Was Trump betrayed by Mohammed Bin Salman
The atmosphere in the talks must have been frosty when the Saudi attorney general Saud al-Modschab met twice with the Turkish chief attorney Irfan Fidan in Istanbul at the beginning of the week. Al-Modschab, who is tasked with investigating the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who is critical of the government, had bricked the wall above all, according to the Turkish media. He did not want to name the 18 suspects and their local helpers, Turkey has been demanding their disclosure for weeks. And the man from Riyadh was more interested in whether Turkey had evidence of the suspects' connections to the Saudi royal family - whether the investigators could blame Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman directly for the murder.
The Turkish side reacted angrily, and not just behind closed doors. The Istanbul public prosecutor's office issued a statement accusing Saudi Arabia of a lack of cooperation and giving new details: Khashoggi was said to have been strangled "according to a previously drawn up plan" immediately after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Al-Modjab had to admit that the journalist was killed on purpose and not in a fight. However, this was not enough for Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdoğan - he accused Saudi Arabia of covering up those responsible for the crime.
It is not surprising that the Turkish president is putting pressure on the royal family in Riyadh. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are competing for influence in the camp of the Sunni states, the Turkish president is said to be pursuing the dream of a new Ottoman dominance in the region. And in Ankara you quickly realized that you can drive the competitor in front of you if new details from the investigation become known, bit by bit.
Riyadh also gets headwinds from completely different directions. The fact that Switzerland is temporarily suspending its arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as the Ministry of Economic Affairs announced in Bern on Wednesday, will probably not force the advisers of the heir to the throne, Mohammed bin Salman, to longer strategy meetings. The new tones from Washington’s most loyal ally, however: With Mike Pompeo and James Mattis, two high-ranking US ministers have now called for a radical change of course for the Saudi-Emirati coalition in the Yemen war: an end to the fighting and a new attempt at a political one Solution. So far, the US has supported the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the Yemen conflict, both politically and logistically. The fight on the part of the government of Yemen's President Abd Rabbo Mansur Hadi, in which Mohammad bin Salman plunged in 2015 after his appointment as Defense Minister, was part of the Trump administration's containment strategy against Iran, which supports the Houthi rebels.
Defense Minister Mattis said that he wanted to see all warring parties at a negotiating table within "thirty days", while Foreign Minister Pompeo demanded "substantial talks" in November, led by UN special mediator Martin Griffiths. The latter's last attempt to get the Houthi rebels and Yemen’s government, which operates in Saudi exile, to a table failed miserably in September. Pompeo flanked his initiative with calls for a ceasefire: The Houthis should stop firing rockets in the direction of Saudi Arabia, while the coalition should stop bombing populated areas in Yemen. Pompeo also called for a "demilitarization of the borders", heavy weapons should be placed under international control.
Washington observers, however, see no fundamental change in the US government's stance on the Saudi royal family in the demands for a ceasefire. On the contrary: if Pompeo and Mattis succeed in persuading Riyadh to give in on the Yemen issue, this might reassure members of both parties from Congress who had called for harsh sanctions against Saudi Arabia for the murder of Khashoggi, such as an end to the Negotiations on the construction of nuclear power plants. Donald Trump would then not have to sacrifice his most important ally in the fight against Iran, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman - and he does not seem to be planning to do that either: "You have not betrayed me," said the US President of the Saudi approach, "maybe you have." they betrayed themselves. "
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