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Trump critics rethink US policy toward Saudi Arabia

A change in direction of US policy toward the Saudis should be part of a broader change in policy to the region, especially regarding Iran.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during family photo session with other leaders and attendees at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque - RC187E92FB00

Donald Trump famously made Saudi Arabia his first foreign stop as president, where he embraced the Saudi leadership unquestioningly. There is a good possibility that Saudi Arabia will also be his last foreign port of call if he loses the November 2020 election. It makes sense for his critics now to start developing a new American strategy toward the kingdom.

Despite mounting concern about the reckless and dangerous behavior of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Trump embraced him last week in Osaka at the G-20, just as he has embraced him in every meeting they have had. This is despite a new report from the United Nations special rapporteur that found the crown prince personally responsible for the kingdom’s premeditated murder of Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last year. The next G-20 will be held in Riyadh a couple of weeks after the American election. Trump could be a very lame duck. If he loses, not many countries will want to be hosting his final Twitter tantrums.

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