Khashoggi's Saudi Criticism Made Him a Marked Man
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Khashoggi was a Saudi insider/turned critic, especially about crown prince Mohammad bin Salman's (MBS) policies.
In 2017, he called his geopolitical agenda "impulsive," saying the "Trump effect (made him) feel empowered to this impulsive behavior in foreign policy. It is dangerous. It is dangerous for Saudi Arabia, for the region."
By the "Trump effect" he meant the strong bond between him and DLT, confident of his support no matter how outrageous his actions.
Last November he said "(t)he impulsivity of MBS has been a consistent theme — from the war in Yemen to the wave of arrests of constructive critics, royals and senior officials accused of corruption."
"The severity of Saudi Arabia's action against Lebanon mirrors the blockade of Qatar in June (2017) — abrupt, with no room for negotiation."
MBS is emboldened to pursue unrestrained aggressive behavior, Khashoggi said.
He expressed concern about what he called an Arab world with no vision. Anything from MBS is possible, including war between the kingdom and Iran, clearly involving the US and likely Israel if occurs.
Last year, he self-exiled himself to America, fearing for his safety, saying growing tension in the kingdom under MBS got many others to leave.
Saudi ties to the US and West are longstanding, more recently to Israel. They're strange bedfellows, allies of convenience against a common adversary – Iran for its sovereign independence and opposition to their hegemonic aims.
In his writings and public remarks, Khashoggi gave short shrift to longstanding kingdom human rights abuses, its state-sponsored terrorism throughout the region, its alliance with US-led NATO's imperial wars of aggression.
To his credit, he supported the Palestinians' liberating struggle, criticizing Israeli policies, once saying "we need to remind the Israelis that Jerusalem is ours." It's a UN-established international city belong to no country.
Khashoggi once said Israel's "existence is outside the context of history and logic. It came into being by force. It…live(s) by force, and it will die by force."
He said Riyadh treats Lebanon "as though it had declared war on Saudi Arabia." MBS rashness "deepen(ed) tensions and undermin(ed) the security of the Gulf states and the region as a whole."
On Thursday when asked if Khashoggi is dead, Trump said "(i)t certainly looks that way to me," adding his regime's response "will have to be very severe. It's bad, bad stuff."
It pales in comparison to US forever wars in multiple theaters against nations threatening no one, responsible for millions of casualties post-9/11 alone - from war, related violence, untreated diseases, starvation, and overall depravation.
Khashoggi gave short shrift to the most important issues of our time - endless wars and carnage, US-led hostility toward Russia, China, Iran, and other sovereign independent nations at war with no one, the risk of catastrophic nuclear war if Trump regime hardliners in cahoots with their partners push things too far.
Whether MBS can avoid blame for Khashoggi's fate remains uncertain so far. Reportedly he intends shifting blame to others, notably General Ahmed al-Assiri, one of his senior advisors, as the lead culprit.
According to the NYT, Saudi leadership is expected to say MBS ordered him to rendition Khashoggi to the kingdom, adding:
He either "misunderstood his instructions or overstepped," the Times citing unnamed sources. ABC News reported that Pompeo listened to and has a transcript of the incriminating audio Turkish authorities obtained.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert denied the report, claiming he "neither heard a tape nor has he seen a transcript related to Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance."
In a letter to Trump, dozens of GOP and undemocratic Dem House members urged "strong, comprehensive sanctions" on the kingdom, including a halt in arms sales.
Commenting on Khashoggi, Vladimir Putin compared his fate to what happened to the Skripals, saying conclusive proof is lacking in both cases.
The world community "need(s) to figure out a single approach to these kinds of problems," he said, adding:
Russia won't downgrade relations with the kingdom. "We do not know what happened in reality. So why should we undertake any steps to deteriorate our relations with Saudi Arabia."
"If someone knows what happens and there was a murder, I hope some evidence is provided. And dependent on that, we will make some decisions."
Russia and the Saudis have close political and economic ties on oil issues and the pending sale of S-400 air defense systems to the kingdom, terms still being discussed.
The Trump regime aims to scuttle the deal in favor US THAAD missiles, a far more expensive, less effective alternative.
US, UK, and other EU countries straightaway blamed Russia for the Skripal incident, punishing the Kremlin despite no evidence proving its culpability.
In contrast, these countries called for evidence before accusing the Saudis for what happened to Khashoggi. The double standard needs no elaboration.
Turkey claims audio evidence (likely from bugging the Saudi consulate) shows Khashoggi was tortured and killed inside the Saudi consulate, his body dismembered and disposed of.
Forensic evidence obtained by searching the premises, the consul general's residence, areas outside, and official vehicles may provide added proof for what happened.
Turkey's interior ministry said evidence obtained will be "shared with the world." Things could come to a head in days.
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