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tv   Inside Story 2018 Ep 325  Al Jazeera  November 21, 2018 8:32pm-9:01pm +03

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inside the foreign minister and i can assure my honorable friend and all the members that the foreign office will remain in close contact with matthew his family and his lawyer russia has complained that there was outside pressure that influenza vote to elect the new president of interpol south korea's kim jong young was elected head of the world's largest police agency after a strong endorsement by u.s. secretary of state michael bale moscow was hoping its interior ministry general alexander poke a choke wall is currently one of interpol's vice presidents would take a post it's a lease government won't be changing its spending proposal despite the european union commission rejecting its budget full twenty nineteen its concerned borrow and spend plans could trigger another debt crisis that would have a domino effect deputy prime minister matteo savini called any possible sanctions against italy disrespectful towards his citizens those are the headlines on the news we'll continue here right after inside story i hope you do stay with us thanks
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for watching. maybe he did and maybe he didn't trump take on the saudi crown prince's role in jamal khashoggi if he was president signals you know sanctions on too many billions of dollars of business at risk america first or just islam this is inside story.
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standing with saudi arabia the title of donald trump's statement says it all the u.s. president admits mohammed bin solomon may have known about the plan to murder john this jamal khashoggi the cia says the crown prince actually ordered it but trump's contradicted his intelligence agency saying that's not a definitive determination and in any case he says it would be foolish to take action against riyadh that would threaten lucrative weapons deals he says and push up the price of oil very simple said it's america fast but it might not be that simple all eyes are now on the u.s. congress to see what it will do and will join our guests in just a moment after this report from she ever tansey and washington. i here by the way you. are the white house thanksgiving tradition of the president pardoning a turkey took on a grim significance this year a short time earlier donald trump and made it clear he was giving the saudi crown prince a pass in the killing of saudi journalist jamal khashoggi in an eight paragraph
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statement filled with the rhetorical flourishes the exclamation marks and slogans characteristic of the president's tweets don't trump made his argument king solomon and crown prince mohammed bin simon vigorously denying any knowledge of the planning and execution of the murder of mr khashoggi our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information but it could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic events maybe he did and maybe he didn't our relationship is with the kingdom of saudi arabia donald trump went on they have been a great ally in our very important fight against iran the 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 very simply it is called america first basically he was saying that our relationship as saudi arabia's sole porn really doesn't matter later in the day mr trump was asked about his staunch support for the saudis we're not going to give up hundreds of billions of dollars in orders and
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let russia china and everybody else have a it's all about for me very simple it's america first after talks with my comp a.o. in washington the turkish foreign minister also discussed the complexity of his nation's relations with saudi arabia making it clear that i'm going to don't want to sabotage those links but he added this we know well that the team who came to istanbul did not come because they wanted to but they came at the request of somebody we know though that this person is not the king there was a withering response from the washington post who wrote four hundred list rights groups president trump is correct in saying the world is a very dangerous place the washington post said in a statement his surrender to the state. ordered murder will only make it moral so an innocent man brutally slain deserves better as does the cause of truth justice and human rights in this failure of leadership from president trump it now falls to congress to stand up for america's true values and lasting interests the committee to protect journalists tweeted this if you boil the white house statement down to
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its essence president trump has just asserted that if you do enough business with the u.s. you're free to murder journalists that's an appalling message to send to saudi arabia and the world but it seems the trumpet ministration has made a decision not to be concerned by the ridicule and disbelief that has greeted its arguments and ultimate position on the khashoggi killing shihab rattansi al-jazeera washington. ok let's bring in our guests and joining us here and doha mohamed el masry associate professor of journalism at the doha institute for graduate studies and washington d.c. . middle east analyst and columnist and in london since you have bianco senior analyst and research at gulf state and that is my warm welcome to all of you. first of all your reaction what do you make of donald trump statement which very clearly has come directly from the president himself. well what we're seeing is that the
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president trump is consistent in his trump in rhetoric and he promotes the america first agenda his rhetoric should be understood with and the context of the. american mode at the moment and the american mode whether it is in the media or in the foreign policy establishment or with india congress as that business as usual between the united states and saudi arabia cannot continue and and this path that we have been on the house for the past two years will not no longer be tolerated so president trump was essentially trying to provide rhetorical support for salvaging what is left of the u.s. saudi relationship because the congress is now moving forward with imposing sanctions on to saudi government including potentially on prince mohammed himself but do you think it strange that doesn't fully absolve mohammed bin solomon of involvement in this matter when he says it could very well be that the crown prince
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had knowledge of this tragic event that he's still very much sitting on the fence isn't he. i think that he is the liberally seeking to be big u.s. about it because on one hand his intelligence services namely to cia has concluded that this murder was ordered by the highest levels of the saudi government on the other hand the entire us foreign policy establishment understands that the eighty year old strategic alliance to it saudi arabia must continue even though saudi arabia has now committed to screw some murder so what president trump asus and chile trying to do is to balance these two things with his trump ian style and his classic rhetoric which is off putting to a lot of people obviously but it's silva just what is left of the us saudi relationship why do you think obama would have reacted any differently do you think trump is essentially taking the same line that any american president would when it comes to saudi arabia. well it's an interesting question the u.s.
