Published: Sun, December 09, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Jared Kushner is reportedly pals with Saudi Crown Prince

Jared Kushner is reportedly pals with Saudi Crown Prince

A new report details the extent of Jared Kushner's relationship with Mohammed bin Salman, as well as his attempts to help the Saudi crown prince survive the fallout from the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Citing two former senior American officials and the two people briefed by the Saudis, The New York Times reported on Saturday that Jared Kushner became bin Salman's "most important defender inside the White House".

White House advisor Jared Kushner, watches alongside a member of the Saudi delegation during a meeting between President Donald Trump and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Oval Office at the White House on March 20 in Washington.

The CIA assessed in November that the crown prince had personally ordered the killing of the journalist. The prince and his advisers, eager to enlist American support for his hawkish policies in the region and for his own consolidation of power, cultivated the relationship with Mr. Kushner for more than two years, according to documents, emails and text messages reviewed by The New York Times.

Even then, before the inauguration, the Saudis were trying to position themselves as essential allies who could help the Trump administration fulfil its campaign pledges.

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Although White House protocol stipulates a National Security Council staff should be present on any phone calls with foreign leaders, Kushner and Salman continued to chat informally after Khashoggi's death, said the Times. They also knew Kushner badly wanted to help broker a deal between Israelis and Palestinians, and the Saudis promised to help. A slide-show presentation obtained by Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, a frequent critic of Saudi Arabia and supporter of Iran-backed Shiite Muslim movement Hezbollah, detailed certain strategies for courting Kushner.

White House officials declined to comment on Kushner's one-on-one communications with the prince since the killing of Khashoggi.

The Saudi public prosecutor has said the order to repatriate Khashoggi came from Asiri and that a travel ban has been imposed on Qahtani.

Saudi Arabia has continuously denied reports of MBS' involvement in Khashoggi's killing, reinforcing that they are taking judicial measures to bring the perpetrators to justice.

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