The Khashoggi affair has caught the Saudis with their pants down — or their thawb (that long dress Saudi men wear) up.
What facts do we know?
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018 and never came out. Of note is that Khashoggi had moved from being a supporter of the Saudi’s ideology to that of the Muslim Brotherhood
A consulate is supposed to be a sanctuary – not a place for state-sponsored terror acts
He was killed inside the consulate
His body (or body parts) have now been found planted in the garden of the Saudi Consul General’s residence
The assassins (believed to be 15 in number) flew in on private and commercial jets, did what they did and left
Crown Prince Salman has been checkmated and is under pressure from Western Governments for the brutality in this affair
Is this a surprise? I’ve visited Saudi Arabia extensively so this does not come as a surprise to me. The psyche of the Arabs has not changed since the 7th century when they indulged in tribal wars, killed first and then asked questions.
Saudi Arabia has a recorded history of beheadings and brutality. They have beheaded more people than ISIS. That they got caught this time is a different story.
A few years ago, I received a fatwa against me from Saudi Arabia. At that time I laughed it off, but as time went by, I realised the seriousness of their intents. Let me assure you that being chopped up is not on my bucket list!
Every country has the right to react in their own way to this gruesome event. However there is the bigger picture:
I have yet to see Muslims countries or the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) protesting against the brutal murder of Khashoggi. They are looking to the USA for an answer – how ridiculous is that?
The USA has condemned the affair, but it’s still a trading partner with Saudi Arabia. Why should that change? Cutting off trade and imposing sanctions will hurt both parties (besides countries trade with each other every day despite human rights concerns).
Turkey, which has its own history of brutality towards journalists who criticise the government, has come out looking like a savior and smelling like a rose. But the reality in Turkey is different. Wannabe Caliph Erdogan, who does not even allow anyone to draw a cartoon about him (an offense punishable by imprisonment), is using this event to solidify his position in the Sunni world, where there is a vacuum of leadership.
When Prince Salman talked about reform, it seemed that Saudi Arabia would be heading towards becoming that leader of the Sunni world. However the Khashoggi affair has put a spanner in the works.
Erdogan could have taken hush money from the Saudis but he is eyeing a bigger prize. There is nothing he wants more than to recreate the Ottoman Empire and be caliph.
The beneficiary of this tragic incident is the Muslim Brotherhood axis of Qatar, Iran and Turkey, who are going to pound Saudi Arabia diplomatically to gain control of the Muslim leadership.
In my opinion, Saudi Arabia needs to be taken to task for their dismal record on human rights, not only by the USA but by all countries that cherish freedoms so that an incident like the Khashoggi affair is not repeated again. This should be done by pressuring the OIC to speak out. The Saudis should be made aware of their mistake, and they should be put to shame by other Muslim countries.
Most importantly, this is good time to strike where it hurts, and pressure Saudi Arabia to release Raif Badawi – a blogger who is languishing in jail.
Raheel Raza is an adviser to Clarion Project. She is an award-winning author, journalist and filmmaker on the topics of jihad and sharia. She is president of The Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, and an activist for human rights, gender equality, and diversity.