Donald Trump appeared to have signaled earlier he was prepared to accept Saudi Arabia’s denial of responsibility over the disappearance and confirmed death of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist. Mr. Trump, amid mounting international pressure responded by dispatching Mr. Pompeo- on a fact-finding mission to Saudi-Arabia. The Khashoggi case, one of the Kingdoms biggest diplomatic crisis since September 11 attacks on the US , now threatens to isolate Riyadh internationally as Wall Street’s highest-profile financiers from Blackstone, BlackRock , JPMorgan , US Treasury Secretary- Steven Mnuchin, IMF managing director- Christine Lagarde, French finance minister – Bruno Le Maire, UK trade secretary – Liam Fox, and the president of the Washington based development bank – Jim Yong Kim have withdrawn from the ‘’Davos in the Dessert’’ gathering, a major Saudi Conference scheduled this year. The crown prince and the Kingdom have however strongly denied all allegations and have responded immediately by announcing the Kingdom’s own internal investigation. A royal decree followed and the deputy intelligence chief, and the royal court adviser to the Kingdom lost their jobs.

King Salman has been instrumental in the recent modernization of Saudi Arabia with his decision to allow women to drive and his tacit alliance with Israel in checking Iran. He has pledged to modernize the conservative kingdom with a range of ambitious economic reforms. His strategic role has been to rally an alliance against Iran, make peace with Israel and take on the clerical establishment in his own country and help to crush Isis at home and abroad. Nevertheless, under his watch Saudi-Arabia has displayed increasingly autocratic tendencies internationally, cracking down on all forms of opposition from members of the royal family, businessmen, academics, clerics and activists.

The economic and strategic importance of Saudi Arabia cannot be over emphasized. The Kingdom is the world’s largest exporter of oil and its largest importer of arms. Saudi Arabia acts as the central bank of the oil market keeping supply and demand in balance. With oil prices already rising due to effects from sanctions on Iran, Saudi Arabia’s role as a swing producer in the international oil market becomes even more important. The kingdom’s economy has an influential role in the global economy and the kingdom holds such a pivotal role in Donald Trump’s world view and the American policy in the Middle East. The stakes are high, over a US or Russian influence in the Middle East and as it stands Russia boasts of a stronger relationship with the Key regional powers. As international observer’s get keen as the story unfolds, the weighty questions remains. Will US policy in the middle East remain unchanged? what are the implications for the Leader of the free world? Will Russia move in to capitalize on a future arms deal with Saudi Arabia if America should impose punitive measures? what ripple effect will occur on future oil prices? And should Mohammed bin Salman be seen as a visionary nation builder or an out-of-control despot?