Broad implications of Saudi journalist death
Natta story that's been dominating recent global headlines, it's about Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi Arabian journalist who disappeared last month before that he'd been critical of the Saudi King and the crown prince, but we now know the fifty nine year old died in the Saudi Arabian consulates in Istanbul. The circumstances surrounding that are disputed, and it's also raised questions about the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia. So to learn more about the broader implications of what's happened. I spoke to Michael what he'd Hannah he's from the century foundation in New York, and is an expert in US foreign policy in the Middle East with the collapse of the traditional Arab political order would states like Egypt Syrian Iraq in K off the United States has relied even more so on Gulf countries since two thousand eleven and Saudi Arabia has taken a major role in terms of United States strategy in the region and really. The Gulf has a sumo a kind of centrality and importance that it is never had previously. Now, use vice president paints recently told a Washington Post forum the killing of Jamal Kosovo g has shaken that relationship. So in your view, what impact has this incident head so far? Well, clearly, the initial impulse of the administration was not highlight this not to seek any kind of major recalibration or reorientation of the bilateral relationship. But the killing has struck a nerve it has refused to leave the headlines. And of course, that has been Abeille pushed along by president aired on and Turkey. So the story has been front and center in a way that has forced the Trump administration to continue to reckon with it. And so whatever initial impulses the administration had I think they've been forced to revisit that approach. The investor. Conference. They obviously eventually at a later date pulled out that conference was is a yearly event meant to showcase Saudi Arabia's important investment opportunity and financial player in the region and beyond. And so it's it's one of those instances that shows the ways in which the administration has been forced to reckon with the situation in a way. Perhaps it runs contrary to their initial impulses. Text it back for a moment. What was it about Jamal? Khashoggi's work would have concerned, the country's Cran prints. Well, he he was an insider he worked at one point four Prince Turki bin face Lou headed up in the eighties headed up Saudi intelligence and later than the Saudi ambassador to the United States and the United Kingdom. So this man for most of his life was an insider and was close. To power in Saudi Arabia. He clearly fell out of favor with the ascension of man and his son Hamad Benson men. The now crown prince and had become increasingly critical his stance on regional fairs shifted along with the two thousand eleven uprisings. He had is listening clinicians, which ran contrary to I think the prevailing a world view of the crown prince and others close to him, and he had left the country was living in the United States and writing very critically and prominently in the Washington Post and more recently, those articles have been translated into Arabic so he was seen as a bringing unwanted attention to the reform efforts that the crown prince was assuring in in their view was undermining those efforts and tarnishing the Saudis, reputation, internationally and most importantly with its key ally. Why the United States? Can I ask you about US president Donald Trump's response in in a wide seems unclear at first there were concerns about an arms deal? And now he's described it as one of the worst cover-ups ever way. Does the president stand on this? I'm not sure that he knows because his answers have been vague somewhat in coherent contradictory. They seem to have shifted over time. The story isn't going away it he's being forced to reckon with this in a way that I think his initial comments suggested he was not interested in he talked very brazenly. And I think for many people shockingly about arms deals of somehow, the kind of animating rationale the relationship and something that could be paramount always in our consideration. And that was the initial impulse right after this event hit the news as time has gone on. I think we've seen slightly more critical comments and whether they intended to to react. In this way, or not I think they are being forced to reckon with it. It's clearly a big issue in congress. And I would note that congressional frustration with Saudi Arabia has been building prior to this incident. Much of that focus on the war in Yemen frustration with the trajectory of the war frustration with the Saudi approach to the war. So this has only added to that it is a very difficult environment for Saudi Arabia in Washington because I do think the depth of frustration anger in congress is something that they're really going to have to contend with and his quite serious. This has put a spotlight on Muhammed Benson men's often reckless decision making whether that be in terms of his repression of political opponents at home or his conduct regionally and most prominently in the war in Yemen. So I imagine an I hope that issues like political prisoners in Saudi Arabia and the disastrous. Warren yemen. And it's almost unbelievable humanitarian consequences are going to be things that are brought front and center by these incidents. Mark Wahid Hanna from the century foundation. He was speaking to me from New York City.