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Trump’s Faltering Middle East Coalition

It is not surprising that Saudi Arabia’s international image has suffered in the 12 months since the brutal murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But nor is it surprising that, once the storm caused by Khashoggi’s murder had blown over, some familiar regional dynamics reasserted themselves.

MADRID – On October 2, it will be a year since the brutal murder in Istanbul of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In June this year, a United Nations report concluded that Saudi Arabia was responsible for his death, and that there was “credible evidence” implicating the country’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (widely known as MBS), in his killing at the Saudi consulate.

It is therefore unsurprising that Saudi Arabia’s international image has suffered during the past 12 months. But nor is it surprising that, once the storm caused by Khashoggi’s murder had blown over, some familiar regional dynamics reasserted themselves.

The most significant setbacks for the Saudi regime over the past year concern the ongoing war in Yemen, one of the main theaters of the regional conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran. So far in 2019, the United States Congress has adopted several bipartisan resolutions aimed at distancing the US from the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, which was instigated by MBS himself. Although US President Donald Trump vetoed these resolutions, they show that America’s political class is becoming less tolerant of the Saudi regime’s atrocities, especially since the murder of Khashoggi.

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