A new book based on interviews purportedly coming from White House insiders has revealed that US President Donald Trump was behind the elevation of Mohammed bin Salman to the position of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince last year.
The claim is included in the book titled Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House which went on sale on Friday. Michael Wolff said on Friday his book is based on more than 200 interviews with Trump and his close aides.
“We’ve put our man on top,” Trump is said to have claimed to friends, according to the book, after Saudi King Salman ousted his nephew Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as next-in-line to the throne and made his then-31-year-old son, Mohammed bin Salman, the new crown prince in June 2017.
Bin Salman is a close friend of Trump’s aide and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. His sudden elevation last year to the post of crown prince shook up the line of succession and turned on decades of custom within the Saudi royal family.
Just a month before for Saudi Arabia’s political shakeup, Trump had visited the kingdom and met with leaders from across the Middle East and signed a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudi leaders. According to The New York Times, Kushner personally intervened in the arms deal with Saudi Arabia ahead of Trump’s visit to the kingdom.
Wolff in his book called Trump’s Saudi trip a “get-out-of-Dodge godsend,” as it was an escape from Washington, DC where he recently fired FBI Director James Comey. “There couldn’t have been a better time to be making headlines far from Washington. A road trip could transform everything.”
When bin Salman was named crown prince, Trump called and congratulated him on his “recent elevation.”
And later in November when bin Salman imprisoned his hundreds of political rivals and other Saudi elites in Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, Trump tweeted, “I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing.”
“Some of those they are harshly treating have been “milking” their country for years!” he added.
Mohammed Cherkaoui, a professor of conflict resolution at George Mason University, told Al Jazeera television that Wolff’s book is “well-researched”.
“This is based on scores of interviews with people inside the White House and around Trump,” he said.
“It explains to some extent how Trump managed to influence the decision of King Salman … [and] goes back to the period when Mohammed bin Salman visited the US in March and the Riyadh summit which Trump attended in May [when] apparently he was lobbying … [for] a powerful man,” added Cherkaoui.
“[Trump] was basically grooming Mohammed bin Salman,” he stated.
Trump might have struck a deal with MBS
Adam Garrie, an independent political analyst in London, told Press TV on Friday night that the “rise of Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) preceded the election of Donald Trump.”
“When MBS was elevated to the crown prince, this was of course during Trump’s early months in power, so it is not inconceivable that the US had a hand in his elevation as part of a wider deal. MBS has after all, jailed many Hillary Clinton supporting Saudi princes,” he added.
“But this exposes the absurdity of the Saudi state. For a country that calls itself Arab and calls itself Muslim, people can be divided between corrupt princes who support Trump and corrupt princes who support his opponents,” he stated.
“Because of the frequent meetings between MBS and members of the Trump family—most notably arch-Zionist Jared Kushner, it does indeed seem plausible that MBS was given free reign by Saudi’s American masters,” he said.
“A deal may have been struck whereby Washington would give MBS free reign domestically and over Yemen, in return for implementing an increasingly pro-Zionist diplomatic policy as well as policies which promote violence against Iran and hostility against the Islamic Revolution,” the analyst noted.