Key Points

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA case officer, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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U.S. companies are right to be increasingly wary of taking Saudi cash. The kingdom certainly has more money to throw around, if the PIF’s 2020 targets are to be met—but any Saudi transaction will come with a side of reputational risk until Mohammed bin Salman’s worst inclinations are checked. The PIF, on the other hand, must contend with two new realities. First, losing internal capacity could hamper its deal-making ability, setting back the crown prince’s single-minded ambition for flashy new deals. Second, Silicon Valley, fearing reputational blowback, may begin denying PIF the high-profile, high-value deals that has made the fund’s name in the U.S. A full appreciation of the potential pitfalls of taking Saudi cash may be slow to come, but what’s for certain is that the seeds have been planted.

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Turning up the pressure on Assad is both a strategic necessity and a moral imperative.

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