Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance evolving a diplomatic mess

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Noor Mohammed (Noor)

The political incitement following the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist, author and the former general manager and editor-in-chief of Al Arab News is in full swing throughout the Arab world and international arena. Khashoggi, 59 years old Saudi critic went missing on October 2 after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to deal with paperwork needed to marry his Turkish fiancée. Jamal who used to contribute to the Washington Post‘s Global Opinions section, was critical of the kingdom’s assertive crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, popularly known as MBS.

Since MBS was named as heir, he was lauded for social and economic reforms such as letting women drive, restraining profligate princes and reining in the religious police, he has also cracked down furiously on any dissent, detaining many critics and sending others, like Khashoggi into exile. The intolerance for criticism has not been limited to his subjects: When Canada urged Saudi authorities to release the just-arrested sister of an imprisoned blogger this summer, MBS’s response was to recall his ambassador, freeze trade relations, pull Saudi students out of Canada and cancel flights between Saudi Arabia and Toronto.

In a similar manner, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman led a blockade to Qatar in order to bend the tiny emirate to his will, but a year and half later Qatar is more defiant than ever. Qatar was under threat from a powerful expansionist rival, turned into political island by a trade blockade, had its airspace restricted and its borders shut but Qatarcontrarily not only turned around its dire financial prospects; also improved its human rights record and geopolitical standing.

Turkey believes Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate, adding that fifteen Saudis were allegedly involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance even though Saudi officials have categorically denied the allegations of involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance and pledged to fully cooperate with Turkey’s investigation. If the allegations found out to be true involving of Saudi wrongdoing, it would be devastating to the US-Saudi relationship and there will be a heavy price to be paid—economically and otherwise,” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a Monday tweet.

Khashoggi, once a loyal to the royals and a voice in the kingdom, served as the editor of the Saudi daily newspaper Al Watan and headed a television station.  In a situation where Saudis believe the U.S. needs them more than they need US, The United States must give a severe response to make its people and world understand that Saudi does not get away with it. The first priority for U.S. officials should be to join the rest of the world in demanding a full accounting from Saudi. On the other hand, It will be a test on the sincerity of MBS’s outcry to transform Saudi Arabia into a modern, outward-looking country depending on how he and his government respond to the Khashoggi affair, and to the international reaction.

The write is a columnist and bureau chief of(Today’s World News 24) twnews24.com based in Doha, Qatar

 

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