The ‘outrage’ by the West at the murder of Jamal Khashoggi is hypocritical – they care more for their big arm deals, writes Dr Aslam Sathar of Durban.
The murder of Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi (JAK) by a Saudi death squad reads like a Hollywood script from gangster movies like the Godfather, Goodfellas and John Wick.
The murder of JAK is eerily similar to the murder of Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, in 1170. The difference is that the later was murdered in a cathedral and JAK in an embassy.
Murder in the Cathedral, a verse drama by TS Eliot, was written and performed at a time when fascism was on the rise in central Europe. The play considers the agency of the individual in resisting authoritarianism. Thomas Becket was a close personal friend and chancellor of King Henry II. After the King elected him Archbishop of Canterbury his relationship with the King became estranged and clashed over the relative powers of the Church and the State. Because he feared for his life, Becket sought exile in France. He decided to return to England after 7 years in exile very aware of the danger to his life. After his return to England, four knights rode into Canterbury Cathedral, hid their weapons and demanded that Becket leave with them by order of the King. When he refused, the knights beheaded Thomas Becket.
JAK was an editor and a journalist in Saudi Arabia, and like Becket, he was an adviser to the Saudi Royal Family and he enjoyed the friendship of Crown Price Muhammad bin Salman (MBS). At first JAK applauded MBS’s liberal and reformist policies in the kingdom but when MBS began his widespread incarcerations, torture of human rights activists, crackdown on dissent and pursuant of his bloody proxy war on Yemen, JAK like Becket, became sharply critical of the Saudi government and MBS’s increasing authoritarianism.
Fear of imprisonment and for his life, JAK, like Becket, left Saudi Arabia in September 2017 and went into self-imposed exile to the USA where he worked as a columnist for the Washington Post. JAK entered the Saudi embassy in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 to get papers for his marriage and was never seen again. At the same time, like the four knights who rode into Canterbury Castle, 18 Saudi nationals arriving in airplanes and private jets entered the Saudi embassy. For almost three weeks the Saudis spun a web of lies, deceit, denials, false statements, but finally admitted that JAK’s murder on the day he entered the Saudi embassy was premeditated.
Unlike Thomas Becket who was beheaded, to-date JAK’s body has not been found and it is alleged that his body was dismembered and disposed off. Included amongst the 18 Saudis were members of The General Intelligence Presidency (GIP), the intelligence agency of Saudi Arabia and the military. Amongst whom was a forensic pathologist whose area of expertise by training includes the excision of body parts.
Glen Greenwald in his book No Place to Hide, Edward Snowden, The NSA & The Surveillance State revealed through WikiLeaks that both the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and its closest ally the British Government’s Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in collaboration with its national and international partners, intercepts and stores billions of emails, phone calls and other types of communications per day of global citizens, including their own. Recently, a report in Information Clearing House (October 29, 2018) confirms that the U.K. was aware of the entire plot by Saudi Arabia to abduct and or murder JAK three weeks before it took place (Oct. 2).
The report states that Britian’s GCHQ intercepted internal communications of the Saudi’s GIP that revealed orders by a “member of the royal circle” to abduct JAK and take him back to Saudi Arabia and if JAK was troublesome, “alternative actions” were permissible. According to the report, although the British Military Intelligence, MI6, had warned their Saudi counterparts to abort their mission, this warning was obviously ignored. Was this information not available or shared with the NSA? Coincidentally, on the 3 October, the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, drafted her resignation letter and on the 9 October she resigned to a stunned public without any plausible explanation. Donald spun lies and cover ups in regard to JAK’s murder to protect his most famous and trusted ally in the Middle East, MBS, because Trump and his allies in Europe and the Middle East valued the billions of petrodollar deals with MBS than the life of one JAK.
What is certain is that the American government also knew of the plot to kill JAK well in advance. The protracted silence of both the British and American governments – aware of the plot and not to intervene in preventing the murder of JAK – is complicit.
The outpour of the West’s outrage for JAK’s murder is hypocritical. They care more for their petrodollar arms deals that sustains their way life than they do for the deaths of thousands of innocent Yemeni men, women and children who are murdered and displaced, their hospitals, schools and infrastructures bombed by MAS’s with weapons purchased from the US coalition.