Khashoggi Incident Tests US/Saudi Relations
In 1933, US/Saudi diplomatic relations were firmly established. They remain strong because of the kingdom’s huge oil reserves, second largest to Venezuela’s.
Egregious Saudi civil and human rights abuses are largely overlooked. The kingdom allies with Washington’s imperial agenda.
It’s the Arab World’s leading supporter of ISIS and other terrorist groups, its oil wealth used to help recruit and arm them with heavy weapons – these elements used against governments the US targets for regime change.
The Saudis are no strangers to imprisoning or assassinating regime critics. The same goes for numerous other nations – notably other repressive Gulf state monarchies, Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Mexico, Colombia, and Honduras, among others.
They’re all valued US allies, partnering in its rage for global dominance, intolerant of anyone or anything interfering with achieving it.
Rarely ever does the elimination of a journalist anywhere arouse world attention, the Khashoggi incident a rare exception.
Clearly the Saudis abducted and likely killed him. After entering its Istanbul, Turkey consulate on October 2, he hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
People don’t just disappear. Prominent journalist Khashoggi was a marked man for his Saudi regime criticism. Last year, he left the kingdom for residency in America, fearing for his safety.
According to US intelligence intercepts of Saudi officials discussing him, crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) ordered an operation to return him to the kingdom, clearly wanting him silenced.
Turkish officials said a Saudi security team was sent to Istanbul to abduct and kill him. According to his close friends, he was encouraged to return home, offered a high-level regime position, his safety guaranteed.
He scoffed at the so-called outreach, telling a friend: “Are you kidding? I don’t trust them one bit.” Nor should anyone trust a regime notorious for some of the world’s most egregious civil and human rights abuses against its own people and abroad.
Video evidence showed Khashoggi entering the Istanbul consulate, never leaving. According to Turkish authorities, consulate security camera footage was removed.
Turkish staff inside the facility were told to stay home on the day Khashoggi disappeared. It’s believed a black van may have been used to smuggle his likely dismembered remains to Istanbul’s airport for transport to the kingdom to be secretly disposed of.
Turkish authorities believe a 15-man Saudi security team came to Istanbul on October 2, arriving on two private jet aircraft.
Flight records show one flew to Cairo from Istanbul, the other to Dubai, both continuing to Riyadh. Turkish authorities believe they may have carried Khashoggi’s dismembered remains in heavy bags taken from the consulate to waiting cars, along with removed security camera footage.
The Trump regime has been largely dismissive about Khashoggi’s disappearance and likely murder. After saying nothing for days, Trump said “we’re going to have to see” if reports about him are accurate.
On Wednesday, deputy State Department press secretary Robert Palladino claimed the US “had no advanced knowledge of (his) disappearance.”
Asked if the Trump regime had any knowledge of a Saudi threat against him, Palladino said: “We had no advanced knowledge.”
Asked if the US would have warned him if it had knowledge of a threat to his security, Palladino dismissively responded: “It’s a hypothetical question.”
He gave a similar answer to whether Washington would warn any of its citizens if it knew of a threat against them. He claimed reports about Khashoggi’s disappearance are “conflicting.”
Clearly the Trump regime wants minimal discussion about the Khashoggi incident, wanting nothing interfering with longstanding US/Saudi relations.
Despite various congressional members calling for a review of bilateral relations, including Senator Rand Paul saying he’ll try to force a Senate vote on blocking US arms sales to the kingdom if there’s “any indication” of Saudi responsibility for Khashoggi’s disappearance and death, US relations with Riyadh remain strong.
No matter what’s proved about Khashoggi or any other unlawful Saudi actions, both countries remain strategic allies – to the detriment of world peace, equity and justice.
A Final Comment
Media coverage of the Khashoggi incident has been shamefully inadequate, omitting what’s most important to report about the Saudis, notably by the NYT.
Little or nothing was reported about:
- horrendous kingdom civil and human right abuses, notably against journalists, human rights workers, and other regime critics;
- its support for ISIS and other terrorist groups;
- its alliance with US imperial wars of aggression, including the rape and destruction of Yemen and Syria;
- its sinister ties to Israel and disdain for Palestinian rights;
- its annual multi-billion dollar purchases of US weapons; and
- its ownership of countless billions of dollars worth of US equities, bonds, and other investments – reportedly considering hundreds of billions of dollars more in US investments.
Saudi responsibility for Khashoggi’s disappearance and likely murder won’t change longstanding US/Saudi ties. Nor will any of its other lawless actions.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."