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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
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Murder of Jamal Khashoggi


U.S. condemns and condones Saudi Arabian violence

The murder of Jamal Khashoggi is a tragedy and the continued American-Saudi Arabian alliance is a farce, plain and simple.

Jamal Khashoggi was a Washington Post journalist and a Saudi citizen. He was also a patriot, working in the Saudi government and criticizing it throughout his distinguished career.

He was also a man that walked into the Saudi embassy in Turkey to get paperwork for his upcoming marriage to his Turkish fiancée and never walked out.

It could have been a botched interrogation, or maybe a more sinister premeditated hit. There is still speculation as to exactly what happened, but what we do know for sure is a permanent United States resident and journalist is dead.

The Saudi Arabian government is a monarchy consolidated around the al Saud family with its official head being King Salman. As he suffers from dementia, the country is being de-facto led by Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, often referred to as MBS.

It is not known for sure how much MBS knew about Khashoggi’s murder, but what started as a blanket denial has become a scramble for a scapegoat, as MBS pledges for an internal investigation to find the “real killers.”

Perhaps then it was only a coincidence that 15 connected Saudi officials came to Istanbul and the Embassy and left by private jet that night. One of whom was Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a close associate who has travelled the world with MBS.

You can believe that MBS did not know anything, but if you do, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

Khashoggi’s killing is a startling reminder that even if MBS carefully cultivates the image of a liberalizing reformer, the Saudi government is still the Saudi government.

This is the same regime that bombed a school bus of Yemeni children in August. This is the same regime that kidnapped the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hiriri in 2017.

This is the same regime that had high ranking members complicit in 9/11, which was revealed in part by the declassified “28 pages” of the 9/11 report in 2016.

The list goes on. Yet Saudi Arabia has had a reliable ally in America across Democratic and Republican administrations.

It makes sense why the great powers of the world play nice. It is the biggest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its proximity to the Red Sea shipping lane poses a threat to global world trade.

It dominates the Arabian peninsula and within its borders are the two holiest cities in all of Islam, Mecca and Medina. The geopolitical, economic and religious importance of Saudi Arabia is plain to see.

A prudent foreign policy may not be a moral one and vice-versa. For what it is worth, America might have to live with Saudi Arabia, but we should not and cannot aid and abet them.

The August school bus bombing was done using an American bomb. As Saudi Arabian leadership kills a journalist in Turkey and children in Yemen, they are using American weapons to do so.

Knowing this does not stop the United States government.

When President Donald Trump was asked by Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes if Khashoggi’s murder would change a proposed $110 billion arms deal with the Saudi government, he said, “I don’t want to hurt jobs. I don’t want to lose an order like that. And you know what, there are other ways of punishing.”

A brave administration would cancel all arm shipments to Saudi Arabia from this point forward. A braver one still would have done it a long time ago.

So far, the only concrete change to come from Khashoggi’s killing is that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is no longer going to attend an investment conference in Riyadh.

Jamal Khashoggi should be on American soil right now. Instead we do not know the fate of his remains. His tragic death should be a call to action, not just another event where the United States government wrings one hand and sends weapons and investments with the other.

For now though, that is exactly what is being done.

Three weeks from now the never-ending, never-ceasing-to surprise news cycle will have stormed on. Jamal Khashoggi will not be on the nightly news. And even more disappointing, his alliance will remain America’s greatest hypocrisy and perhaps its greatest shame.

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