WASHINGTON A Republican US senator, often an ally of President Donald Trump, has echoed the president’s derogatory remarks about Saudi Arabia’s military capabilities, saying the Saudi military “can’t fight [its way] out of a paper bag.”
In pointed remarks made to Fox News on Sunday, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who is a hawk on Iran, said Saudi Arabia would be defeated by Iran militarily “in about a week” if it did not have the support of the United States.
“Let me put it this way I want to be very blunt with you: If it weren’t for the United States, they’d be speaking Farsi in about a week in Saudi Arabia,” Graham said.
Earlier, President Trump had belittled Riyadh by saying Saudi rulers might not last “for two weeks” without the support of the US. But Trump has also taken a stubborn stance in defense of the Saudi leadership in an international scandal over the state-ordered murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi. In attempting to justify that defense, Trump has partially pointed to the massive purchases of American weapons by Riyadh.
Khashoggi was brutally killed by a 15-member hit squad inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2.
Unlike President Trump, however, Senator Graham has turned against the Saudi leadership following that murder.
Citing informed sources, The Washington Post reported in mid-November that the CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s assassination. Trump said at the time that the CIA conclusion was “very premature.”
Ankara, which says it has evidence from inside the consulate, has said the order for the hit “came from the highest levels of the Saudi government.” But it has said Saudi King Salman himself was not involved, giving the impression that Saudi Arabia’s number-two person, Mohammed, was responsible.
Saudi Arabia has attempted to shift the blame for Khashoggis murder to Mohammeds underlings, including at least one of his advisers. But it has claimed that the criminality somehow stops short of reaching the crown prince himself.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.