Thomas W. Lippman – 11.5.18
A month after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, an international consensus is emerging about how to respond: deplore the crime, demand justice, but don’t cut ties with the kingdom. In particular, don’t cut off Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the man widely believed to have ordered the killing of the dissident journalist.
The ambitious, impetuous crown prince, known as MbS, is probably damaged goods as a person. He’s unlikely to receive another lavish welcome in Silicon Valley any time soon. But he has become the diplomatic equivalent of some big banks: too big to fail.
In Washington, the Khashoggi affair has become a catalyst for a reassessment of Saudi Arabia’s relentless war in Yemen and its futile boycott of neighboring Qatar. But no leader of any major country has announced a decision to blackball the prince or cut commercial or strategic ties with his country. Nor are such leaders calling directly on King Salman to remove his son from his powerful posts or curtail his responsibilities. The prospect of instability in the kingdom has spooked many officials and analysts who fear the consequences of an overt power struggle in the ruling family.Continue Reading