PRESS TV – Since prominent Saudi journalist and former intelligence official Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate earlier this month, never to be seen again, voices have risen hot with anger against the Kingdom – fanned by revelations by Turkey’s intelligence services that Khashoggi had been tortured and killed with a barbarity difficult to stomach.
Not even U.S. President Donald Trump could hold his tongue before the fury unleashed at Saudi Arabia … if the world was quite happy rationalising Riyadh’s war on Yemen, or its systematic repression of dissident voices – most particularly against women and religious minorities, the alleged murder of the elite was a crime too many.
Mr Khashoggi has not been seen since 2 October, when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish investigators have said they believe he was killed by a “hit squad” and that recordings and video prove it.
While all lives are precious, and should therefore on principle, be sacrosanct, I cannot help but feel a little sickened at the cries of sudden outrage over Mr Khashoggi’s fate. Mr Khashoggi is but the latest victim of a regime which descent into the abyss of fascism began long ago – under both the cover and protection of those capitals hungering for Saudi riches.
But then again if it takes the death of one man for the world to finally see what the kingdom truly is – the serpent in our garden, then so be it. Now maybe the millions of lives Saudi Arabia claimed to its theofacism will be avenged, and maybe, just maybe justice will at last be served.
In any case it is unlikely that this storm gathering against Saudi Arabia’s ruling elite will not claim a few names to its self-righteous anger… maybe even a crown or two.
If Donald Trump does not want to “hurt jobs” by sanctioning Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, he has nonetheless promised “severe punishment” should Riyadh be in fact involved in his death.
According to Mr Trump Mr Khashoggi’s profession made his alleged death particularly “terrible and disgusting.”
Famine, diseases, and the systematic targeting of civilians in Yemen apparently pale in comparison to the murder of a journalist whose byline has graced the cover of the Washington Post. Outrage those days is outrageously relative …
But what if Saudi Arabia could invent itself a convenient scapegoat to deflect blame onto and resume its wonderful friendship with the United States? Wouldn’t that be nice? Wouldn’t that be swell to find someone to pin this on?
Only … how would that work when even technology, nevermind common-sense point to Riyadh, or rather one temperamental prince: the infamous future king Mohammed bin Salman?
Here is how ‘the elite’ is trying to set the scene for us, the public.
It begins in Washington with Mr Trump desperately reaching out for a conclusion that does not imply the gruesome murder of one of Saudi Arabia’s most well-known critic. It’s bad PR you see and bad PR is definitely bad for America’s favourite industry: War.
“Nobody knows yet,”Mr Trump tells the press, “but we’ll probably be able to find out. It’s being investigated, it’s being looked at very, very strongly, we would be very upset and angry if that were the case. As of this moment they deny it and they deny it vehemently. Could it be them? Yes.”
Could it be them? Well … unless Mr Khashoggi was teleported out of the consulate Saudi Arabia certainly is responsible. Or was it a magic carpet … or better yet what if Mr Khashoggi never actually made it to the consulate and the whole story was nothing but a ploy to sully Riyadh’s ‘impeccable’ human rights track record.
It’s not like the Saudis kidnap and physically harm its own … or others rights? No wait, it kind of is actually.
Mr Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia a year ago in the wake of MBS’s decision to incarcerate royals under allegations of corruption to better relieve them of their millions and billions. Don’t judge, wars are expensive and funds needed to come from somewhere. Fundraising in the kingdom is not a fun affair indeed.
And then of course there was the time Riyadh thought best to kidnap Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to force a resignation out of him.
Morality of the story: Yes Saudi Arabia is more than capable, nevermind willing to commit atrocities against its own elite and that of others.
But here is where things are becoming not only theatrical but comical to the point of disbelief.
According to a fiercely defensive Saudi Arabia, Iran did it!
Iran somehow magically extended its hands over the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, to then wizzard away an unassuming Khashoggi out of the consulate, so that the world would hate the Kingdom.
Guess who else was in on it? Qatar and Turkey.
Of course they were. Why throw one adversary under the bus when you could do away with three? One Saudi expert cracked the case on RT Arabic when only too eagerly deflected guilt onto the Kingdom’s detractors.
So who killed Jamal Khashoggi? Unless the Easter Bunny is in on it I would say that reason dictates we blame Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has a history that spans centuries when it comes to murder and other atrocities.
And then of course Riyadh would have to explain why is it that its ambassador to the U.S., Prince Khaled bin Salman, demanded that his staff called on Khashoggi to travel to Istanbul to finalise his paperwork, instead of the consulate in Washington where he resided.
To add to this rather important matter, King Salman would have to explain why the Crown Prince’s personal aide and bodyguard was caught on camera that day entering the Saudi consulate, never to be seen again.
The man on the right wearing a uniform was identified by Turkey’s Intelligence Services as the believed executioner of Khashoggi.
Only recently the Kingdom said its targeting of school-children in Yemen was legitimate in the face of tactical advancement … I doubt one murder will warrant more than a shudder of discontent.
What we should ask ourselves is: why Khashoggi?
I believe that Saudi Arabia has reached such a state of devolution it is now self-cannibalising. When power is rooted in bloodshed, to remain in power will require ever more blood, even that of those in power.
And so Saudi Arabia is bleeding its own. Beyond that lies the tale of our collective omission!
Our silence has allowed for this monstrosity to grow bold … arrogantly so!
If many knew already that Saudi Arabia was an intolerant, reactionary, and genocidal theocracy, now the world knows too, and that genie is not going back in its bottle.
Words are now pouring in condemnation of MBS’s kingdom. Such words may force yet western capitals to shun Riyadh despite its many billions … to befriend a criminal can be rationalised with realpolitik but to support a criminal dipped in famous blood is harder to do in front of the cameras.
Rula Jebreal, an award-winning journalist told Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hassan on October 13th:“This is Gaddafi on steroids. This is worse than Gaddafi because he [MBS] has billions of dollars to spend on the US, on PR, o lobbying, on buying consensus. This is where the danger lies,” she stressed.
Not even CNN could help but jump on the ‘critic’ train … although somewhat muted in comparison to other media. It reads: “The Khashoggi drama is only the latest incident that has given international observers reason to question the stability of the Crown Prince — whose credentials as a reformer were initially applauded overseas and for some time obscured his growing brutality.”