US not to put game-changing pressure on Riyadh: Prof. Entessar

TEHRAN, Oct. 24 (MNA) – Referring to weak reaction of Trump to brutal death of Khashoggi, Nader Entessar says US President will not put game-changing pressure on Saudi regime because of its possible political and economic consequences.  

Brutal killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul created a wave of reactions against Saudi young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s suppressive policies.

Despite early denials, worldwide reactions finally forced the Saudi rulers to acknowledge the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman policies.

Following the incident over the past two weeks there have been speculations about possible removal of Muhammad bin Salman from power.

To shed more light on the issue we reached out to Prof. Nader Entessar Emeritus of Political Science in University of South Alabama.

Here is the full text of his interview:

How serious and strong do you see President Trump’s reaction to savage death of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi. How should his reaction be to the issue in order to decrease criticizes and not let the issue affect the results of the upcoming congress election?

President Trump has equivocated in his responses to Jamal Khashoggi's murder.  It is clear that Trump sees the potential damage to the US-Saudi relations that may come about if the Saudi regime's gangster-like behavior is not criticized.  However, Trump is not going to do anything that might damage Washington's long-term relationship with Riyadh.  Also, the Khashoggi affair will have minimal impact on the results of the upcoming 2018 US congressional elections.  There are many issues that will affect the outcome of the upcoming elections, but the Khashoggi murder is not on the top of the list of average voting American's concern.  

Will international pressures result in changes to power structure of the Saudi Arabia?

No.  The Western countries that have leverage on Saudi Arabia, especially the United States, do not want to put game-changing pressure on the Saudi regime because they fear such pressure may have unintended consequences.  We have to remember that the al-Saud ruling regime has carried out several brutal assassinations against the Saudi dissidents and exiles over the past few years.  The Khashoggi murder is the most publicized such crimes, but it will not be the straw that will break the camel's back.  Change may indeed come about in the power structure of Saudi Arabia, but such a change will have more to do with the machinations of the House of Saud than with any international pressure. 

Will Khashoggi brutal death impose changes to destructive Saudi regional policies led by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman particularly in Syria and Iraq which has been a source of threat against national security of countries like Turkey?

No.  As long as Muhammad bin Salman is in charge of Saudi foreign policy and as long as his political umbilical cord is not severed by the Trump administration and President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, the Saudi Crown Prince will not change his destructive and destabilizing foreign policy behavior.  Sustained domestic and regional setbacks may force Muhammad bin Salman to rethink his aggressive behavior.  However, as long as the West continues to view Saudi Arabia as its reliable "milking cow," Muhammad bin Salman will continue to wreak havoc in the region and beyond.

Interview by Payman Yazdani

News Code 138987

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