‘Truth behind Jamal Khashoggi’
BY: Naveed Qazi
When the pilgrim watchers of the Muslim world went on a killing spree in Yemen, it shut the mouth of its cronies that represented the Kingdom, both regionally and internationally. However, the media has gone amok against the killing silence of Saudi government lately, when a mysterious killing of a Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi happened in the Saudi embassy in Turkey.
Who was Jamal Khashoggi? What threat did he pose to the monarchy? If we dwell into the truth, he is one among many, who was killed for speaking the truth against the Saudi kingdom.
Sometime earlier, a Shiite woman, representing the rights of the Shiite community in Saudi Arabia met with the same fate, when she was hanged to death. Saudi Arabia has been notorious for its human rights violations. It is now that a major headache for the western government has started, who enjoy lucrative trade relations with the country and balance their values and diplomatic ties on this immoral impunity. It is for this reason, the kingdom offensive, in Yemen for example, has been majorly viewed with a long silence from the West.
For example, Trump has shamelessly called this act an ‘inside job’, denying its links to the monarchy, and has given a green signal to a prospective 100bn arms deal. In other words, it means that blood of dissenting Arabs is cheaper and diplomatic interest for oil and money should be prioritised over it.
On October 2, Jamal Khashoggi, went inside the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, to obtain a document to satisfy that he had divorced his ex-wife so that he could marry his Turkish fiancée. He went inside the consulate and vanished. His fiancée, Hatice Chengiz waited near the embassy for hours.
For over two weeks, the Saudi government denied that he was killed under mysterious circumstances, and claimed all reports about his disappearance or death were completely ‘baseless’ and ‘false’. Then, after 18 days, they proclaimed that he died in a fist fight with a dozen Saudi officials, a brawl that eventually turned violent.
Turkish officials say that his body has been dismembered, but his chopped remains have not been found yet.
US officials, on the other hand, believe that as Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman had recently announced an overhaul of his intelligence service and a suspension order for around eighteen intelligence officers, and its intelligence agency must have been aware that there was an operation to target Khashoggi.
A prominent journalist, he had reported major stories on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Gulf war in Kuwait and the rise of Osama bin Laden for various news channels, even interviewing him between 1980 and 1990. In 2003, he was fired after two months, after serving editor of Al Watan newspaper, because he was overly critical of the monarchy.
He also served as an advisor to the Saudi government and was close to the Saudi family as well. Since last year, Khashoggi was living in the US in a self-imposed exile, where he wrote bylines for Washington Post, criticising policies of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, comparing him to Vladimir Putin.
Just three days before his arrest, he had told BBC, “people are getting convicts for just having an independent perception, and they are not even dissidents.”
The team of investigators, in white uniforms, barged into the consulate, hours after his disappearance. Some examined the main garden, while some perched on the roofs to find the missing body. Luminol, a chemical which detects traces of blood, was used by laboratory teams. They took soil samples. DNA samples for testing after eight hours of investigation and even reconnoitred the nearby Belgrad forest and Yalova province, for any clues. At least thirty-eight people were questioned by Turkish officials. Three Mercedes cars, operating for the consulate, were also checked.
Khashoggi children have called the United Nations to call an independent enquiry and pleaded both the Saudi government and the Turkish government to find his body as soon as possible so that his funeral can be held.
It is alleged that the Head of Forensics, for the consulate, has been involved in the murder and his dismemberment. A three-member team of the consulate had been seen surveying the forest in Istanbul, a day before the murder. They were also believed to be Saudi officials.
In a Guardian article, Wadah Khanfar wrote: “Under the banner of reform and fighting extremist Islam – words with appeal to western circles – and by virtue of the billions the new crown prince poured into the coffers of US arms manufacturers, Mohammad bin Salman, was granted full cover to abuse his country and the entire region with impunity.”
Currently, there are efforts made by the US administration to rescue Bin Salman from the repercussions, but this biased approach will not succeed because of the uproar in the global media institutions and their insistence on learning the truth behind Khashoggi’s mysterious murder.
He had appeared in al Sharq forum conference, a week before his disappearance, Khashoggi, where he said: “Change will happen solely because of the grave mistakes committed by the despots.”
Naveed Qazi is the author of The Trader of War Stories (2018) and Musings on Global Politics (2018). For feedback, write to [email protected].