Frankly, this was not the first, and it will not be the last time that the American President Donald Trump insults the Saudi King, but we are a nation who is afflicted with forgetfulness. While the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited the US, the American President said, in a phone call to the Saudi King, “King, we’re protecting you. You might not be there for two weeks without us. You have to pay for your military; you have to pay.”
Trump has made such remarks before, but this is the first time he has repeated such comments at a political rally, before the eyes and ears of the world. He is humiliating Saudi Arabia and offending its King publically, not behind closed doors, where we are certain that worse and uglier is said.
In my opinion, Trump is a man who is honest with himself and operates based on the logic of business and the language of numbers and calculations, not the language of politics and diplomacy, which he never learned or doesn’t understand. He is a businessman and has not let go of that part of himself, remaining loyal to it, and it has become the central part of what makes up his character. We watched him during his presidential campaign promise the American people the money of the Gulf and threatened the Gulf leaders, who he likened to cows, with milking them and then slaughtering them.
He is now keeping his promise and doing good on his threats. It is ironic that even though the Gulf leaders heard Trump’s warning, they were the keenest on and supportive of him. Countries such as the UAE spend tens of billions of dollars to ensure his victory over Hilary Clinton, who, according to them, supported the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood phobia will continue to haunt them and blind them until they lose their thrones themselves.
Trump was not satisfied with the half a trillion dollars he took from Saudi Arabia during his promising visit last year. He wanted more milk this year, as the annual payment for protecting them, as he has reiterated in three consecutive speeches made in less than a week. In Mississippi, he said, “We protect Saudi Arabia — would you say they’re rich?” “And I love the king, King Salman, but I said, ‘King we’re protecting you. You might not be there for two weeks without us. You have to pay for your military; you have to pay.’”
Two days before that, at a rally in West Virginia, he said, “King, you have got trillions of dollars. Without us, who knows what’s going to happen. …. With us, they are safe. But we don’t get what we should be getting,” In his last speech in Minnesota, he said, “Excuse me, King Salman’, he is my friend, ‘do you mind paying for the military? Do you mind? Pay!’… I said, ‘do you mind paying?’ ‘But nobody has asked me’, I said ‘but I’m asking you, King.”
The truth is that despite the brazen language, far from the diplomacy followed by the world leaders, that carry explicit threats, Trump was also correct in what he said. Yes, the US is protecting the Al-Saud throne. This is an old agreement that was made during the secret meeting between President Franklin Roosevelt and King Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, the founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, aboard the USS Quincy.
The truth is that although the language of sophistication is far removed from the diplomacy of heads of state, and the style of humiliation carries a clear threat, but Trump was also correct in what he said! This is an old agreement between US President Franklin Roosevelt and King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, the founder of Saudi Arabia, aboard the USS Quincy cruiser on February 14, 1945, known as the Quincy Agreement. The most important clause in the agreement stipulates that the US will provide unconditional protection to the ruling Al-Saud family in exchange for Saudi Arabia guaranteeing the oil supply the US deserved.
The deal was supposed to last 60 years, and then President George W Bush renewed the agreement for another 60 in 2005. Trump was also truthful regarding the protection the US pledged, but he wasn’t accurate regarding the stipulation Saudi Arabia adhered to for decades. Saudi Arabia was generous, and not like he said, not at the desired level. Saudi Arabia also controlled the world oil prices through OPEC, keeping it at a price that pleases the US and obeyed the order of the American master.
Now Trump is attacking OPEC and said in his speech before the UN General Assembly, “OPEC nations are as usual ripping off the rest of the world, and I don’t like it. Nobody should like it. We defend many of these nations for nothing, and then they take advantage of us by giving us high oil prices. Not good.”
It seems that President Trump wants to amend the Quincy Agreement in a manner that grants the US all of the revenues from the Saudi oil wealth in return for protecting Saudi Arabia.
