Kushner advised MbS on how to survive in power after Khashoggi murder: NYT
US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser has reportedly continued to have private contacts with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) following the murder of dissident journalist 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."
"A delegation of Saudis close to the prince visited the United States as early as the month Mr. Trump was elected, the documents show, and brought back a report identifying Mr. Kushner as a crucial focal point in the courtship of the new administration," the report noted.
In a slide presentation obtained by Lebanon's Al Akhbar daily, the Saudi delegation commented about Trump's incoming administration.
“The inner circle is predominantly deal makers who lack familiarity with political customs and deep institutions, and they support Jared Kushner," the delegation observed.
Martin Indyk, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and an ex-Middle East Envoy, said the relationship between Kushner and MbS constitutes the foundation of the Trump policy not just toward Saudi Arabia but toward the region.
Washington’s reliance on the Saudis in the so-called Middle East peace process and its backing for the deadly Saudi war on Yemen have all grown out of “that bromance" between Kushner and bin Salman, he said.
Trump has avoided rebuking Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi's murder and vowed to stand with its ally, citing lucrative arms deals among the reasons for his support.