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  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo along with Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir as he departs from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Jan. 14, 2019.

    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo along with Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir as he departs from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Jan. 14, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 January 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit this week to the Middle East exposed revelations in the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week called for Saudi Arabia to be held accountable for the barbaric murder of Washington-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed and allegedly dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

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Pompeo was en route to Doha, Qatar to meet with State Department employees at the U.S. Embassy when he made a series of remarks that seemed to point fingers solely at the Saudi regime, not only for the brutal assassination of Washington Times columnist Khashoggi, but also for how they handled the messy aftermath.

However, according to an article in mid-December by Canadian publication Global News, the Saudi’s dismissed that notion, claiming the U.S. Senate’s allegations “contained blatant interferences” in the kingdom’s internal affairs which undermined its regional and international role.

Furthermore, the article argues that the lack of condemnation from under-fire U.S. President Donald Trump is largely down to the allies’ joint-objective to attack Iran, as well as the two countries’ billion dollar arms deal that sees the U.S. claim to “support the stability of international energy markets and of the kingdom’s leading role in the region.” 

According to an October article in Time Magazine, the real reason behind the staunch U.S. support is the trade of weapons-for-cash which will see the U.S. economy rise, and create more jobs, with the article quoting President Trump at the time saying, “I don’t like the concept of stopping an investment of $110 billion into the United States,” with regards to being pressed, at the time, about the whereabouts of Khashoggi. 

The article goes into further detail about the 75-year alliance, which also sees a huge demand for Saudi oil in the U.S.

The relationship between the two has been rocky over the last few months, with the U.S. Senate voting in mid-December to end military support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen, which also caught the ire of Trump. Furthermore, Pompeo admitted upon his arrival in Doha, that the U.S. had “tried but failed” with regards to ending a Saudi Arabia-led blockade of Qatar, according to the New York Times. 

Pompeo is set to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Monday, hoping to negotiate ways to persuade Qatar to return to their Arab partners, after splitting when being accused by the other states of harboring terrorists. 

The U.S. knows it needs the support of Qatar if it's to go full-tilt in an attack against Iran, in a move that has seen the Trump administration impose numerous sanctions against Iran.

In an article from VOA news in early November, the author argued that the U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran with no knowledge of what they were imposing penalties on. For example, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif tweeted that it was a “desperate psychological ploy” and claimed the U.S. “designated a bank that closed six years prior, and a ship that sank in a widely televised saga.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed the sanctions on Iran were “not legitimate” and that the U.S.’ “policies of issuing an ultimatum and making unilateral moves are unacceptable these days.”
 

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