By Mass L. Usuf –
Thus far there is no incontrovertible direct evidence to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the folks in bliss within the lofty Palaces in Riyadh are responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. There is, however, an inescapably overwhelming corpus of circumstantial evidence building up which places the blame where it should lay – the House of Saud.
Jamal Khashoggi was from a well-connected family both in Turkey and Saudi Arabia. He was also a prominent Saudi Arabian journalist who later contributed to the Washington Post in the US. He chose to live in self-imposed exile in Virginia after leaving Saudi Arabia last year. In his first Washington Post column on Sept. 18, 2017, he wrote about his decision to leave Saudi Arabia: “I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice. To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison. I can speak when so many cannot. I want you to know that Saudi Arabia has not always been as it is now. We Saudis deserve better.” While in Turkey, he was last seen entering the Saudi consulate premises in Istanbul on October 2, to pick up some documents that would allow him to marry. He never was seen coming out dead or alive. Jamal had simply disappeared since. Turkish officials said he was killed inside.
Lord and Master
Just as the Saud’s Lord and Master invariably does in affairs of global interest, the Saudi authorities too, via their media slaves have been denying the killing and, then tactically unpacking their lies and deception.
Political analysts have commented that the silence of the leaders of the ‘enlightened’ world on the face of certain events had emboldened the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Late last year 200 people, including Saudi princes, ministers and business tycoons, were detained by the crown prince and put under house arrest at the Ritz Carlton in an anti-corruption sweep. No country said anything. Human rights, due process of law and all the hackneyed terminologies applicable to other lesser folks did not apply to the crown prince. Still fresh in our memories is the idiosyncratic demeanour of the crown prince when he kidnapped the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri in 2017. France intervened to free Hariri, but Western capitals did not take Riyadh to task for detaining a head of government. Imagine the hue and cry the world would have witnessed in case the same had happened in another country say, Iran. This simply indicates the hypocrisy of the Western capitals especially, the Lord and Master of the house of Saud. Need one tell more, just recollect, US President Donald Trump recently telling his supporters that Saudi Arabia and its King would not last “two weeks” in power without American military support.
As expected, the Saudi government repeatedly and vehemently denied reports of Jamal being killed. European officials and some US law makers who are privy to the aberrational behavioural of the Saudi authorities expressed doubts and suspicion. Taking notice of the growing international concern, the Kingdom through its servile agents in the media tried to come up with conspiracy theories. On 16.10.2018, Saudi Gazette shamefully headed a column, “The lies and deception in the Khashoggi case!”. The Columnist went on to say, “When asked about the official Saudi response to the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, I told Arab and foreign media that our story has always been clear, simple and firm: Jamal visited the consulate to do some paperwork and left”. The end.
With regard to the 15-man hit squad that visited Turkey on the fateful day, a report on the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya news channel said the 15 were “tourists” who had been falsely accused. Al Yaum, a pro-government newspaper published in Saudi Arabia, reported the disclosure of the 15 men as a violation the “rights of tourists.” Al-Riyadh Daily, in an editorial, sharply criticized foreign media for attempting “to incite international public opinion against the kingdom,” claiming that the New York Times has an “an anti-Saudi policy.”
The Saudi mainstream newspapers were scrambling to score brownie points with the Crown Prince by screaming all the way about conspiracy, lies and fabricated accusations by the enemies to tarnish the image of the Kingdom. They resorted to various allegations and unsubstantiated accusations against Qatar. The Saudi daily newspaper Okaz on 23.10.2018 argued that Jamal Khashoggi has advanced the interests of Qatar. The unashamed writer also falsely claimed that Qatar has a “50 percent ownership of the Washington Post and has influence over its editorial direction.” It is known that the Washington Post is a paper that is owned by American billionaire Jeff Bezos. Another Okaz columnist, Ahmed Ajab Al-Jahrani, claimed in a column titled, “Who Liberated Khashoggi?” that the government critic was a terrorist sympathizer whose sectarian goals were designed to destabilize the Saudi government.
Part of this campaign was an attempt to paint an evil, satanic and unpatriotic picture of Jamal so that, when it is acknowledged he was killed the impact will be neutralised. It is too well known that Jamal did not see himself as a dissident but as a critic worried about the direction his country was going under its 33-year-old crown prince – Mohamed Bin Salman who is affectionately called ‘MBS’ by his Western Masters.
Finally, faced with mounting mass of evidence and the Turkish President Tayip Erdogan’s firm resolve to bring to justice the perpetrators, the Kingdom acknowledged that Khashoggi died in the consulate. More than two weeks after the killing the Saudi authorities said Khashoggi had been killed accidentally in a fight with Saudi officials. The latest from The Guardian today (25/10) is that the office of Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor has said the killing of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul this month was premeditated, contradicting Riyadh’s previous claims that the journalist was killed by accident and his death covered up by rogue operatives.
Reuters reported on 22.10.2018 that Germany had announced it will stop arms sales, while Britain, France and Germany issued a joint statement asking for an “urgent … clarification of exactly what happened Oct 2.” President Donald Trump like the pendulum is swinging between saying he is unhappy with the Saudi investigation but also that he does not want to jeopardize U.S. arms sales to the country. Saudi Arabia is the largest purchaser of American weapons. In 2017, the U.S. delivered $5.5 billion in weapons to its Middle Eastern ally, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. When it comes to arms sales and through that creating chaos and pandemonium worldwide, there is no bandying about the so-called ‘American values’, ‘Our way of life’, ‘Liberty, freedom and human values’, ‘Right to express one’s political thought’, ‘Establishing democratic principles’ and all those weasel words and deceitful catchphrases.
The absolutely unnecessary war in impoverished Yemen is being prosecuted by this crown prince with the arms sold by the US and its European allies. The world is just looking on as if nothing has happened in Yemen. While the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), estimates that more than 3 million Yemenis have fled their homes. Save The Children estimated at least 50,000 children died in 2017, an average of 130 every day. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has estimated that Saudi-led coalition air attacks caused almost two-thirds of reported civilian deaths.
Justice for Jamal
Some say that the Saudi crown prince is a progressive reformer; others see him as a brutal hardliner who silences his opponents. In February, Khashoggi wrote that if Prince Mohammed can listen to his critics and acknowledge that they, too, love their country, he can actually enhance his power. The crown prince is also at the center of the Jamal Khashoggi’s murder controversy. Meanwhile, the Saudi state media said King Salman had sacked Qahtani (a confidante of MBS) and four other officials over the killing carried out by a 15-man hit team. Qahtani himself once said he would never do anything without his boss’ approval. “Do you think I make decisions without guidance? I am an employee and a faithful executor of the orders of my lord the king and my lord the faithful crown prince,” Qahtani tweeted last summer. (Reuters). The crown prince says that those responsible for Khashoggi killing will be brought to justice.
Donald Trump is worried not to do anything that would upset the arms sales running to nearly 100 billion dollars. Is not all of this a big drama that is being played out by the heroes of the world, on the stage of the world theatre. If there is anyone who is waiting to see justice been done to Jamal Khashoggi, it will only be a dream. What is more prevalent in the world today is not justice but pure and simple, outright Hypocrisy. True justice shall come on the day when God’s court of Justice is set. All detractors who were the cause of oppression and injustice against humanity shall be swiftly taken to task on that Day.