5 things to know about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi

Photo: April Brady / POMED (cc-by-2.0)
Photo: April Brady / POMED (cc-by-2.0)

1. Saudi journalist Jamal bin Ahmad Khashoggi went to his country’s embassy in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and was never seen alive again. According to some sources he had been tortured, murdered and dismembered. A team of 15 men had traveled in the hours before Khashoggi’s disappearance and returned to Saudi Arabia the same day. Video and audio recordings add to the credibility of a premeditated assassination.

2. Jamal bin Ahmad Khashoggi was a Saudi Arabian journalist, author, and a former general manager and editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel. He also served as editor for the Saudi Arabian newspaper Al Watan, and most recently wrote for the Washington Post. In the 1980s he was an embedded reporter with Osama Bin Laden’s forces in Afghanistan and supported Al-Qaeda in that conflict. After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks he distanced himself from these forces.

3. More recently, Khashoggi had openly criticized aspects of Saudi foreign and domestic policy, calling for equal rights for women and opposing the Saudi war on Yemen among other things, making him a dissident against the world’s most repressive government.

4. U.S. and Saudi leaders are shedding crocodile tears over Khashoggi’s killing. Now the Saudi government is condemning Khashoggi’s killing as a “premeditated murder” that “tarnishes” the kingdom. It is hard to believe that more than a dozen aides to Mohammed Bin Salman could travel to Turkey to kill a journalist without the monarchy being involved. Nor is it credible that the United States government is shocked and horrified about this gruesome killing when they have been perfectly OK with public beheadings, not to mention the genocidal war against the people of Yemen. The Saudi monarchy is a creation of the United States and the oil companies. The U.S. government is averse to breaking with the Saudi regime, given its strategic role and alliance with the U.S. and Israel against Iran, as well as the enormous profits that U.S. oil and Pentagon contractors make from the relationship with Saudi Arabia.

5. Despite any putative reform or restructuring of Saudi security forces in response to this scandal, the  killing of Khashoggi will have a chilling effect on any progressive elements inside of Saudi society, including those opposed to the brutal U.S.-Saudi war that has created a humanitarian disaster in Yemen.  

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