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has a long history that predates donald trump and barack obama of sort of sidelining human rights issues human rights concerns for larger american strategic interests at times the u.s. government has ignored human rights violations and at other times the united states government has carried out human rights atrocities of their own all in the name of strategic interests i think the difference here is that president obama was was refined he was polished and he was he was very subtle all the while sort of paying to human rights rhetoric and principles whereas donald trump is obviously very unrefined he's not very polished he's very sort of explicit and aggressive in his tone and that is what i think many you know people including many americans and
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people inside the u.s. congress find sort of if offensive and unbecoming of the office of the presidency right we'll get back to what the u.s. mint will do in just a moment for us will since i want to bring you in at this point and just get an idea perhaps from you as to how the saudi crown prince is feeling about this statement from donald trump because as i said it doesn't absolve him of involvement in this murder but of course that keeps business as usual policy alive and well absolutely for mohamed bin some monomania that's one of the best outcomes also bull because of course president trump could not a completely in this regard to the conclusions of the cia so he chose to do something different which is throw in some plausible deniability maybe he did maybe he did and basically i don't care that much whether he did it even though he may it
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may have been responsible we will continue doing business as usual so i think that's a very that's a very welcome statement from mohammed islam. and so you think that he's going to be feeling quite happy at the moment with the reaction that we've seen so far from washington yes absolutely i think that that's the best of you could have up to four of course again it couldn't the president trump could not completely disregard all the information and the cia's assessment but it is same time is plausible deniability is everything that mohammed bin some money needed to sort of put into question even the assessment of the cia ok. donald trump left the door open for congress to make the next move the washington post says that it now falls to congress to stand up for what it calls america's true values so are we now going to see congress taking for action. we have already seen death day chairman of the
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senate foreign relations committee bob corker a republican from tennessee and this counterpart from the democratic party bob menendez have now requested that. the senate should pass legislation that would. would require require president trump to come forth for on whether or not mom had been summoned was responsible for ordering desex accused and so that's the first step the second step that is coming in is that because the cia assessment will be used as the lunch bin if you will for for the congress to determine who is responsible for disk killing. this this will help lawmakers provide a sanctions regime on the saudi leadership and potentially on the prince and self all of that could. could essentially cripple the saudi economy us it will be
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illegal for american businesses to invest in the saudi economy so that's one aspect the second aspect is that what we have seen from the russia investigation after russia interfered in the u.s. presidential elections is that even though president trump provided the rhetorical coverage for his relationship with putin president putin of russia the u.s. legislation and sanctions imposed has essentially crippled the u.s. russia relationship and i think that we can move in a similar direction now wit the u.s. saudi relationship so this extraordinary serious and therefore i think that despite all the rhetorical furious coming from president trump the relationship could only get worse from the from just point on ok but how far though do you think these moves by congress are going to go how what is actually going to be achieved if we look at the investigation. into someone's culpability and how would that work
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and then we look at sanctions on the saudi leadership of donald trump's already made it very clear that the arms sales are a red line that will not be crossed we will not lose any of the money coming from saudi arabia from that so what room has congress actually got to move ahead congress can and can apply pressure i think we should also remember that pressure from congress influenced president trump already to impose sanctions on seventeen members of the saudi royal the saudi government they were mid-level officials and already in jail for the most part in that they were sort of meaningless sanctions but it's an example of the kind of pressure that that congress can impose and as the other guest said they're now asking trump to provide a response on mohamed bin some men's involvement within the next i believe it's one hundred twenty days or a hundred twenty days from october tenth as i believe i believe the date. but i but
