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Trump calls MBS his ‘friend’ — 18 months to the day after Jamal Khashoggi’s murder

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/trump-calls-mbs-his-friend--18-months-to-the-day-after-jamal-khashoggis-murder/2020/04/05/44f276c0-75e9-11ea-87da-77a8136c1a6d_story.html

“.......Just spoke to my friend MBS (Crown Prince) of Saudi Arabia, who spoke with President Putin of Russia, & I expect & hope that they will be cutting back approximately 10 Million Barrels, and maybe substantially more which, if it happens, will be GREAT for the oil & gas industry!” Trump tweeted on Thursday.

This quickly turned out to be — surprise, surprise — false, at least in its details; the Kremlin denied that Putin and Mohammed bin Salman had spoken.

It may well prove false in the big picture, too. There is no sign of an agreement between Russia and Saudi Arabia. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that those two countries wouldn’t throttle back unless U.S. producers also reduced output, which could, among other complications, put them on the wrong side of U.S. antitrust law.

All of which would fit the pattern of Trump’s infatuation with the Saudi royal family, which from the start has played him for a fool. Trump made Saudi Arabia his first overseas destination, and the king threw a dazzling reception and promised, Trump claimed, to buy hundreds of billions of dollars worth of U.S. weaponry.

In the years since, few of those sales have materialized. Meanwhile, the administration has sent thousands of U.S. troops to help defend the kingdom, even as Trump claims to be disentangling from the Middle East. The United States has signed on to or acquiesced in every reckless MBS action — a feud with neighboring Qatar, a disastrous war in Yemen, his purges of princes, his torture of activists. And his murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi was 59 at the time of his death. He will be forever 59. The rest of us get older. But not all of us learn as we do.

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