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U.S. Military Leaders silent on Saudin Arabia political situation

US Military Leaders Keep Quiet on Saudi Arabia Amid Khashoggi Outrage, Defense One 16 Oct 18  Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford this week have declined to say much on Saudi Arabia. Both leaders, in previously scheduled meetings with reporters, were asked about the kingdom and what effect the killing of Khashoggi may have on U.S.-Saudi relations. Both men deferred to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and said they were waiting for him to return to the U.S. with more “facts.” And they both implied that any related changes to Trump administration foreign policy would be given to them, not made by them. …….

Speaking to reporters traveling with him in Brussels, Pompeo said: “I do think it’s important that everyone keep in their mind that we have lots of important relationships – financial relationships between U.S. and Saudi companies, governmental relationships, things we work on together all across the world – efforts to reduce the risk to the United States of America from the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, Iran. The Saudis have been great partners in working alongside us on those issues. I could go on about places where the Saudis and the Americans are working together. Those are important elements of the U.S. national policy that are for – are in Americans’ best interests. We just need to make sure that we are mindful of that as we approach decisions that the United States Government will take when we learn all of the facts associated with whatever may have taken place.”

President Trump, meanwhile, has been giving the Saudis as much cover as humanly possible, Over the weekend, he floated the idea that “rogue killers” dispatched Khashoggi, and on Tuesday, he told the Associated Press, “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned.”………

Is the Saudi partnership still a matter of necessity? Should it be? That’s not likely the question Mattis and Dunford are asking for the near term. For them, the answer is yes. But for the long term, it’s a question for them, Pompeo,and Trump. It’s a question of whether “Saudi interests” under bin Salman still align with American interests, or just with American military and intelligence interests.

This week, national security press has been inundated with commentaries asking if the U.S.-Saudi relationship has been worth the cost. At the Pentagon, no matter the outcome of the Pompeo fact-finding trip or the Khashoggi investigation, the answer is most likely going to be a resounding yes.

October 18, 2018 - Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA, weapons and war

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