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The U.S. Can Avenge Khashoggi’s Death with Increased Attention

The+U.S.+must+properly+avenge+the+death+of+Jamal+Khashoggi+through+keeping+Saudi+Arabia+under+very+close+watch.+%28Courtesy+of+Flickr%29
The U.S. must properly avenge the death of Jamal Khashoggi through keeping Saudi Arabia under very close watch. (Courtesy of Flickr)

The U.S. must properly avenge the death of Jamal Khashoggi through keeping Saudi Arabia under very close watch. (Courtesy of Flickr)

The U.S. must properly avenge the death of Jamal Khashoggi through keeping Saudi Arabia under very close watch. (Courtesy of Flickr)


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By Jana Tehfe

The U.S. must properly avenge the death of Jamal Khashoggi through keeping Saudi Arabia under very close watch. (Courtesy of Flickr)

On Oct. 2, 2018, Jamal Khashoggi, a well-known journalist and critic of the Saudi government, walked into the country’s consulate in Istanbul. His death began a murder investigation many nations would partake in. After more than two weeks of denying the claims made against it, the Saudi Arabian government eventually admitted to having killed the controversial journalist; however, officials are calling it a “rogue operation,” and they have “vowed to kill those responsible.”

Yet, the general public believes it is highly unlikely that the incident was a mere miscalculated accident. In fact, most of the evidence suggests that the killing of Khashoggi was premeditated by the Saudi hierarchy. Reports that claimed he was accidentally killed in an escalated fight were quickly put to rest as more evidence was discovered, leading many to think the Saudi Arabian government played a role in the journalist’s murder.

For one, the Saudi government had a motive. For decades, Khashoggi was well respected by the Saudi royal family. However, he fell out of their favor and was exiled when he began writing controversial articles against the country’s government. He continued writing for The Washington Post in the United States, where he criticized many of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s new government policies.

In one article, Khashoggi made it known that he feared being arrested by the Prince because of his outspokenness. Three days before his death, he stated, “The people being arrested are not even being dissidents, they just have an independent mind,” to the BBC Newshour program.

This alone provides Saudi Arabia with a motive to kill the forthright journalist. But the most prominent allegations come from Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that three teams of 15 Saudi nationals arrived in Istanbul on separate flights in the days and hours leading up to the murder.

Turkish officials say the journalist was tortured and killed within two hours of arriving on the consulate premise, and that his body was dismembered and removed. They claim to have unreleased audio and video evidence to support these assertions. Both The Washington Post and Yeno Safak, a Turkish newspaper, quoted Turkish sources who heard the tapes. A person could be heard saying, “Shut up if you want to live when you return to [Saudi] Arabia.” It is even speculated that the Saudi officials hired a body double after Turkey leaked security footage showing the double strolling through the streets of Istanbul.

This, matched with the Saudi government’s claim that Khashoggi left the consulate shortly after arriving (even though his fiance was waiting outside for 11 hours and did not see him), marks Saudi Arabian officials as prime suspects.

The Saudi government’s original story is quickly deteriorating, placing it in a harsh light on the world stage. In contrast, Turkey is painting themselves a positive image with its quick initiative in making the investigation a priority. Multiple nations have taken actions regarding the investigation. The rest of the Middle East does not necessarily have the best relationship with Saudi Arabia. This case is threatening the little stability the Middle East has.

Slowly, other nations are making their way into the investigation. For many nations, the issue of interfering revolves around trade and arms sales with the suspected country. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel remained at odds over the issue. Merkel stood by her “decision to stop all arms exports” to Riyadh, while Macron said that any sanctions should be made at the “European level” and “not limited to this or that sector.” Macron stated that sanctions should only be taken once responsibility is officially established for the killing. Germany seems to wholeheartedly disagree with France, calling for the EU to follow its lead and suspend arms sales, for the moment, to Saudi Arabia.

As for the United States, the country is divided. Some of Washington D.C.’s most pro-Saudi institutions are sending back Saudi money. The U.S. took actions to bar at least 21 Saudis from entering the country by revoking their visas. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, and called for a transparent investigation into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

On the other hand, U.S. President Donald Trump has said he wants to get to the bottom of the case, but also highlighted the fact that Saudi Arabia gives the U.S. a large amount of money and jobs through purchase of U.S. arms and oil. It is clear that Jamal Khashoggi’s murder has made it onto the world’s major powers’ playing field, and the investigation will determine Saudi Arabia’s relations with the rest of the world for years to come.

 

Jana Tehfe, FCRH ’20, is a political science major from Brooklyn, New York.

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The U.S. Can Avenge Khashoggi’s Death with Increased Attention