Empire Diaries Desk
NEW DELHI: Why did Saudi Arabia kill Jamal Khashoggi? Was his body cut up into pieces and driven away? Or did he die after a brawl? Will the Saudi Crown Prince come out in the open and answer? Will the US punish the kingdom?
Well, the entire planet has gone into a tizzy in trying to solve the Murder Mystery of the Decade — the gruesome killing of the US-based Saudi journalist.
Much water has passed under the bridge since the fateful afternoon of October 2, 2018, when Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and never walked out alive.
With due respect to Mr. Khashoggi, presuming he’s really been cut up into pieces by state-sponsored Saudi hitmen as Turkey claims, his murder is only the smaller story in this mysterious episode.
The bigger story is — why is the Khashoggi case hitting the headlines in the first place? Why is it big news? Why is the Western media hyping it up? What’s the catch?
The Saudi government and certain Saudi Arabians, in general, have committed far, far bigger crimes over the past few decades. And those were not run-of-the-mill crimes, they were super-crimes.
It is well known that 15 of the 19 hijackers who carried out the 9/11 terror attacks in the US in 2001 were Saudi nationals. Yet, it is well known that the US never cared to put the Saudi government in the dock. America and the House of Saud continued to have a good time in bed.
It is well known that the kingdom has systematically killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Yemen. Yet, it is well known that the US is least bothered about the Saudi-engineered genocide in Yemen. Who cares about who dies in Yemen? — that’s been the nonchalant Washington stance.
We now come to our million-dollar question — why is the US then kicking up such a huge fuss over Khashoggi, a little-known individual, when it has royally ignored much bigger crimes committed by the Saudis?
“Severe punishment” — that is US President Donald Trump’s chilling threat to the Gulf monarchy if the Khashoggi case isn’t handled firmly.
It just doesn’t make sense, does it?
Before we go into why the US government would have a vested interest in hyping up the Khashoggi story in the international media, let’s have a look at some missing pieces of the puzzle.
- Critic of only the MBS regime, not Saudi Arabia in general
Khashoggi wasn’t actually a very vocal critic of the Gulf kingdom as it is being wrongly claimed. Unlike many Saudi activists, writers, whistleblowers and journalists who’ve been hunted down and jailed by the Saudi authorities, Khashoggi’s never had a deeply troubled relationship with the Saudi government. In fact, he’s worked alongside the monarchy as a media hawk. All that he has criticized in his Washington Post columns is the style of governance of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS). Nothing more. Khashoggi’s never quite slammed the Saudi clergy in general or the kingdom’s historically poor human rights record etc.
- Murky world of espionage and links with Osama bin Laden
Not many are aware that Khashoggi may have been neck-deep in the intelligence business. We know that he’s worked for Saudi intelligence Mukhabarat in the past. And as someone who used to officially liaison between the US government and former Al Qaeda boss Osama bin Laden, it is quite possible that he may have been working for the CIA as well or perhaps some other intel networks.
- Punished for being a double agent?
It is extremely likely that Khashoggi of late had become a classic turncoat, leaving Riyadh and Washington miffed. Or perhaps he had become a double agent — acting as a double-edged sword. He perhaps was working for both the factions at the two far ends of the geopolitical spectrum. On one hand, he may have been working for the US-UK-Saudi-Israel cartel. On the other hand, he was perhaps hand in glove with the Qatar-Iran-Russia-China-Turkey lobby. Some sources claim that a few weeks back, Khashoggi had a meeting with representatives of the Emir of Qatar (Sheikh Tamim Al Thani) in New York. And they say that he has also been cozying up to Qatar-backed Muslim Brotherhood.
- Where on Earth is Khashoggi’s body?
Where is Khashoggi’s body or his body parts? BBC, CNN and all the other leading international media houses are asking a simple question — where is Khashoggi’s body? But there’s no answer, still. Which is an impossible scenario. In a world where powerful Orwellian governments, incisive intelligence networks and state-of-the-art surveillance companies are devising newer ways of tracing and tracking every individual on Earth, how on Earth can nobody locate Jamal Khashoggi, the man in the global spotlight? Isn’t it impossible that the Turkish government won’t know it? After all, Erdogan & Co. victoriously claimed that Khashoggi was butchered to death and his body was dismembered. Isn’t it impossible that Washington DC won’t know it?
It’s loud and clear that Trumpland is arm-twisting MBS. The American government has suddenly cherry-picked a dwarf of an issue and turned it into a stormy international crisis.
But why? To achieve what?
Does Uncle Sam want Mohammad bin Salman to resign?
Hell, perhaps yes! Step down, or we will tarnish your image using the Khashoggi case — that’s what the US appears to be telling MBS and his cohorts in the royal palace in Riyadh.
Or perhaps it’s got to do with two arms deals. The word is out that the Saudi government is on the verge of sealing a historic multi-billion dollar deal with Vladimir Putin’s Russia to buy S-400 missile defence systems. It is something that Washington is closely watching — and wincing in pain.
Then there’s more.
Ever since Trump showed up in the Gulf kingdom to pitch a $110 billion defence deal before MBS, the Saudi government has somehow been unable to take the promise forward. That deal is yet to see the light of day. And Uncle Sam is perhaps suspecting that it’s fallen flat due to Saudi’s newfound bonhomie with Russia’s defence playmakers.
Here’s a piece of news worth noting that many people may have missed. New York Times reported that shortly after Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, visited Riyadh to discuss with MBS the fallout of the Khashoggi case, the Saudi government sent across $100 million to the US State Department in a hurry.
To financially help the US government in its ongoing fight against Islamic State. Well, that’s the official explanation.
Isn’t it obvious that it is nothing but a hefty ‘ransom payment’ made reluctantly by the kingdom to America that precipitated thanks to MBS sweating over the Khashoggi media circus?
Is this unusual US-Saudi face-off over an individual’s disappearance a sign of a bigger tectonic reshuffle in the world of geopolitics? In simple words, are the two allies splitting up? Is MBS trying to steer Saudi Arabia and its vast oil resources away from Washington’s grasp and towards the Sino-Russian front? And is that why the US wants the new Crown Prince sacked or at least punished?
It could also be a combination of reasons that are making the US use Khashoggi as a tool against the Saudis— the promising Saudi-Russian missile deal, the sagging Saudi-US defence deal, the pendulous allegiance of MBS, and Washington’s planned oil dependency shift from West Asia to Venezuela.
What if the whole case is about the Iran-Turkey-Qatar-Russia-China cartel striking a grand deal with America to jettison MBS and to put his rival faction in power in Riyadh?
Whatever be the case, it’s certain that The Khashoggi Mystery is a mere tool, a trigger, that America is skillfully using to torment an oily ally-turned-foe.
The American Deep State is least interested in justice for a slain journalist. All that Uncle Sam needs now is Mr. Khashoggi on the telly. And he needs him preferably dead and cut up into pieces.