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i think it's also important to keep in mind that. the congress can propose legislation that would prevent arms sales to saudi arabia and there is something called a veto proof majority i'm not an expert on american the american legal system but i believe it's to a two thirds majority in both chambers so if the if if the both the republican sorry if both the house and the senate. can come up with these super majorities then it might not matter what donald trump wants or or thinks they got to see you know doing that is veto proof majority is that something that we're likely to see an act it absolutely because what we have seen as the leading up to the killing we have seen that the congressman is moving into a direction of limiting u.s. support for the war in yemen and now with the killing becoming. don't miss the
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political football which is drawing outrage not just from the media and the political establishment but also from ordinary citizens this is something that the american congress cannot let go by so. it is expected that this will easily be passed by by both houses in the congress ok since here where can and where will the u.s. likely hit saudi where it hurts i mean here it's very it's very important that we try to differentiate between the authorities and the competences of the different u.s. institutions so for instance those our thirty's like the pentagon have already taken some steps which are significant as we know they have decided to stop refueling saudi jets hitting in yemen and that's absolutely crucial for if you if you have a look at you know military capabilities in saudi arabia and how fundamental that
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pentagon support was so that's you know very significant and the same time the state department has a similar room for maneuver but i'm a bit more doubtful that actually measures that are truly i'm in full in the sense that kept could be also perceived as damaging to quote unquote strategic interests could be pasta in the congress especially because they require a two thirds majority and you know that's why i was referring to the fact that the statement that came out of the white house was very well received in riyadh because the statement also sad that trump is willing to consider other positions from congress men but there is a caveat that says if they don't hurt america and american interests in his own words or something like that. yes some of that brings us back to the original point if they're not going to hurt the trade deals between saudi and the u.s.
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what can the u.s. do to really punish saudi arabia if it wants to. well you know it depends on who you're talking about inside inside the u.s. i mean right now what we have to keep in mind is that the u.s. government is very polarized and not just between republicans and democrats but you know there there's very much a division in terms of the relationship with with saudi arabia and the affair so you know donald trump is trying to go on you know business as usual he wants to sweep all this on under the rug he's hoping that that statement will will do the trick meanwhile you have these representatives and senators who are very troubled by by what's happened happening and i think that we're still in the very early stages of a prolonged kind of power struggle and i think it's going to intensify once the democrats take former conformal control of the house of representatives and
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a couple of months ok so no clear paul for as yet from within america things here what pressure can forces outside america particular perhaps the e.u. other countries bring to bear on the u.s. to do more i think the crucial issue here is foreign direct investment so three words saudi arabia desperately needs foreign direct investment. if it were how if it wants any chance of a vision twenty thirty succeeding and we know that mohammed in some money is very popular but his popularity also depends on his ability to carry the country forward in terms of the main structural weaknesses in socio economic terms such as youth unemployment use unemployment and job creation is of course intimately related to foreign direct investment and this is actually it's not a particularly political per se but is this is actually the most important issue
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right now mohamed bin salon's desk out to a truck. this kind of investment and this kind of investment tends to be long term therefore investors are particularly concerned on political risk when they make these choices and and it's increasingly clear that they are so i think that this is the most important card to be played to understand to convey the message that these kind of of policies and it's not only related to also to the war in yemen to the initiatives against qatar so aggressive foreign policy is choices are a problem for investors because they crease political risk so this is i think the most significant card left to play ok so good news that woman sama saudi crown prince will be attending the g. twenty summit in argentina towards the end of next week that's going to be quite an
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interesting event to watch isn't it. certainly and there's been some rumors that he will even meet to at present trump that remains to be seen of course but the president erdogan of turkey will be there as well so it's important to to remember this that this crisis this trilateral crisis if you will it's it's primarily between president erdogan and and mohamed been some on would present trump really playing an outside role because what we have seen so far is that the turks have not let up on the pressure of leaking dece damaging details pertaining to the murder and details pertaining to to day operations leading up to the murders so so it is important to recognize that any sort of solution to this crisis lies in in ankara and it is on clear as of yet how this saudis and the turks can't