It is interesting that Saudi Arabia did not respond to Trump’s humiliation as an independent sovereign state nor the insult of its king with any official statement issued by the Royal Court followed by a firm political stance or stern diplomatic action against the United States. However, a week later, the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, told Bloomberg, “I love working with him. You know, you have to accept that any friend will say good things and bad things,” about Trump. This is a shameful response, no less shameful and humiliating than Trump’s remarks about them, as Bin Salman’s response confirms Trump’s remarks and indicates the fragility of the Saudi state and supports dependence on the US.
However, it seems that the arrogant youth, Bin Salman, who rules the Kingdom, has racked his brains for a new way to respond to Trump in a manner that allows him to seek revenge and regain his dignity. He abducted the Saudi journalist who writes for American’s The Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi, in Turkey, after ambushing him at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Jamal Khashoggi entered the embassy and had not emerged, and four days after he was abducted, the Turkish and Saudi sides exchanged narratives and claims about whether or not Khashoggi was in the consulate.
The Saudis have confirmed that he left the consulate, while the Turks claim he did not and that he is still in the embassy. Claims were made back and forth until Reuters announced his death on Saturday in the embassy, and unofficial news stories were reported. The Turkish authorities have not issued any official statements regarding his death so far, while the security sources leaked statements of him being killed inside the Saudi embassy to the news agencies. Several news sources had added that he was tortured before he was murdered and that his body was cut into several pieces.
This is the action of criminal gangs and thugs, not countries governed by a constitution and treat their citizens based on the rule of law. Such actions are not new or strange to the Al-Saud family, as their forefathers established their kingdom over the remains and bodies of the tribes they unjustly and aggressively invaded.
This is neither the first nor the last time that Saudi opposition figures were abducted from exile and deported to Saudi Arabia. The country has a shameful and long history in this regard, as it seized the dissident, Nasser Al-Saeed from Beirut in 1979, with the help of one of his Palestinian friends from the PLO, and his fate remains unknown until today. Kidnapping dissidents are not limited to members of the public but have also included members of the royal family, the fate of many remain unknown. There are thousands of male and female scholars, clerics, intellects, economists, university professors, and activists behind bars.
The announcement of Khashoggi’s assassination was a shock that shook the world humanitarian conscience. How could this happen to a peaceful man and a journalist who has nothing other than his thoughts and pen to serve the humanitarian issues, freedom, justice, and dignity. He was a staunch supporter of the Arab Spring revolutions, believing they would rise again and that a revolutionary wave was on the horizon. He thought that democracy was is the solution in the Arab countries, especially those witnessing civil wars such as Yemen, Libya, and Syria.
Khashoggi carried the concerns and issues of his nation, and the Palestinian cause was his main focus and believed that the return of the nation’s fighting spirit. Among his last tweets posted after attending a conference on Palestine post-Oslo, organised by Middle East Monitor in London, a day before travelling to Turkey on that fateful day, “I leave London with Palestine on my mind. I attended a conference and discovered researchers and activists who believe in the fairness of the cause from all over the world. Despite the strength of the Israeli lobby, which has besieged any sympathy with the Palestinian cause, but our voices are still high. In our world, they are trying to disregard Palestine to break our anger, but it is present in our conscience in the conscience of every citizen, even if they are silent.”
أغادر لندن وفلسطين في البال، حضرت مؤتمرا وتعرفت على باحثين وناشطين مؤمنين بعدالة قضيتها من أطراف الارض.
رغم قوة اللوبي الاسرائيلي الذي حاصر اَي تعاطف معها الا ان صوتها لا يزال عاليا هنا.
في عالمنا يحاولون تغييب فلسطين لكسر الغضب فينا ولكنها حاضرة في ضمير كل مواطن … وان صمت. pic.twitter.com/qnOF5ZyUgu
— جمال خاشقجي (@JKhashoggi) October 1, 2018
He did not know he would depart from the world a day later. He said what he thought and withdrew, and his Twitter account’s slogan was, “Say your word, and walk away.” He paid his life as the price of his words, for the sake of revolution, humanity, justice, freedom, and truth. Peace be with you in life and death, our martyr.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.