The White House Saudi Arabian Conundrum

The action last week went as follows:

*The CIA confirms that bin Salman ordered the killing, dismembering and dissolution of Jamal Khashoggi

*The White House floats the idea to Ankara that attempted 2016 Turkish coup-leader Fethulla Gülen could be extradited to Turkey for trial; a potentially explosive move given that Gülen’s career has been inextricably linked with the CIA so far.

*Ankara refuses, however, to link the two matters under any circumstances, confounding Turkey’s critics, who maintain that the Turks are using the Khashoggi case in a self-interested ploy to obtain money from Saudi Arabia and political concessions from the US. The possibility that this case is helping Turkey reshape the future of the Middle East has so far escaped the purview of Western commentators.

*The White House takes the extradition of Gülen off the table and now mulls the fate of bin Salman. The White House’s search for an escape route for bin Salman appears to be an exercise in ruthless logical consistency. If the United States embraces, in Trump’s words, a ‘killer’ as Egyptian leader, what’s not to like about bin Salman?