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negotiate between themselves now that all the details about these this murderous out in the open it and therefore i would caution that president trump is really more or less a sideshow because what he essentially did yesterday through his statement was to give space to decide the royal family to deal internally on how they want to proceed with this matter now that they know that sanctions are coming the saudi royal family need to discuss whether or not wanted been samana will remain crown prince or maybe whether he will be removed from succession and the united states and turkey do not have any influence on that internal dynamic so a lot of reckoning on that point about attacking from those i'm glad you brought into it you say that all the details are out in the open mohammed is that the case or do you think techie has any more evidence that definitively links the saudi crown prince to this not. well the turks have been very strategic they've been
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systematically leaking information kind of this drip drip manner over the last several weeks and there have been a couple times where i've thought to myself that you know maybe that's it and then they've leaked more information so i wouldn't at this point be surprised if they have they have additional information that they've just kind of been biding their time waiting for for trump to release the statement and to even maybe see how things are playing out inside inside the u.s. congress. but i think that it does appear clear at this point that you know we were a lot of people were waiting for the body to be found but it appears clear that the body is never going to be found because it was reports suggest it was do is dissolved in acid after it was dismembered. so from that standpoint i don't know that we're going to get any additional i don't i don't i don't know that we're going to get anything that explicitly and definitively links the crime to mohammed
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bin sun and in the sense that you know there's some sort of d.n.a. evidence or some sort of you know smoking gun some sort of a statement from a saudi official that says muhammad bin son you know ordered this but with the evidence that we already have that certainly appears to be the case and we'll have to just wait and see over the next few days maybe a few weeks to see if the turks have additional evidence implicating muhammad in saddam and this is why do you think the saudis have been surprised by the strength of the global reaction to. given that the reaction to the war in yemen is somewhat new to it by comparison to think they will course initially surprised to still find it pressuring the kingdom. yeah absolutely especially within you know the the decision makers to circle there was a lot of surprise at the backlash caused by these episodes. especially as
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you said because other not only other policy choices the victims of the yemen war but also other slightly similar cases all the rest so this events and other journalists where basically what left them noticed so it was it was quite a surprise and also with the general public public in saudi they were surprised that there were there was this very question just last lisa good i just want to get an idea from use you think the u.s. will ever change it stuns toward saudi no matter what it does. yeah i think you're i think it has and i think that if you look at king saul monts speech today before the shura council did day before yesterday you saw that there were some indications that saudi arabia is returning to record on court normalcy and one of those indications the call for peace talks with yemen sooty rebels the
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recognition of palestinian affairs and saudi arabia's traditional support for the palestinian cause and even what i'm hearing in washington and through my own networks this that the upcoming g.c.c. summit in riyadh which will take place on on december ninth that all the leaders of the g.c.c. countries will be there so so in other words we are expecting that the g.c.c. row will come to an end and i think that these are part of the kind of concessions that president trump has extracted from the saudi leadership here and behind us ians diplomatic dealings ok fascinating discussion once again many thanks for joining us all our guests today mohamed el masri. and cynthia bianco and thank you to very much for watching you can see the program again any time by visiting our website that's al-jazeera dot com and for further discussion do go to our facebook page that's facebook dot com for slash a.j.
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speak out as a surprise that. this job isn't just about what's on a script or a piece of pie it's about what is happening right now. that. this is al jazeera. clo this is the news hour live from my headquarters in doha for the bad people coming up in the next sixty minutes a new denial from saudi arabia insists the crown prince was not involved in the matter of jamal khashoggi despite the cia concluding he ordered the kit.


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