Saud Family is without doubt the most interesting and impressive allotment of stories and intrigue among a region rife with such people and backgrounds.

As I was watching the fledged robins in our yard, I was also drinking coffee and thoroughly enjoying the long read in today’s New York Times about Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.  I am hopeful, but mindful of the limits that one with forward-thinking desires can take in a region where modernity is something which always needs to be nurtured.  If you can please take the time to read a most insightful article. 

“I believe Islam is hijacked,” Prince Mohammed told me and several other New York Times journalists during a visit in late March. Ideas gush from him in great cascades, but not a Saudi mea culpa for having inspired or underwritten some of the hijackers. The prince alluded to the mingling of men and women in the time of the prophet. So why not now? He wants to return Saudi Arabia to “normality,” a favorite term in the kingdom these days, as contrasted with what are called “30 lost years,” the time of the aberrations that helped produced Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Prince Mohammed is everywhere, even when, as in recent weeks, he scales back his public appearances. I went to see Mohammed al-Tuwaijri, the economy minister, to find out how the heir to the throne operates. He told me he’d met six times with the crown prince the previous week. M.B.S. fires rat-tat-tat questions at him: What do you need from me? What do you think of that crowd-management software for the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca? How do we make things happen? One meeting took place at 4 a.m.

Things are happening, all right. A new Jeddah airport opened last month. The Riyadh subway will begin operation next year. Saudi Aramco, the state-run oil giant, is to be partly privatized. Ground has just been broken near Riyadh on a vast, multibillion-dollar “entertainment city” that will include a Six Flags theme park and create 50,000 Saudi jobs, the minister said.