Friends Of Bin Salman: Business Leaders, Celebrities And Politicians

Akbar Shahid Ahmed just published an insightful and timely piece titled “Saudi Arabia Wants Trump And Congress To Forget Jamal Khashoggi. Here’s Its Likely Playbook.”

In it he reminds us that, “…as top Americans suggest the U.S.-Saudi relationship may be about to fundamentally change, the Saudis have many powerful levers to pull in their efforts to maintain bipartisan support for their frequently controversial policies.

By directing billions of dollars of Saudi money into the U.S. for decades, Riyadh’s ruling family has won the support of small but powerful circles of influential Americans and courted wider public acceptance through corporate ties and philanthropy.”

And as Ben Freeman, a researcher at the Center for International Policy puts it, “The Saudis realize it’s illegal for foreign nationals to make contributions in the U.S., but lobbying and PR firms are filled with American citizens for whom it’s perfectly legal.”

It was only a few months ago when American corporate media, celebrities, politicians and business moguls rolled out the red carpet and fawned at Bin Salman’s charm offensive aimed at reshaping how the world views Saudi Arabia. As mentioned the country has deployed millions of dollars in Washington as part of its lobbying efforts to paint the war waging, power-grabbing dictator as a visionary ‘reformer’ and forge close ties with the Trump administration.

With an army of Washington lobbyists in its pocket, a business community drooling for a piece of Saudi petrodollars, a sympathetic White House and arms manufacturers Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and others vehemently arguing to keep the war-based economy intact, the kingdom will leverage its relationships during this crisis. Less clear is how influencers and business moguls who recently enjoyed a very public bromance with the Crown Prince will react to claims of foul play over missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Will they try to provide cover for their billionaire friend, or will they truly distance themselves from this despot?

MBS meeting with the Bush family during his March charm offensive. The Bush family was instrumental in shoring up Republican support and resolve behind one of their own, Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Will the Bush’s, with deep roots in the Texas oil business, play a role in supporting the Crown Prince during his time of need?
MBS and Google/Alphabet co-founder Sergey Brin
Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Google co-founder Sergey Brin
The Crown Prince with Michael Bloomberg
Brothers in arms. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and MBS. Facebook recently purged 1,000’s of independent media outlets, which included the pages of several police accountability/watchdog/critic groups, including Cop Block, the Free Thought Project, The Anti Media, and Police the Police. Will Zuck conveniently adjust his news feed algorithm to mute criticism of Saudi Arabia and MBS?
MBS visited Bill Gates, Boeing leaders…
and Jeff Bezos in Seattle.
Venture capitalist leaders, including Marc Andreessen (o-founder and general partner of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn Co-Founder), Founders Fund Peter Thiel and others.
Chief Executive Officer of Disney Bob Iger meeting with Bin Salman
With Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
MBS with Apple CEO Tim Cook
“Remember me?” MBS carved out some time to meet with former Secretary of State John Kerry.
Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman holds talks with SeaWorld’s CEO Joel Manby in San Francisco
Sharing good times with disgraced Uber CEO Travis Kalanick
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Khan Academy CEO Salman Khan.

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