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Saudi royals rally support at home as pressure mounts

Following intense pressure from Turkey and the United States over the war in Yemen and the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi king and crown prince are looking to rally support among their domestic base.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud attends the inauguration of the Haramain Railway connecting Mecca and Medina with the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia September 25, 2018. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. - RC1CE0F3FFD0

Under siege by Turkey, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are trying to ensure their base at home. An unprecedented royal tour, pardons and bonuses for workers are parts of a program to protect the embattled crown prince from the fallout from the Istanbul caper. The United States, especially when it comes to Congress, is a wild card in the still-evolving situation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems determined to pursue those responsible for the premeditated murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Erdogan has allowed a steady drip of leaks about the Saudi hit team that flew in to Istanbul to commit the murder and its gruesome actions. Occasionally Erdogan publicly discusses the case to confirm key pieces of evidence such as the existence of an audio recording of the murder. It’s hypocritical, of course, for Erdogan to be defending journalists, but he has other motives involving his ambitions to be the pre-eminent Muslim leader of his time.

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