By Payman Yazdani

Khashoggi case won't affect Saudi destructive regional policy: Logoglu

October 24, 2018 - 9:12

TEHRAN - A senior member of Turkey’s CHP says at the end of the day Trump will express his satisfaction with Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi case and there will be no changes to Saudi destabilizing regional policy led by Prince Bin Salman.

Brutal killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul created a wave of reactions against Saudi young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s suppressive policies. 
Despite early denials, worldwide reactions finally forced the Saudi rulers to acknowledge the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman policies.
Following the incident over the past two weeks there have been speculations about possible removal of Muhammad bin Salman from power.
To know more about the consequences of the issue, we reached out to Dr. Osman Faruk Logoglu, a senior member of Turkey’s Republican People's Party (CHP).
Here is the full text of his interview:

Q: How serious and strong do you see President Trump’s reaction to savage death of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi. How should his reaction be to the issue in order to decrease criticizes and not let the issue affect the results of the upcoming congress election?

A: President Trump has wavered, making contradictory statements about the shifting Saudi narrative on the Khashoggi affair.  However, despite all his vacillation about the murder, Trump has been most consistent in his determination – and publicly expressed so - to preserve and protect his ties with the Saudi royal family.  He is candid about his views, saying that he cannot afford to dispense with the 110 billion dollars’ worth of arms sales to Riyadh and that Saudi Arabia (SA) is a valuable ally against Iran.  
As the Saudi narrative comes to an end with perhaps a few more public announcements, basically claiming that those responsible for Khashoggi’s death have all been identified and are to be punished, Trump at the end of the day will say “I am satisfied now”!  To satisfy the critiques at home and to save face, there may be a few punitive sanctions of marginal value against SA.

The impact of the Khashoggi affair on the upcoming midterm elections on 6 November is likely to be minimal.  The Democrats may win a few more votes but the Republican base will solidly stand behind Trump.  Trump heads to the elections with a strong economic performance and the victories of Brett Kavanaugh and Pastor Brunson.  But Trump’s weak point is Trump himself and his volatile ups and downs.  The Democrats have a good chance of winning the House and are looking at a close race in the Senate.  

Q: Will international pressures result in changes to power structure of the Saudi Arabia?

A: No, most unlikely. The Saudi royal family’s top priority is always to preserve and maintain its total control of the society and the country.  Though full of irony because most still suspect that MBS actually planned and gave orders for Kashoggi’s execution, it was no surprise that the first act of King Salman was to mandate Crown Prince MBS to restructure Saudi intelligence.  This indicates that the position of MBS is safe for the time being, even if some of his powers may over time be transferred to other more senior members of the royal family.   
Q: Will Khashoggi brutal death impose changes to destructive Saudi regional policies led by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman particularly in Syria and Iraq which has been a source of threat against national security of countries like Turkey?

A: Trump’s Iran-fixation continues unabated.  Therefore, I estimate that the SA stance vis a vis Iran will not change because the U.S. approach toward Iran will not change.  I think we might see a slight recalibration of Saudi policies toward Iraq and Syria.  In particular, SA might reduce or end its support to PYD/YPG in Syria regarded by Turkey as a terrorist organization, given the pressure created on MBS by Turkey’s investigation of the Khashoggi affair.  All in all it is hard to expect any major changes in SA foreign policy.   

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