- Bin Salman ‘Tried to Persuade Netanyahu to Go to War in Gaza’ Say Sources
by David Hearst, https://www.middleeasteye.net/
War was among scenarios suggested by damage-limitation task force established to advise Saudi crown prince in aftermath of Khashoggi killing
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attempted to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to start a conflict with Hamas in Gaza as part of a plan to divert attention from the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, sources inside Saudi Arabia have told Middle East Eye.
A war in Gaza was among a range of measures and scenarios proposed by an emergency task force set up to counter increasingly damaging leaks about Khashoggi’s murder coming from Turkish authorities, according to sources with knowledge of the group’s activities.
The task force, which is composed of officials from the royal court, the foreign and defence ministries, and the intelligence service, briefs the the crown prince every six hours, MEE was told.
It advised bin Salman that a war in Gaza would distract Trump’s attention and refocus Washington’s attention on the role Saudi Arabia plays in bolstering Israeli strategic interests. It also advised bin Salman to “neutralise Turkey by all means” – including attempts to bribe Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with offers to buy Turkish arms and statements by the crown prince attempting to shore up relations between Riyadh and Ankara.