Jamal Khashoggi offers remarks during POMED’s “Mohammed bin Salman’s Saudi Arabia: A Deeper Look.” (Photo: POMED)
Saudi Arabia has dominated the news cycle after Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was disappeared in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and, according to Turkish sources, murdered by a 15-strong team of Saudi agents. The public relations backlash might spell trouble for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), while Western governments have scrambled to express “concern” about the case, in what is more about protecting their interests and Western corporate dealings in Saudi Arabia than any genuine concern for human rights.
It seems that having Khashoggi, a former insider, dish out criticism from the Beltway was too much embarrassment for MBS, who is the most powerful man in the country, to tolerate. The West had let MBS get away with everything until now, as he was their man, the one who would deliver some window dressing reforms to appease Western public opinion while facilitating billionaire dealings for corporations, especially weapons manufacturers. However, this final stunt seems to have backfired, at least for MBS.
Human Rights Concerns?
It is impossible not to compare the reaction to this episode to the corresponding ones to Saudi war crimes in Yemen. When the Saudis bombed a market, when they launched a double-tap strike on a funeral, when they hit a Yemeni school bus, it barely registered. All those episodes made headlines, as…