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USA: Trump’s Indefensible Defense of Saudi Arabia Is Aimed at Congress

Wednesday 21 November 2018, by siawi3

Source: https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2018/11/20/trumps-indefensible-defense-saudi-arabia-aimed-congress?cd-origin=rss&utm_term=Trump%5Cu2019s%20Indefensible%20Defense%20of%20Saudi%20Arabia%20Is%20Aimed%20at%20Congress&utm_campaign=%27Dangerous%27%20and%20%27Imbecilic%27%3A%20Trump%20Smears%20Khashoggi%2C%20Vows%20to%20Back%20Murderous%20Saudis%20%7C%20News%20%2526%20Views&utm_content=email&utm_source=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&cm_mmc=Act-On%20Software-_-email-_-%27Dangerous%27%20and%20%27Imbecilic%27%3A%20Trump%20Smears%20Khashoggi%2C%20Vows%20to%20Back%20Murderous%20Saudis%20%7C%20News%20%2526%20Views-_-Trump%5Cu2019s%20Indefensible%20Defense%20of%20Saudi%20Arabia%20Is%20Aimed%20at%20Congress

Statement by Peace Action

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Peace Action

Contacts:
Gabe Murphy, Peace Action, 510-501-3345 cell, gmurphy peaceaction.org
Jon Rainwater, Peace Action, 510-469-3700 cell, jrainwater peaceaction.org

Trump’s Indefensible Defense of Saudi Arabia Is Aimed at Congress

WASHINGTON - November 20, 2018 — In response to a statement from President Trump in support of Saudi Arabia, which came ahead of a vote expected in the Senate as soon as next week on whether or not to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, Jon Rainwater, Executive Director of Peace Action, released the following statement:

“By attempting to whitewash the Saudi Royals’ crimes, the President is making himself into a sort of ‘accessory after the fact’ to Mr. Khashoggi’s grizzly murder. The statement reads more like one of the President’s 5am tweets than an official White House statement. The statement slyly attacks a murdered man’s reputation by parroting Saudi talking points that refer to him as an ‘enemy of the state,’ then papers over Saudi Arabia’s disproportionate responsibility for creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen. U.S. support for the war has made us complicit in the killing of tens of thousands of civilians and a campaign that relies on starvation as its deadliest weapon. The U.S. is a party to the bloodshed in Yemen, and this statement tells us that President Trump intends to keep it that way.

“This statement was a clear shot across the bow of Congress ahead of upcoming votes on whether or not to end the U.S. role in Saudi Arabia’s disastrous war in Yemen. Presidential tantrums notwithstanding, members of Congress need to dust off their moral compasses and finally vote to extricate the U.S. from this man-made catastrophe in Yemen.”

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Also see: In Extraordinary Statement, Trump Stands With Saudis Despite Khashoggi Killing
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/20/world/middleeast/trump-saudi-khashoggi.html

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Source: https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/11/20/statement-equal-parts-dangerous-and-imbecilic-trump-smears-khashoggi-and-vows-back?cd-origin=rss&utm_term=With%20Statement%20Equal%20Parts%20%27Dangerous%27%20and%20%27Imbecilic%2C%27%20Trump%20Smears%20Khashoggi%20and%20Vows%20to%20Back%20Murderous%20Saudis&utm_campaign=%27Dangerous%27%20and%20%27Imbecilic%27%3A%20Trump%20Smears%20Khashoggi%2C%20Vows%20to%20Back%20Murderous%20Saudis%20%7C%20News%20%2526%20Views&utm_content=email&utm_source=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&cm_mmc=Act-On%20Software-_-email-_-%27Dangerous%27%20and%20%27Imbecilic%27%3A%20Trump%20Smears%20Khashoggi%2C%20Vows%20to%20Back%20Murderous%20Saudis%20%7C%20News%20%2526%20Views-_-With%20Statement%20Equal%20Parts%20%27Dangerous%27%20and%20%27Imbecilic%2C%27%20Trump%20Smears%20Khashoggi%20and%20Vows%20to%20Back%20Murderous%20Saudis

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

by
Jake Johnson,
staff writer

With Statement Equal Parts ’Dangerous’ and ’Imbecilic,’ Trump Smears Khashoggi and Vows to Back Murderous Saudis

“This Donald Trump statement—simultaneously pledging never-ending support for Saudi Arabia and blaming Iran for every Middle East problem—reads like a 6th grader’s school report.”

