On Oct. 2, journalist Jamal Khashoggi went into a Saudi Consulate in Turkey and didn’t leave.
Originally, the Saudi government stated that it didn’t know what happened to Khashoggi; later, they admitted that he died in the consulate after a fistfight, and now the Saudi State Prosecutor is claiming that rogue agents murdered him, according to CNN.
Besides the bizarre details of the case reported by CNN, like the alleged dismemberment of Khashoggi and creating doppelgangers to dress like the slain journalist so that it would appear that he left the consulate, this case brings into question America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ruled by King Salman, is one of the few kingdoms left in the world, yet it is allied with the US and most western countries.
The BBC reports that the US has several strategic reasons to allow Saudi Arabia free reign in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter and could decide, if sanctioned, to reduce oil output which would cause a global gas price rise. The US also does significant business with the Saudis. In 2017 the Trump administration signed a $110 billion weapons deal with Saudi Arabia, and the US currently exports $46 billion in products and services to the Saudis. In addition to the economic benefits of maintaining relations with Saudi Arabia, it is also an ally to the US and cooperates with the US military’s operations in the Middle East.
For these reasons, the United States has taken no solid actions against the Saudis’ blatantly murdering a journalist in their consulate. On Oct. 23, President Trump stated in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that he wants to believe the Saudis’ explanation that a rogue actor murdered Khashoggi because “they’ve been a tremendous investor in our military equipment and other things. They buy tremendous amounts of things from our country.”
One of the positive things about the Trump administration is that it does not conceal its motives with flowery language. Trump admits that he doesn’t care what Saudi Arabia does as long as we make money. This is why we have seen no US reaction to Saudi Arabia’s intervention in the Yemeni Civil War, where the Saudis have killed countless civilians. Most notably on Aug. 9, the Saudis dropped a bomb on a school bus in Yemen killing 44 children and injuring 79 people, according to The Guardian. There were no repercussions.
In addition to exacerbating the civil war in Yemen, the Saudi government also abducted Lebanon’s head of state last year, according to Al Jazeera. In Nov. 2017, The Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri, traveled to Saudi Arabia; when he arrived his phone was confiscated, and the next day he resigned.
These blatant violations of other nations’ sovereignty are endless, and this is without even looking at the atrocious state of human rights within Saudi Arabia itself. However, as Trump said, as long as the money keeps flowing, we will continue to arm and enable the Saudis without a thought for victims of the Saudi regime like Khashoggi.