Wall Street Journal columnist: ‘American and Saudi interests remain aligned

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In an opinion piece published on Monday, a Wall Street Journal columnist said it was important that the United States continue to recognize Riyadh as an important global power that serves US interests.

Walter Russell Mead said it was crucial that Riyadh “not be ditched in a fit of righteousness” amid international concern over Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Mead wrote that “Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ayatollahs of Iran” are hoping to turn a political profit from the Khashoggi case.

“Iran, hostile, arrogant and ambitious, has ruthlessly carved a ‘Shia crescent’ from Baghdad through Damascus to Beirut. A gusher of American oil and natural gas has diminished OPEC. Turkey, sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood and harboring dreams of restoring its old Ottoman glory, seeks to displace Saudi Arabia as the voice of the Sunni world. Russia has reasserted itself in the region. And inside Saudi Arabia, a growing population with high expectations demands more opportunity and better governance,” Mead wrote.

He said that on important issues, “US and Saudi interests are aligned.”

“The US wants to ensure that no single power, inside or outside the Middle East, has control over the world’s oil spigot. That means Saudi Arabia must remain independent and secure,” Mead wrote.

He called on US Secretary Mike Pompeo, who has landed Riyadh on Tuesday to hold discussions with Saudi officials, to address the Khashoggi case and work on a shared policy aimed at “containing Iran and stabilizing the region.”

“It also involves encouraging the economic transformation the Saudis seek at home. Even as he responds with appropriate gravity to a serious provocation, Mr. Pompeo must give Saudi authorities the confidence that sober and sensible policies will bring continuing American support for the kingdom’s independence and reform,” Mead wrote.