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Recap: Khashoggi - Murder and Money

A man walks into the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. And he’s never seen again. Sounds like the stuff of movies right? But Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance does not seem to have a happy ending in sight.

 

 

 Jamal Khashoggi

Who was Jamal Khashoggi?

 

Khashoggi was a prominent Saudi journalist and critic of the Saudi government. After working extensively as a journalist in Saudi he left for the US in 2017, and wrote a monthly column in the Washington Post (a large American newspaper), criticising the policies of Mohammed bin Salman (the crown prince and deputy prime minister of Saudi Arabia).

 

Khashoggi disappeared on 2 October 2018 and was last seen entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, in order to obtain a document certifying his divorce from his ex-wife. (Note: a consulate is an office occupied by one country e.g. Saudi Arabia, but physically located in another country e.g. Turkey. The consulate exists to look after the interests of its Saudi Arabian people living in Turkey).

 

Since Khashoggi’s disappearance, Turkish police sources have claimed that he was murdered and dismembered inside the consulate. Of course, the Saudi government initially said these claims were lies.

 

But just last Saturday, the Saudi government confirmed that Khashoggi is dead. They said it happened after a “fight”, and they have tied 18 Saudi nationals to the killing.

 

But it’s not necessarily his death that’s shaken the world of politics. Instead, it’s President Trump’s defense of Saudi Arabia that’s ringing alarm bells.

 

 

What does Trump have to do with this?

 

The US has a long history of working with the Saudis, especially to mark its presence in the Middle East. The Trump administration has an “America First” foreign policy with Saudi Arabia, meaning the protection of American arms (weapons) sales to Saudi Arabia.

 

Positive relations with Saudi Arabia are also critical to three of Trump’s foreign policy goals:
1. isolating Iran,
2. defeating the Islamic State and
3. being able to claim Arab support for a planned Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

 

 

To protect these America-Saudi relations, Trump originally said that the US would not impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia if it was proved that they murdered Khashoggi. (Note: a sanction is a punishment, usually a stopping of trade, with a particularly country that has broken the law. If it was found that the Saudi Arabian government was responsible for Khashoggi’s death, then it would make sense for Trump to punish them somehow. The problem is, he initially promised the opposite.)

 

Trump defended his decision then, saying:

 

“I don’t like stopping massive amounts of money that’s being poured into our country – I know they’re talking about different kinds of sanctions, but they’re spending $110 billion on military equipment and on things that create jobs, like jobs and others, for this country.”

 

But now, Trump has seemed to change his mind as the Saudi government has confirmed Khashoggi's death. He’s now considering punishing Saudi Arabia somehow, but it’s not clear how severe the punishment will be. Trump has simply said that he's not satisfied with the explanations that the Saudi government is giving about the death, and is waiting for more information. He said: 

 

"I am not satisfied with what I've heard. We're going to get to the bottom of it."

 

 You, at this point

 

Positive relations with Saudi Arabia are also critical to three of Trump’s foreign policy goals:
1. isolating Iran,
2. defeating the Islamic State and
3. being able to claim Arab support for a planned Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

 

Trump’s (and collectively the West’s) determination to protect these objectives may mean that the Saudis’ presumed role in Khashoggi’s disappearance will be shrugged off. This may risk long-held ideals of human rights and democracy. On the other hand, should Trump choose the harsh punishment option, the US may have to let go of their influence in the Middle East. 

 

 Tbh "big debate big debacle" would have been a great title for this article 

 

 

And that was Recap: Khashoggi - Murder and Money! A quick Shoutout to our newest Content Creator and writer of this article, Clare Gim! 😊

Sources

 

https://theconversation.com/arms-and-influence-in-the-khashoggi-affair-104874
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45822374
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/16/jamal-khashoggi-disappearance-mike-pompeo-saudi-arabia-salman

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