Trump has an affinity for Mohammed bin Salman: Analyst

Press TV – US President Donald Trump does not want to blame Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death due to his “affinity” for the country’s de facto leader, an American academic and analyst says.

“That the president has not taken a stronger move to denounce the crown prince of Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi killing appears to result from his affinity for the prince,” said James Fetzer, a retired professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

“He seems to like him as a person and wants to maintain their relationship,” Fetzer said in an interview with Press TV on Monday.

Trump cannot let go of bin Salman despite increasing evidence that the prince ordered the murder of the Saudi critic overseas, and that is because the US president has personal stakes in propping up Mohammed.

Saudi Arabia, after initially denying having any role in Khashoggi’s disappearance, reversed course and admitted that Saudi officials were responsible for the killing.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said the order for the operation came from the highest level of Saudi leadership but probably not King Salman, putting the spotlight instead on his 33-year-old heir.

Khashoggi was assassinated by a hit squad of 15 Saudi Arabian agents — including a frequent companion of Mohammed’s and some members of his security detail — inside the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul on October 2.

Citing informed sources, The Washington Post reported on November 16 that the CIA has concluded that bin Salman ordered the assassination.

Trump, who had already refused to directly implicate Prince Mohammed, then defied his own country’s intelligence agency by saying that the CIA assessment was “very premature.”