Trump’s Preferred Candidate Wins Again, This Time in Saudi Arabia

“There’s a certain compatibility there,” said Jon B. Alterman, the director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “The president and his entourage think fellow billionaires who have an itch to get things done make the world go ‘round.”

Mr. Kushner and Prince Mohammed, senior officials said, worked closely together to choreograph Mr. Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia, which yielded a renewed commitment by dozens of Arab and Muslim leaders to combat extremism in their countries and to turn off the financial spigot to extremist groups.

For Mr. Trump’s aides, that trip ranks as a highlight of his foreign policy so far, and they credit the prince for what one senior official described as under-promising and over-delivering.

Prince Mohammed’s elevated status was apparent in the earliest days of the Trump administration. Senior American officials said they wanted the United States to help Saudi Arabia with its campaign in Yemen against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, in part because the success or failure of the military campaign could affect the prince’s fortunes in the kingdom’s succession battle.

During the prince’s first visit to the White House, in March, the president welcomed him with a meeting in the Oval Office and a formal lunch in the State Dining Room. The next day, Prince Mohammed spent four hours with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the Pentagon.

Mr. Kushner also hopes for Prince Mohammed’s backing, or at least his blessing, in a peace initiative between Israel and the Palestinians. On Wednesday, Mr. Kushner made his first major foray into the process, meeting in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and in the West Bank with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority.

“The United States officials and Israeli leadership underscored that forging peace will take time,” White House officials said…

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