• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

We are inching along, but not as quickly as we (or you) would like. If you have already donated, thank you so much. If you haven’t had a chance, consider skipping the coffee this week and drop CounterPunch $5 or more. We provide our content for free, but it costs us a lot to do so. Every dollar counts.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Two Numbers That Explain Why Trump Won’t Sanction Saudi Arabia

“[W]e may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi,” US president Donald Trump told the nation on November 20, but “[t]he United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region.”

Many find the president’s statement curious indeed given the seeming consensus among the Turkish and US intelligence communities that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. But two simple numbers clarify just how much importance successive administrations,  including Trump’s, have placed on the US-Saudi relationship.

The first number is the number one.

Jamal Khashoggi was one man. He was a Saudi citizen, and considered an enemy of the state by “his” government to boot. He was neither a US citizen, nor was he killed on US soil. In fact, he was technically killed on Saudi soil — consulates enjoy the same “sovereign” status as embassies. His murder, while evil and tragic, was really not any more the business of the US government than the execution of an American in Texas would be Mohammed bin Salman’s concern.

The second number is 2,977.

That’s how many people 19 hijackers (15 of them Saudis) killed (excluding themselves) at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, and at a crash site in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.

No later than December of 2002, and presumably before that, the US government knew that the 9/11 hijackers had received significant funding and support from Saudi  government officials and members of the Saudi royal family.

That information remained classified until 2016, when 28 previously redacted pages from Congress’s official 9/11 report were finally released to the public — and still “friendly” relations between Washington and Riyadh continued without interruption.

The US invaded Afghanistan (none of the hijackers were Afghans) in response to the 9/11 attacks.

The US government insinuated a relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq as part of its justification for invading that country in 2003 (none of the hijackers were Iraqis, and in fact al Qaeda was among Saddam’s most implacable enemies).

But Saudi Arabia got a free pass, as did the United Arab Emirates (where two of the hijackers came from).

Why? Oil, money, and US foreign policy.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE control a great deal of the world’s oil, and can threaten to disrupt international oil markets (and international life in general) any time they don’t get their way.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are also the top two buyers of of US weapons.

Finally, Saudi Arabia and the UAE support the US agenda of isolating Iran and frustrating its regime’s regional ambitions, and allow the US military to operate bases on their territory pursuant to that agenda.

Next to those considerations, 2,977 murders on US soil, most of them Americans, didn’t matter to George W. Bush or to Barack Obama.

Nor do those 2,977 murders, let alone the murder of one Saudi journalist in a Saudi consulate, matter to Donald Trump.

But they should.

 

More articles by:

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 21, 2019
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Wolf at the Door: Adventures in Fundraising With Cockburn
Rev. William Alberts
Myopic Morality: The Rehabilitation of George W. Bush
Sheldon Richman
Let’s Make Sure the Nazis Killed in Vain
Horace G. Campbell
Chinese Revolution at 70: Twists and Turns, to What?
Jim Kavanagh
The Empire Steps Back
Ralph Nader
Where are the Influentials Who Find Trump Despicable?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Poll Projection: Left-Leaning Jagmeet Singh to Share Power with Trudeau in Canada
Thomas Knapp
Excuses, Excuses: Now Hillary Clinton’s Attacking Her Own Party’s Candidates
stclair
Taking Next Steps Toward Nuclear Abolition
Brian Terrell
The United States Air Force at Incirlik, Our National “Black Eye”
Paul Bentley
A Plea for More Cynicism, Not Less: Election Day in Canada
Walter Clemens
No Limits to Evil?
Robert Koehler
The Collusion of Church and State
Kathy Kelly
Taking Next Steps Toward Nuclear Abolition
Charlie Simmons
How the Tax System Rewards Polluters
Chuck Collins
Who is Buying Seattle? The Perils of the Luxury Real Estate Boom
Weekend Edition
October 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Trump as the “Anti-War” President: on Misinformation in American Political Discourse
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Where’s the Beef With Billionaires?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and the Violence of Environmental Decline
Paul Street
Bernie in the Deep Shit: Dismal Dem Debate Reflections
Andrew Levine
What’s So Awful About Foreign Interference?
T.J. Coles
Boris Johnson’s Brexit “Betrayal”: Elect a Clown, Expect a Pie in Your Face
Joseph Natoli
Trump on the March
Ashley Smith
Stop the Normalization of Concentration Camps
Pete Dolack
The Fight to Overturn the Latest Corporate Coup at Pacifica Has Only Begun
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Russophobia at Democratic Party Debate
Chris Gilbert
Forward! A Week of Protest in Catalonia
Daniel Beaumont
Pressing Done Here: Syria, Iraq and “Informed Discussion”
Daniel Warner
Greta the Disturber
John Kendall Hawkins
Journey to the Unknown Interior of (You)
M. G. Piety
“Grim Positivism” vs. Truthiness in Biography
Christopher Fons – Conor McMullen
The Centrism of Elizabeth Warren
Nino Pagliccia
Peace Restored in Ecuador, But is trust?
Rebecca Gordon
Extorting Ukraine is Bad Enough But Trump Has Done Much Worse
Kathleen Wallace
Trump Can’t Survive Where the Bats and Moonlight Laugh
Clark T. Scott
Cross-eyed, Fanged and Horned
Eileen Appelbaum
The PR Campaign to Hide the Real Cause of those Sky-High Surprise Medical Bills
Olivia Alperstein
Nuclear Weapons are an Existential Threat
Colin Todhunter
Asia-Pacific Trade Deal: Trading Away Indian Agriculture?
Sarah Anderson
Where is “Line Worker Barbie”?
Brian Cloughley
Yearning to Breathe Free
Jill Richardson
Why are LGBTQ Rights Even a Debate?
Jesse Jackson
What I Learn While Having Lunch at Cook County Jail
Kathy Kelly
Death, Misery and Bloodshed in Yemen
Maximilian Werner
Leadership Lacking for Wolf Protection
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail