|Blessed are the arms makers.|
Prominent evangelical leader on Khashoggi crisis: let’s not risk “$100 billion worth of arms sales” (Vox link): A major evangelical leader has spoken in defense of US-Saudi relations after the apparent killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate, saying that America has more important things — like arms deals — to focus on.
Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, appeared on its flagship television show The 700 Club on Monday to caution Americans against allowing the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia to deteriorate over Khashoggi’s death.
“For those who are screaming blood for the Saudis — look, these people are key allies,” Robertson said. While he called the faith of the Wahabists — the hardline Islamist sect to which the Saudi Royal Family belongs — “obnoxious,” he urged viewers to remember that “we’ve got an arms deal that everybody wanted a piece of…it’ll be a lot of jobs, a lot of money come to our coffers. It’s not something you want to blow up willy-nilly.”
On Wednesday, after the New York Times reported that it had obtained audio of Khashoggi being tortured, murdered, and dismembered inside the consulate, Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak reported that Trump said that he had requested the recording, “if it exists,” later adding “I’m not sure that it exists.”
A day later, Robertson doubled down, reappearing on the network to dismiss calls for any form of reprisals against the Saudis as “ill-advised,” in part because of Saudi Arabia’s hardline stance against Iran, whom Robertson identified as a bigger threat.
“You’ve got one journalist — who knows? Was it an interrogation? Was he assassinated? Were there rogue elements? Who did it?...You’ve got $100 billion worth of arms sales...we cannot alienate our biggest player in the Middle East.”