Jamal Khashoggi – Contributing in Life and in Death.

10/20/18

Recep Erdogan, Turkey’s president, moved boldly to expose details of the murder that took place on October 2nd in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Whatever his motivation, whether to regain favor with America, block Saudi Arabia’s ascendancy in the region, avoid a fine for Iran related sanctions, repair Turkey’s international image in the face of its own abuses against journalists and dissidents or all of the above – the information Erdogan provided has been crucial.

The Saudi prince has yet to answer for it.

Innocent until proven guilty? Agreed.

But so far, the kingdom’s account of the events – the delay and contradictions – points strongly in the direction of culpability. That killing a high profile person like Khashoggi would be carried out without the prince’s consent, as Saudi officials have claimed, is absurd.

The prince may have had a modernist streak – allowing women to drive and its citizens to go to the cinema – but all the while he’s jailed journalists and a prominent woman dissident.

A modernist streak does not make a modern leader.

One can surmise that the prince’s upbringing did not prepare him for the task of an enlightened statesman, that he grew up in a gilded cage even as he travelled the world and met with foreign leaders and dignitaries. Despite all of those interactions, some basic attitudes were not modified. In the clash between the old and the new, the old prevailed.

The long history of despotism and oppression that is at the center of Saudi history remained intact.

Turkey’s president has now indicated that in the next day or two he will have even more information about the details of the crime.

Were the evidence conclusive to prove that the prince masterminded the operation, should the US do a dance with him and let him get away with it?

Mr Khashoggi had chosen to come to our land because he felt safe here to continue to speak against the ruthless leaders in his native Saudi Arabia.
He must be defended and spoken for.

Are we worried that Saudi Arabia will seek other alliances if we put pressure on them?

Go right ahead and see where you can find a new partner. Try Russia or China.

If you want to be on this side there are standards to live by and that means transparency.

For America to give the prince a pass is a disservice to the people of Saudi Arabia and the Arab world. Emerging nations pulling from under the chains of tyrants need help.

Whereas we have limits on what we can do with Putin and his gross disregard for human life, we can and should put pressure on the Saudis to put the prince on trial or levy sanctions accordingly.

There will be calls from some quarters to excuse the prince for fear of hindering their continued purchase of American weapons.

But this is a defining moment and standing by Mr Khashoggi will be standing by the people of Saudi Arabia.

To not do so diminishes and corrupts us.

Excuse the prince now and we will do so again later.

The Saudi people are watching.

Tunisia was the only country left embracing democracy after the Arab spring in 2011, but new movements are afoot, even if we’ve not yet heard of them. How can they not?

Man and woman will be muzzled and killed, but the yearning for freedom will never be stopped.

When the time comes the Saudi people will emerge to form a fairer government.

Sometime in the future, repression or no repression, the monarchy will be deposed.

And Jamal Khashoggi will be there at the heart of such movement, along with so many others whose lives have been trampled and cut short, but whose spirits will never die.

Let America be by his side till that day.

 

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