Commenting on the decision made by Saudi Arabia and Turkey to create a joint committee in order to investigate the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Alessandro Bruno, Senior Analyst and Political Writer at Lombardi Letter, told Sputnik that there may be several reasons which led the two countries down this path.
Also, Erdogan may be expecting to receive certain favors in exchange for his assistance, such as "very low coast loans or grants to help it deal with its current financial crisis and renewed privileged relations with Washington."
The US Angle
Gauging the US reaction to the Khashoggi case, Bruno noted that while Trump did threaten to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia if Riyadh’s involvement in the journalist’s disappearance was to be confirmed, the US president would rather refrain from such moves before the November midterm elections due to the close ties between his administration and the Saudi royals.
Then, Bruno pointed out, there is the matter of the oil prices.
"Trump’s sole legitimacy with American voters is the economy. Higher oil prices, which the president of the White House has often mentioned as a problem, would clearly be an effect of a tense Riyadh-Washington relationship. The Saudis have already hinted the possibility of using oil as a weapon again sending it to $100 —$200. That would kill the US stock market, already under pressure from higher interest rates and it would kill Trump’s presidency," Bruno said.
At the same time, he added, Trump will likely try to distance himself from this situation, at least "in the short term."
Threat of Sanctions and Response
According to Bruno, despite reports about Riyadh considering serious cuts in oil production if US approve its sanctions bill, the Saudis today "have less power to cause an oil crisis" (as compared to, for example, 1973) because "nobody wants oil to reach an excessively high price these days."
"It would encourage alternative energy investors and technologies to accelerate development of alternatives – or go nuclear / natural gas. It would also be a gift to Texas and Dakota oil producers, which need high oil prices to justify the expensive extraction techniques to develop shale oil and other unorthodox deposits. In the short term, the Saudis could cause problems, but China and others would find a way to work with Tehran at that point," the analyst explained.
"Daily newspapers in Riyadh have accused Al Jazeera of spreading false news about the episode. And more serious analysts in the Kingdom have even come up with an interesting and credible motive: Doha wants to create a wedge between Riyadh and Ankara. The focus of such a line of inquiry would then use Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancée as having played a key role," he remarked.
The Khashoggi Case
Jamal Khashoggi, known for his criticism of Saudi Arabia's policies, vanished on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain a marriage document, as reported by Turkish media. The Saudi authorities said that the journalist left the consulate on the same day that he arrived.
After Ankara claimed that Khashoggi could’ve been arrested or even killed while inside the diplomatic mission, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman replied that Turkish authorities could search the Consulate General building if necessary.
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