Saudi involvement in journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance
The case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi who on entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, seems to have vanished into thin air, is being viewed as a clear case of murder on foreign soil by the Riyadh regime.
Now we have a report in this regard for the Citizen Truth site by West Asian affairs expert, Catherine Shakdam, titled: “Saudi involvement in journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance”.
What happens when the King’s men disavow the regime? Well, in Saudi Arabia’s absolute monarchy they get kidnapped, imprisoned, most likely questioned, and should they have applied themselves to offending the king: they will be condemned to death.
Indeed, to level any form of criticism at Saudi Arabia’s rulers is an offense punishable by death. And death comes in many imaginative ways such as beheading, hanging, stoning, flogging etc. – in the kingdom which Britain had created in 1932 for its agent, Abdul-Aziz Aal-e Saud, the desert brigand of Jewish origin from Najd, seven years after he had unleashed torrents of Muslim blood and desecrated the sanctities of Islam while brutally occupying Hijaz, the Land of Divine Revelation.
On October 2, Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent journalist for the Washington Post and former Saudi intelligence official of Turkish origin was reported missing after he stepped into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
On October 3, the Turkish foreign ministry summoned Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to demand explanation on his disappearance; a call which was quickly echoed by the United States as fears grew Khashoggi may have become the latest victim of Riyadh’s witch-hunt against ‘dissident’ voices.
Since then the Turkish foreign ministry has summoned the Saudi ambassador to Ankara several times, and the Turkish Judiciary has issued orders to search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul following release of footage by CCTV of Khashoggi stepping into the consulate and not coming out ever since, thus proving the falsity of the consulate’s claim that he left immediately.
Now, should Khashoggi’s disappearance matter in the face of the broad violence, abuse and altogether oppression Saudi Arabia has so far dispensed?
Maybe or maybe not, but it nevertheless betrays of the unraveling of a system now focused on eating its own out of fear of being ousted.
If Saudi Arabia may still appear to the naked eye an oasis of tranquility in a region plagued by instability, I would recommend readers to cast their mind to the pages of modern history: how many so-called stable regimes have fallen to coups d’etat and popular uprisings over the decades? Often they begin over a seemingly minor social or political upset.
As Madawi Aal-e Rasheed – a scion of the Aal-e Rasheed dynasty that ruled Najd for 85 years until brutally replaced by the upstart Saudis with British help in 1921 – writes for Newsweek: “Heir Apparent Mohamed bin Salman (MBS) now stands alone at the top of the hierarchy, but he has lost many constituencies that allow him to rule without resorting to direct force. This situation is unsustainable and even dangerous. There’s been a serious erosion of regime legitimacy, and this is leading to a slow implosion from within.”
Indeed, over the months Riyadh has cultivated a dangerous divide with key geostrategic partners – among which are Turkey and of course Qatar – by systematically challenging nations’ sovereignty and territorial sanctity.
Though technically speaking the Saudi consulate is Saudi Arabia’s home ground it is not fair play to so openly seek retribution against a man whose crime was to voice an opinion.
Beyond a simple diplomatic faux-pas lies the underbelly of a regime in free fall, whose ‘friends’ will soon see it as a dangerous liability and no longer a strategic partner. And yes, Washington may yet have no other choice but to dump Saudi Arabia’s golden boy: MBS.
However intent MBS has been to portray himself a champion reformer actions still speak louder than the grandest of declarations.
Let’s look at the facts, shall we? Is Saudi Arabia’s ruling clan destroying itself?
Since Donald Trump walked into the White House, Saudi Arabia has intensified its war on Yemen by systematically targeting civilians and civilian institutions, and it drove a hammer to the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council by launching a political and financial blockade on Qatar thus weakening regional cohesion.
Last year Saudi Arabia orchestrated the kidnapping of Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’d al-Hariri in a botched attempt to assert its will in the Levant, and it launched a brutal sectarian repression campaign against citizens following other schools of Islamic jurisprudence, both Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, so that the ruling minority cult of Wahhabism/Salafism could reign undisputed.
It went about arresting and brutalizing political rights activists and journalists for their calls for reform, and it threatened Canada with a 9/11-type attack for questioning its human rights track record.
But no move was more shocking than that carried out against rival members of the Saudi clan when MBS turned the Carlton Hotel into an interrogation center to extract cash and loyalties back in November 2017.
More than 30 of Saudi Arabia’s most senior figures, among them blood relatives of senior rulers, were locked inside the hotel, accused of corruption. The arrests had been decreed by the senile King Salman, and carried out by his self-imposed Heir Apparent MBS, who claimed to be committed to overturning most of the established order to assert his own.
The kidnapping of Jamal Khashoggi more than likely falls within this purge rationale MBS set in place. The anointed son, as it were, is quite literally using his father’s last days in power to cleanse all opposition to his rule and his vision of the future.
Only in a country such as the Saudi Kingdom – where tribal law and tribal traditions reign almighty – an affront to leadership, even if by order of the king, could revive tribes’ taste for blood and taste for a new order.
While many of us were distracted by US President Trump’s ire towards Iran, it seems we missed many signs pointing to Saudi Arabia’s pending doom.
In an analysis for the Strategic Culture Foundation, Daniel Lazare makes several insightful remarks all pointing to the unraveling of Saudi Arabia and the fascism of the heretical Wahhabi/Salafi minority cult – the very pillar which supported and sustained the Saudi clan’s claim to power.
He writes: “In August, Daesh chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (originally a Saudi protégé), accused Saudi Arabia of “trying to secularize its inhabitants and ultimately destroy Islam”. So far over three thousand Saudis have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join up with al-Qaida, Daesh and other takfiri terrorist outfits. Once they return home, they might constitute a fifth column threatening the ruling family as well. A crumbling dynasty could fall like a ripe date into their outstretched palm.”
If most will agree that an end to the Aal-e Saud’s tyranny would be a good thing, it is what replaces it that should concern us. Ultimately and like so many experts including Khashoggi have said: having power concentrated in the hand of one man is never a good idea – never mind the fact that it is unsustainable.
Thus, we should engage with regional powers to encourage positive change from within in order to support the democratic aspirations of tens of millions of Muslims of Arabia – groaning under the boots of the Wahhabis of Najd after losing their homelands to occupation by the Saudi clan.