Top White House Advocate of Severe Sanctions Against Saudis Resigns

Arguments reported in National Security Council about reaction to Khashoggi murder

Kirsten Fontenrose, the National Security Council’s Senior Director for Gulf Affairs, has resigned as of Friday evening, according to officials. Fontenrose had reportedly been the main voice in the White House pushing for tough sanctions against the Saudis for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

There were reportedly some serious arguments within the National Security Council with respect to the US reaction to the murder. It is as yet unclear if Fontenrose was forced out for her position, or resigned voluntarily out of frustration.

From all indications, the White House is opposed to any stance that would risk US-Saudi ties, particularly juicy Saudi arms deals. This has been a matter of contention with other officials, particularly in Congress, who want to see some action taken over Khashoggi’s murder.

The National Security Council has yet to comment on their discussions of the matter, but President Trump has said the full administration reaction to the Saudis will be expected on Monday or Tuesday, and we will no doubt be able to glean much from that when it is released.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of