America’s principal global spy agency, the CIA, has reportedly ‘concluded’ that young Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman, known fondly as ‘MBS’, ordered the killing and disposal of Saudi Arabian dissident publisher-activist Jamal Khashoggi but American President Donald Trump yet says, he “believes” the Crown Prince’s denial of involvement. While Americans puzzle over their blustering President’s loyalty to the upstart heir to the Saudi throne, Afghanistan is wracked by a fresh string of penetrative insurgent bombings, Pakistan is in uproar over an overturned blasphemy death sentence, and, the besieged Yemeni port city of Hodeida suffers renewed bombardment by the invading Saudi-UAE alliance. Meanwhile, Palestine’s nearly starving Gaza population waits in desperation for an end to their immediate sorrows of continued Israeli military incursions coming on top of the decades-long economic blockade that deprives them of life’s basic necessities like regular water, power, medical supplies along with regular access to livelihoods outside Gaza. Amid all this permanent physical and mental torture of an entire population, that tiny community insists on its daily protests at the border fence with Israel against the 70-year military occupation of Palestinian territories. Turkey, where a Saudi killer team murdered the US-exiled Khashoggi and apparently disposed of his body by dissolving it in acid (a common method of professional killers the world over), continues to publicly blame the Saudi Arabian monarchy of orchestrating the cruel drama. Even last week, Ankara officially insisted, through statements by various officials quoted in Turkey’s own harassed news media, that not only was the Saudi government fully responsible for the shock murder inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, but that Riyadh was not adequately co-operating with the Turkish police investigation into the crime. Last week’s high point in this case was the report in US news outlets that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had formally ‘concluded’ that none other than the Saudi Crown Prince himself had directed the assassination. The latest information made public is that the CIA has had access to monitored Saudi internal communications that include an order issued by the Prince to a fellow Saudi royal relative (also working in the Riyadh government) to “permanently silence” Khashoggi. Once again, the CIA has not moved to deny these reports, an indication, firstly, that the reports are true and, secondly — as in many other cases of covert operations never officially acknowledged — that the news media reports were probably leaked by the Agency which wants to influence Washington policy on Riyadh. But, President Trump was quick to reject the CIA’s “conclusion” as a mere “belief” by the spy agency otherwise known for its (often deadly) professionalism in covert operations and sophisticated surveillance across the world. The American President is now under fire by both his own Republican administration officials as well as the newly resurgent Opposition Democratic Party. Both party leaderships, as well as many news commentators and experts, are criticising their President for yet again rejecting the professional findings of his own covert defence and intelligence agencies and preferring to believe those very same foreign potentates suspected of wrong-doing. Democratic party leaders as well as news commentators have been quick to point out that Trump had behaved similarly in the case of Russia’s now well-reported covert subversion of America’s last presidential elections (2016). Despite not only formal agency reports and briefings but, also, recent indictments in court, of Moscow-based suspect Russian agents, the US President has persistently refused to accept the findings of the entire American intelligence community and preferred to “believe” Russian strongman Vladimir Putin’s firm denial of any subversion by Moscow. In the case of Putin, the now accepted wisdom is that Trump is obliged to the Russians for their previous, lucrative, business ties with his business group and also may have been compromised by his sexual adventures in Moscow in slightly younger days which just may have been recorded by Russian security agencies. Now, with Trump’s similar insistence on the innocence of the Saudi Crown Prince, there is a firm bloc of opinion in the US that it is Trump’s previous business dealings with the Saudi monarchy and other super-rich Saudi Arabian business groups that have obliged him to this foreign power to the degree that he is ignoring the US’ own vital interests. But, are these previous financial benefits (and possibly future post-Presidency dealings) the sole reason as to why the White House insists on protecting the the maverick and blundering Crown Prince? It is not just the entire US political establishment but, also, America’s own Western allies that have concluded that it is the Saudi government and, specifically, the Crown Prince himself who is responsible for the Istanbul murder incident. Certainly, there is no disagreement by anyone in the US and Western defence establishments that, despite the Saudi monarchy’s already unsavoury reputation, Riyadh is crucial for the West’s strategic interests in West Asia (“Middle East” in their yet-colonial eyes). The whole world, by now, knows of the generic cruelty of the Saudi monarchy and the fact that it is one of the few absolute monarchies left in the world and one that has already been bloodily despotic. The West uses Saudi Arabian territory and the territory of its Persian Gulf client emirates as launch pads for Western military interventions in West Asia — the wars on Iraq and the on-going subversion of Syria being cases in point. Riyadh is one of the biggest buyers of Western arms as well as a customer for Western investments and contracts. But the biggest value for the West is Riyadh’s firm pro-Israeli stance. Being the original home of Islam and so-called ‘custodian’ of Islam’s holiest shrines, the Saudi monarchy has a powerful ideological and geo-strategic value to the West far above any other West Asian actor in a region well known for the mass ferment that is generally hostile to the West because of its sustaining of Israel. For several years the West had cultivated an older cousin of MBS who had been appointed Crown Prince by King Salman and was in charge of internal security as well. This is Prince Muhammad bin Nayef Al Saud. Bin Nayef was the favourite of the West (he had briefly trained with Western counter-insurgency agencies) and was cultivated as the future Saudi king. But in mid-2017, King Salman suddenly demoted Bin Nayef and replaced him with Bin Salman as Crown Prince. This shift in power completely unsettled the West’s linkages with Riyadh. According to Arab affairs expert, US-based Professor Asad Abukhalil (California State Univ, Stanislaus, USA), everyone except Donald Trump and, significantly, Israel, wants to use the Khashoggi murder scandal to edge out the unreliable and clumsy Crown Prince from power and replace him with a more reliable personality for the future. Prof. Abukhalil (see his blog ‘The Angry Arab News Service’) believes, now that MBS has been compromised, if Washington ‘rescues’ the blundering (and obviously not so cunning) prince and keeps him in power, MBS would remain loyal and dependent on Washington (and also to Tel Aviv). Influenced by his Jewish fundamentalist son-in-law Jared Kushner, Trump seems firmly committed to preserving MBS as Crown Prince. But this is a purely Israeli (or, to be precise, a current Israeli governmental) strategy and not at all in the interests of stability in West Asia, which is the overriding concern of Washington and other Western capitals. What they want is a stable and resourceful Saudi regime that will be a bulwark against the enemies of Israel and also against independent rising regional powers like Iran (and earlier Iraq and Syria). Published in Daily Times, November 29th 2018.