A fascinating FT article suggests Western intelligence agencies have now dumped Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman after he’s been personally accused by world leaders — foremost among them Turkey’s President Erdogan and US President Trump — for ordering the brutal murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Implicit in the article, rich with quotes from current and former US and Western intelligence officials, is the further suggestion that these very intel operatives appear to now be actively seeking MbS’ ouster.
But the other fascinating aspect to FT’s commentary is what it reveals about both the mainstream media and intelligence ‘deep state’ perspective on the kingdom and Middle East politics in general: a head of state is deemed good or bad insofar they are amenable to the goals of Western intelligence agencies. While this might be obvious to any student of the history of covert action in the 20th century, it is rare to see it acknowledged so out in the open in a mainstream publication. The FT article reads like a “bragging rights” competition over which crown prince could be better formed by US intelligence: MbS or his recently ousted cousin Mohammed bin Nayef (MbN)?
For the intelligence officials interviewed, some named but most unnamed, the ultimate problem is not that a sadistic crown prince just ordered that a prominent journalist be literally hacked up while still breathing, but that the resulting PR nightmare has damaged CIA and MI6 inroads into Riyadh.
According to FT:
The slow collapse in trust, played out in public, represents a dramatic departure from the close and covert relationship that the CIA and MI6 developed with his ousted cousin and rival for power, Mohammed bin Nayef.
Essentially this translates to an absurd cry of “gone are the good ole days when the Saudi crown prince was a dutiful CIA asset!” Such CIA confessions to FT are astounding for their unabashed and barefaced frankness over just what US foreign policy actually values in an allied foreign leader.
Now that MbS has quickly fallen out of favor with the “global community,”