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media prior to his departure from the White House November 20, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media prior to his departure from the White House November 20, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In a bizarre, exclamation point-riddled statement on Tuesday that one critic said reads more “like a 6th grader’s school report” than an official White House press release, President Donald Trump shrugged at the CIA’s conclusion that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi—“maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”—and declared that the U.S. will continue to back Saudi Arabia because it is one of the world’s largest oil producers, a major purchaser of American arms, and an ally in the “fight against Iran.”

“This is, without a doubt, the most uninformed, imbecilic, toady, poorly-written, categorically untrue statement I have ever seen from a president of the United States.”
—Joe Cirincione, Ploughshares Fund

Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn just hours after his statement went public, Trump said Khashoggi’s murder “is a very complex situation, it’s a shame, but it is what it is.”

“It’s all about America first. We’re not going to give up hundreds of billions of dollars in [weapons] orders and let Russia, China, and everybody else have them,” the president added. “Saudi Arabia, if we broke with them, I think your oil prices would go through the roof. I’ve kept them down, they’ve helped me keep them down.”

Watch:

“The world is a very dangerous place!” reads the very first line of Trump’s written statement, which proceeds to falsely accuse Iran of fueling the humanitarian crisis in Yemen—a product of years of relentless bombing by the U.S.-backed Saudi coalition.

Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, denounced Trump’s attempt to blame Iran for Saudi atrocities as “shameful” and joked, “Perhaps we’re also responsible for the California fires, because we didn’t help rake the forests—just like the Finns do?”

Despite reports that the CIA has “high confidence” in its conclusion that MBS ordered Khashoggi’s killing, Trump said in his statement on Tuesday that intelligence agencies are still assessing evidence and proclaimed, “It could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event—maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”

“That being said,” the president continued, “we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

“Today’s delusional White House statement makes clear the Trump will do just about anything to protect his business interests and his dangerous march to war with Iran.”
—Kate Kizer, Win Without War

Trump goes on to smear Khashoggi by parroting Saudi Arabia’s talking point that the Washington Post columnist and U.S. resident was an “enemy of the state” and “a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Foreign policy experts and peace activists were aghast at Trump’s fact-free and downright strange statement, which comes on the same day the CIA is expected to present its full findings on Khashoggi’s murder to the president.

“This is, without a doubt, the most uninformed, imbecilic, toady, poorly-written, categorically untrue statement I have ever seen from a president of the United States,” Ploughshares Fund president Joe Cirincione wrote on Twitter. “A complete disgrace.”

Jon Rainwater, executive director of Peace Action, said the president is “making himself into a sort of ’accessory after the fact’ to Mr. Khashoggi’s grizzly murder” by working hard to “whitewash the Saudi Royals’ crimes.”

“The U.S. is a party to the bloodshed in Yemen, and this statement tells us that President Trump intends to keep it that way,” Rainwater added. “Presidential tantrums notwithstanding, members of Congress need to dust off their moral compasses and finally vote to extricate the U.S. from this man-made catastrophe in Yemen.”

During a press conference after Trump’s statement went public on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stood firmly behind the president’s remarks and expressed confidence that billions of dollars in weapons deals with the Saudis “will be completed in a timely fashion.”

William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, argued in a new report (pdf) that Trump is vastly inflating the economic impact of U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia in order to justify maintaining his cozy relationship with the kingdom.

“The president’s assertion that it is possible to balance benefits to the U.S. economy against the heinous behavior of an ally doesn’t hold up to scrutiny,” Hartung wrote. “No economic benefit, no matter how large, can justify continuing to arm a regime that has not only killed a journalist in the most brutal way imaginable but has killed thousands of civilians in indiscriminate bombing attacks in Yemen, many of them with U.S.-supplied bombs and aircraft. But if economic arguments are to be brought into play, they should at least be accurate. This has not been the case.”