The brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul caused a severe trouble for the Saudi royal family and its new autocratic crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. The Saudi Arabian monarchy, which was so far patronised by the chieftain of world imperialism, the US and its allies like Britain, France and Germany, is now rebuked by the same powers because the tyrant crown prince, who is carrying forward the legacy of his absolutely cunning ancestors by suppressing the democratic aspiration of the Arab people and by adultering the Islamic religion to suit imperialism’s geopolitical ambitions, has now crossed the limit and caused harm to another lackey of imperialism, Jamal Khashoggi, who became a pawn in the great game of Middle-Eastern politics.
Saudi Arabia has been one of the neo-colonies of the US in the Middle East, and this terrorist state is protected by Washington and the Zionist Israel from all sort of people’s rebellion against the reactionary monarchy. In return the kingdom has helped the US and the Zionist Israel with free oil and export of Islamic terrorism and bigotry throughout the world, to justify the imperialist aggression on many countries and to intensify Islamophobia throughout the world. Though the US dropped ocean full of tears and an equal amount of bombs over countries its establishment called “autocratic”, the medieval, utmost reactionary, misogynist and mass-murderer Saudi Arabia never came on the radar of condemnation of the US or its lackey corporate-controlled mainstream media.
Washington’s anguish and Donald Trump’s fury over the murder of a Saudi journalist is not a normal thing. The monarchy that has occupied Arabia since a century and have been ruling the country with an iron fist, supported by the US, the UK and Zionist Israel, also butchered numerous democratic activists, journalists, women rights activists, gender and human rights activists by beheading them in public or by carrying out secret assassination throughout the world with the help of the US secret service organisation CIA or the Zionist Israeli organisation Mossad. Thousands of people have been killed by the Saudi Arabia-sponsored terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Sudan, Egypt and Syria. Riyadh wasn’t ever prosecuted for these crimes.
None of these crimes against humanity, forget the invasion of Yemen by Saudi monarchy that killed thousands of innocents since 2015 and is now starving thousands of Yemeni children, killing them with cholera and other cadaverous diseases, sparked any furore against Saudi Arabia in the western world or the mainstream media. All hell broke loose over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi on 2 October in Istanbul, which the Saudi monarchy first denied and then accepted when faced with a serious threat of Turkish intervention. Hailed as a great journalist by the western mainstream media, Jamal Khashoggi is now also portrayed as a “martyr” fighting for press freedom and such cliches often blabbered by the corporate-sponsored western intellectuals.
An utmost Islamophobic fascist supporter of Saudi dynasty, Donald Trump and his sycophants broke the tradition of maintaining mum over Saudi Arabian atrocities and spoke in length against the criminal state. Trump, who had praised Mohammed Bin Salman for his ghastly crimes and megalomaniac character, threatened him with dire punishment, forcing the Saudi dynasty to shiver in fear of retribution from their master. Through a lot of back-channel diplomacy, palm greasing and other odd deals, the Saudi Arabian monarchy later bought peace with the Trump regime and retained the crown.
What made the murder of Jamal Khashoggi trigger such a change of behaviour among the western imperialist powers, their toady media and the big corporations, so far breathing money in the kingdom? Why Jamal Khashoggi’s murder jolted the time-tested Saudi-US ties? Why Donald Trump is voicing concern regarding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi while remaining silent on the brutal repression of common people in Saudi Arabia and Yemen? Why the media that didn’t ever enquired about the Saudi Arabian war crimes in Yemen suddenly took much interest in the case of Jamal Khashoggi?
We can answer these questions better once we know more about the slain Saudi journalist. Jamal Khashoggi was once a notorious power broker, considered close to the Saudi royal family and as an intellectual lap-dancer of the monarchy he enjoyed access to the inner ring of power. Jamal Khashoggi fell from the favour of Riyadh when the old tyrant ruler of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, died, leaving the kingdom to his legatee King Salman. With the rise of Salman’s son and crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Jamal Khashoggi anticipated his own fall and started seeking a way out of Saudi Arabia in view of the large-scale purges within the royal family. Jamal Khashoggi was also an American spy, who helped the CIA with feeds about the royal family’s internal feud, contradictions and manoeuvres, which, when exposed, irked Mohammed Bin Salman.
