Iran

Expert Voices

Saudi crown prince betting on Trump to help resolve Khashoggi crisis

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, on October 16, 2018.
Secretary of State Pompeo meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, on October 16, 2018. Photo: Leah Millis/AFP via Getty Images

If U.S.–Saudi relations depended solely on President Trump’s and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) wishes, the tragic Khashoggi affair would likely have blown over by now. But Congress and the U.S. media appear unwilling to let that happen, while MBS' opponents in Saudi Arabia might seize on this fiasco to question his fitness to rule.

The big picture: MBS is gambling that he can escape this crisis by doubling down on support for the Trump administration's policies — confronting Iran, making up for lost Iranian oil, and bankrolling U.S. efforts in northeast Syria, among others. This approach could work with Trump, who concocted the story of potential rogue agents as culprits and compared the unjust treatment of MBS to that of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. But it remains to be seen whether attempts to smooth relations at the top can withstand tensions from below.

Twitter releases content tied to misinformation campaigns

A Twitter logo bird in white on blue background, with an open laptop in front.
Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Twitter is releasing all the content associated with 4,611 accounts it has tied to two previously announced misinformation campaigns by Russia and Iran — 3,814 accounts linked to Russia's Internet Research Agency, which meddled in the 2016 elections, and 770 that were linked to state-backed activity from Iran.

Why it matters: Twitter says the release is part of an effort to be more transparent about the "information operations" it identifies on the platform and opens up those operations to researchers aiming to understand meddling in U.S. politics.