|Seriouser and Seriouser||
9 October 2018
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi regime, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to take care of some paperwork a week ago, and he has not been seen since. The Turkish government has claimed that the Saudi authorities murdered him, dismembered his body and smuggled the remains out in a black van. The Saudis deny all of it. Someone is lying, and the affair highlights a great many unpleasant things.
First off, Mr. Khashoggi is/was a journalist who was chased out of Saudi Arabia for complaining that his friends have been arrested for opposing the rule of Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in Saudi Arabia. He took refuge in the US where he was a permanent resident and columnist for the Washington Post. His disappearance is one of many crimes committed against journalists in retaliation for doing their jobs. This should upset everyone who believes in a free press.
Second, if the Turkish government is lying, the question is why? President Erdogan is keeping ties to Iran and Qatar open, which Saudi opposes. MBS has referred to Turkey as part of a "triangle of evil" with Iran and Islamic extremists. The Turks might be trying to smear the Saudis.
Yet that raises the question of where is Mr. Khashoggi? If the Saudis could produce him, the egg would be on Mr. Erdogan's face. It has been a week since he journalist disappeared, and there is no sign of him. Obviously, the Saudis cannot produce him.
Third, if the Saudis have done something to Mr. Khashoggi, they chose to do it in Turkey, an insult to the Erdogan government. This will make any kind of rapprochement impossible. This will have the effect of driving the Turks closer to Iran, and proxy battles among the Turks, Iranians and Saudis will bring even greater instability to the region.
Fourth, the United States is, in theory, allied with both Turkey and Saudi Arabia, yet it will probably come down on the side of the Saudis. The Trump administration has poor relations with Ankara. The US is harboring a Muslim cleric the Erdogan government wants on trial in Turkey, and the Turks are holding a US cleric for collaborating with Kurdish extremists.
This journal is prepared to let the Saudis provide evidence that Mr. Khashoggi is alive and well. As time goes on, however, it becomes harder and harder to believe in a happy outcome. Moreover, it becomes easier and easier to believe that the Saudi government has used lethal force to silence a critic. MBS may be reforming Saudi society and bringing the kingdom into the 21st century, but if his rule must be shored up by murdering critics, then that progress comes at a price that undermines the success he seeks. The clock is ticking.
© Copyright 2018 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.