Jamal Khashoggi sought asylum in the US and fled Saudi Arabia in 2017 and got engaged with a mysterious women “activist” of Turkey, Hetice Cengiz, who claimed that she met him in May 2018 at a conference in Istanbul and later they started dating. It’s claimed, by his fiance Cengiz, that Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on that fateful afternoon of 2 October to collect his divorce papers so that they can marry. He never returned back, though initially, the Saudi Arabian regime claimed that he walked out unharmed that evening. Ms Cengiz denied that falsified claim and complained about a foul play in the consulate, which helped the Turkish authorities to nail the Saudi Arabian crime. Hetice Cengiz wrote an emotional column in the New York Times on 13 October and narrated her tale, and soon the Saudi Arabian monarchy made an official statement confirming the murder of Jamal Khashoggi inside the consulate due to a “fistfight” following a heated argument.
Though the Saudi monarchy claimed that they have fired five employees and arrested 18 for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Turkish officials have claimed that Mohammed Bin Salman, the notorious bloodthirsty Saudi crown prince, sent 15 mercenaries from Riyadh to Istanbul on 2 October to kill Jamal Khashoggi to stop him criticising Riyadh and its policies in the international media. There are also allegations that the fiance of Jamal Khashoggi is a double agent of the US and Turkey, and she actually played a crucial role in taking Jamal Khashoggi to the mouth of the Saudi predators and then raised an eerie alarm to break international wreath on the Saudi monarchy.
It’s true that Jamal Khashoggi was a journalist critical of Mohammed Bin Salman and wrote a lot about his tyrannical rule, however, he also remained a beneficiary in the courts of King Abdullah and King Salman, wielding excessive power for his intellectual domination over the arch-reactionary Saudi Arabian policymakers and religious bigots. His moral values are those identical to the reactionary monarchy’s – Islamic bigotry, misogynistic view, pro-imperialist outlook, etc. During his heydays, when men and women were beheaded en masse on the streets of Saudi Arabia, this so-called soldier of truth remained cocooned inside his Wahhabi shell to enjoy the trickled down benefits.
As a cunning person, Jamal Khashoggi played the Wahhabi card, whenever it suited him, to express his utter bigoted and fanatic outlook, while at occasions, especially during his stay in the US, he would masquerade as a “liberal” and advocate changes in the Saudi Arabian governance (he didn’t vouch for democracy and the overthrow of the brutal anti-people monarchy though) to make it an open society. This mastery in espousing Wahhabism with liberalism made him a darling for both the Saudi rulers, the Islamist brigade and the American ruling classes.
Unlike the common people of Yemen, who are fighting against the aggression of the Saudi Arabian monarchy, despite facing a brutal genocide executed by the terrorist mercenaries of King Salman and his American-western sponsors, Jamal Khashoggi didn’t fight the Saudi Arabian monarchy and its evil practices, including its attempt to establish Wahhabism as the dominant version of Islam for Sunnis and persuade the Sunni Muslims all over the world to follow it unconditionally, rather, he collaborated with the murderous monarchy till the time he benefited from the alliance and jumped ship when he found he is at the sinking edge.
The killing of Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi mercenaries on the payroll of crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman didn’t make him a martyr but indeed irked the imperialist forces as they lost one of their own men as collateral damage due to the internal strife in Saudi Arabia. For the US the rise of Mohammed Bin Salman is seen as a “positive” sign by the fascist regime of Donald Trump. However, the US and the west had to publicly rebuke Saudi Arabian monarchy to appease its another crucial lackey in the region – Turkey, which is trying to be the alternative power centre of Sunni politics and Salafism, which it was during the pre-revolutionary heydays of Ottoman empire. To appease Turkey and keep the ruling classes under its control, the Donald Trump regime, which recently had a face-off with Ankara over the import of Iranian oil and its dealing with Russia, tried to rebuke Riyadh.
