The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has put a strain on political and economic relations between Saudi Arabia and the West, but around the world scores of journalists have been detained, gone missing or been murdered in recent years and the Western world has turned a blind eye.
On Sunday, word came that the CIA blamed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder, with sources close to the agency saying it had assessed the evidence in detail. The kingdom again denied any involvement in the death. President Donald Trump said the CIA's assessment was "premature" and that there was "no reason" for him to listen to an audio recording purportedly of Khashoggi's murder.
On Tuesday, Trump threw his weight behind the Saudi regime wholeheartedly, despite an apparent difference of opinion with his intelligence agency. In a lengthy statement, Trump said "we may never know all of the facts surrounding" Khashoggi's death, but "our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."
Trump's reluctance to punish Saudi Arabia, or to listen to the tape for that matter, doesn't come from squeamishness or fear, it comes from wanting to protect lucrative business ties with the country. In 2017 alone, Trump and King Salman signed a near-$110 billion defense package and Trump is mindful that Saudi Arabia has a most powerful weapon in its influence over oil prices.