NYT Embrace of Saudi Crown Prince Turns Sour
The Times supports an array of despotic regimes considered close US allies – notably Israel and Saudi Arabia.
At the same time, it vilifies sovereign independent governments considered US adversaries, including democratic ones – notably all nations US regimes attack, others on its target list like Russia, China and Iran, as well as socially democratic Venezuela.
In November 2017, Times pseudo-journalist Tom Friedman met with Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in Riyadh.
A disgraceful, deceptive commentary about him followed – headlined “Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring, at Last.” Nothing remotely like his characterization exists. Just the opposite!
Friedman turned truth on its head, claiming “(t)he most significant reform process underway anywhere in the Middle East today is in” the kingdom.
“The crown prince has big plans to bring back a level of tolerance to his society.” No responsible editor would permit publication of this type rubbish.
MBS is as despotic and ruthless as previous Saudi rulers and top officials, including his father king Salman.
Friedman disgracefully praised MBS’ arrest of hundreds of princes, ministers and business figures, a ruthless power grab, solidifying his upcoming rule left unexplained.
Nor was anything said about notorious kingdom public beheadings, whippings, torture, political imprisonments, other egregious civil and human rights abuses, support for ISIS and other terrorists, along with allying with US wars of aggression.
Like his father king Salman, MBS is a ruthless tyrant, nothing whatever reformist about him, including his rage to eliminate all regime critics.
He almost surely ordered the abduction and likely murder of Saudi journalist/critic Jamal Khashoggi.
On October 2, he disappeared after entering the kingdom’s Instanbul, Turkey consulate, needing documents for his upcoming wedding.
He hasn’t been seen or heard from since, clearly the victim of foul play, Saudis in the consulate the last individuals to have contact with him.
Video footage showed him entering the consulate, no evidence of his leaving known. Unconfirmed reports suggests he was killed in the facility, his body dismembered, removed in boxes, and flown back to the kingdom to be disposed of.
After expressing willingness for Turkish investigators to conduct a forensic search of the kingdom’s consulate, a Turkish official said “(t)he Saudis now seem to delay.”
Another Turkish official said “(t)he Saudis are not cooperative in this investigation. We don’t have the access we need to the consulate or to the consul’s house.”
We have “strong indications” that Khashoggi was killed inside the facility. A 15-man Saudi team from the kingdom entered the consulate after his arrival, their names known, one a “forensic expert,” according to a Turkish official.
Reportedly, US intelligence intercepted Saudi communications, discussing a plan to capture Khashoggi. Turkish officials believe the 15-man team was sent to kill him, conceal evidence of the crime, and dispose of his body undetected.
The Times has too much egg on its face about the kingdom and MBS to remove. Its October 8 editorial was too little, too late, and woefully inadequate.
Saying “Saudi Arabia must answer for Jamal Khashoggi…A full accounting is needed…(Saudis) cannot dismiss (accusations about Khashoggi with blithe denials,” nor can Trump officials who’ve “embraced crown prince (MBS)” isn’t good enough.
It ignores Times support for the kingdom, Friedman’s appalling praise for MBS, the crown prince’s support for US wars of aggression, Riyadh’s funding and otherwise backing of ISIS and other terrorist groups, its horrendous civil and human rights abuses – the region’s most egregious after Israeli high crimes.
While the Times, (other Western media and ruling authorities) were extolling the kingdom and MBS, it committed egregious high crimes internally and against other regional nations – notably in Yemen and Syria.
In the aftermath of Khashoggi’s disappearance and likely murder at the hands of the Saudis, the Times calling “the dark side of MBS…ever more evident” rings hollow.
Saying Trump officials “coddled, armed and hosted” MBS ignores unacceptable praise heaped on him by the Times earlier.
You can’t have things both ways. The kingdom from inception was a ruthless rogue state, the Arab world’s worst, King Salman and MBS the latest in a long line of vicious Saudi despots.
It’s what Times reports, commentaries and editorials should say but don’t – the same thing about Israel, other rogue regimes, along with America’s deplorable state under Republicans and undemocratic Dems.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."