For Turkey, which has already won over former Saudi Arabian partner-in-crime Qatar in its fold, the weakening of the Saudi Arabian influence on the Sunni sect globally and the isolation of the monarchy will raise the status of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and help the Turkish ruling class to supercede the Saudi influence globally by becoming the de facto ruler of the Muslim community.
Erdogan has already built a cult around himself and justified his fascist hegemony on Turkey. His strife with the Saudi monarchy grew ever since Riyadh funded a 2016 coup against Erdogan through a Wahhabi cleric in exile. Saudi Arabia has accused Turkey of being a sponsor of the Salafist terrorist Muslim Brotherhood, along with Qatar, which planned to dent a hole in the Saudi hegemony in sponsoring and controlling Islamic terrorism globally.
As Ankara is building up a good relationship with Moscow, in face of a decline of American hegemony in the Middle-East and the defeat of terrorists funded by the US, the NATO, the Saudi-Israeli clique in Syrian war, in which Turkey itself has been a major stakeholder, it has a possibility to maintain a peaceful relationship with Iran and thereby, help the latter to neutralise the Saudi influence in the Middle-East, going against the American game-plan to contain Iran. The ghastly murder of Jamal Khashoggi inside Istanbul’s Saudi consulate came as a boon for Ankara and Erdogan personally, as they used the cornered position of Riyadh to score a diplomatic victory. For Moscow, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi became a cherished moment as it could expose Saudi Arabia and the American support to the kingdom to polarise the people, especially its opponents – the Sunni Muslims behind Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his fascist regime.
With more American corporations favouring the Turkish fascist regime over the ailing Saudi monarchy, which is now trying to divert the economy from the prized petroleum economy that contributed to the immense wealth of the kingdom since the 1930s, Washington DC has to walk the trapeze rope with utmost balancing act to ensure that it neither loses its old lackey Saudi Arabia nor angers the Turkish fascists who are wooed by the arch-rival Russians. This contributed to the largest condemnation of Saudi Arabia on global platforms and media organisations in the history of the kingdom’s blood-laced history. The death of Jamal Khashoggi would have been another number in the statistics of those killed by the brutal Saudi Arabian monarchy if the Turkish authorities didn’t create a stir with the support of the US secret service.
The contradiction between Turkey and Saudi Arabia isn’t a struggle between right and wrong or revolution and counter-revolution. It’s the dogfight over the piece of bone thrown from the platter of Washington DC to these two loyal pets of the imperialist system. The death of Jamal Khashoggi, who had been a small player in the notorious gameplan, actually opened a new chapter and turned the table on the Saudi Arabian monarchy and its crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
Surely, the Turkish rulers will benefit from the upheaval in the imperialist order over the Saudi Arabian transgression, however, the equation in Middle-East Asia will not change drastically in favour of the fascist Erdogan regime very soon. People who have been ignorant about the war crimes of Saudi Arabia in Yemen, the genocide of Yemenis and brutal terrorist strikes on Syria, will not remember the killing of a Saudi Arabian columnist like Jamal Khashoggi for long because sooner or later, the US imperialism and its western lackeys will broker a peace deal between Saudi Arabian monarchy and the fascist Erdogan regime to keep them apart from their common conflict zone and to build up unity among all American lackeys to fight Iran and Syria. The real change can come in the political spheres of Turkey and Saudi Arabia only when a people’s democratic revolutionary struggle overthrow their illegitimate, brutal and anti-people regimes, their imperialist sponsors and establish the people’s rule led by the working class. Only then will peace, prosperity and harmony prevail in Middle East Asia.