Who needs Saudi Arabia? Not the US.

By

Opinion

October 17, 2018 - 11:52 AM

Saudi Arabia, so far, has tried bluster and bullying to silence the questions about journalist Jamal Khashog­gi, who disappeared in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago Tuesday. On Sunday, a regime statement threatened to “respond with a larger action” to any sanc­tion stemming from the case; Saudi-owned media floated such steps as cutting back oil production, buying arms from Russia and holding back counterterrorism in­telligence. On Monday, King Salman told President Trump in a phone call that he “de­nies any knowledge of what took place,” according to Mr. Trump, who added “it sound­ed to me like maybe it could have been rogue killers.”

That preposterous sugges­tion may have anticipated a change in the Saudi story; CNN reported that the re­gime was preparing to admit that Mr. Khashoggi died in an interrogation gone wrong. If so, there must be conse­quences not just for those who supposedly erred in kill­ing the journalist but also for whomever ordered the illegal operation in the first place. U.S. intelligence intercepts suggest the order came from Mohammed bin Salman, the reckless crown prince whose excesses had been criticized by Mr. Khashoggi in columns for The Post.

We expect to learn more soon: Whatever happened to Mr. Khashoggi appears to have been recorded on video or audiotape. In the mean­time, it’s worth considering just how much the United States might have to lose if its relationship with Saudi Arabia ruptured. What about that oil, and the $110 billion in arms purchases Mr. Trump keeps talking about? What about the war on terrorism?

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