US will never damage relations with Saudi Arabia: analyst

Press TV – The US government would never take a tough stance against its strategic ally Saudi Arabia over the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, says a former US diplomat. 

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the gruesome murder of Khashoggi in the Arab kingdom’s consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul last month, a report says.

In a report published on Friday, The Washington Post, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, said that the American spy agency had reached the conclusion that the Saudi de facto ruler had ordered the assassination, contradicting Riyadh’s claims that he was not involved in the killing.

Speaking to Press TV on Saturday, Michael Springmann, a former US diplomat in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, said US interests would never allow a change in relations between Washington and Riyadh.

The former diplomat said US President Donald Trump is not willing to risk losing the multi-billion dollar arms contracts signed with Riyadh over Khashoggi’s death.

“Despite the CIA revelations, there is too much at stake for any change to be made,” he said.

Springmann said Saudi Arabia’s leaders could well be given a mild punishment from Washington for their crime.

“They may sanction the Saudis and seize some properties,” he said, adding,”It is going to be a political dust up that will disappear after a couple of weeks.”

US investigative journalist Wayne Madsen had a similar viewpoint on the subject.

Trump’s personal business ties with Saudi Arabia and his connections to the Saudi royal family will prevent him from punishing Riyadh,  said Madsen, an author and columnist who specializes in intelligence and international affairs.

The killing has triggered a political crisis in Saudi Arabia as well as tensions with Western allies.

On Friday, the United States imposed economic sanctions on 17 Saudis involved in the murder of Khashoggi, including top aides of bin Salman.

The measure was unusual for Washington, which rarely imposes sanctions on Saudi nationals. The sanctions do not target the Riyadh government, an important US security and economic ally.

Some members of the US Congress said that even with the sanctions the Trump administration has not been tough enough, specifically in regard to the crown prince, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler.