Love Affair Continues Between Trump and The Authoritarians

Feels Right at Home in the House of Saud

Robin Wright: “With the tacit support of President Trump, King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his powerful son launched an unprecedented purge of their own family over the weekend. The major targets were royal brethren who controlled money, the media, or the military.”

“‘It’s the equivalent of waking up to find Warren Buffett and the heads of ABC, CBS and NBC have been arrested,’ a former U.S. official told me. ‘It has all the appearances of a coup d’état… The kingdom has never been this unstable.'”

“Both critics and supporters believe that the purge’s mastermind is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has had a meteoric rise since he was appointed by his father to be defense minister, at the age of twenty-nine, in 2015.”

“The Trump Administration supports the sweeping changes that have redefined the kingdom—and the royal family—over the past two years.”

“[It] has heavily courted the House of Saud; Trump’s first foreign trip was to Saudi Arabia. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, made an unannounced trip to the desert kingdom in late October—his third this year. Officially, the focus was the Middle East peace process, but he has developed a close relationship with the Saudi Crown Prince. (Both are in their thirties.)”

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