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A United States-Saudi Arabian Crisis: The Death of Jamal Khashoggi

posted Dec 11, 2018, 10:34 AM by Jeffrey Wolf   [ updated Dec 11, 2018, 10:37 AM ]
(L-R):  Saudi Arabian Journalist, Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman

By: Andrew Davis, Entertainment Editor

Posted December 11th, 2018

Jamal Khashoggi, a highly esteemed Arabian journalist, entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey at 13:14 local time on October 2nd, 2018.  Khashoggi was attempting to obtain a document certifying that he had divorced his ex-wife in order to pursue marriage with a Turkish lady he loved. The next day, a phone call was made by Jamal’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, to an advisor of the Turkish President: Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  Mr. Khashoggi had never left the consulate.

In order to understand the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, we need to take a step back in time…

The Brief Synopsis of Mr. Khashoggi’s Work:

  • The 1980s:  Jamal began work in various bookstore; however, he became interested in reporting, eventually taking up with a job at Okaz, a daily newspaper from Jeddah, Arabia, and the Saudi Gazette.

  • The 1990s: Jamal went on to become editor-in-chief of a renowned newspaper: Al Medina.  He became internationally recognized for his work, and soon he was functioning as a foreign correspondent for various Middle Eastern nations.  He began having ties with the Royal Family as well as the Saudi Arabian Intelligence Agency.

  • 99’ to 03’: Appointed Deputy Editor-In-Chief of Arab News

  • 2005 to Present: Khashoggi renounced Islamist ideologies and sought new job opportunities in the United States, where he took up a role in the Washington Post.

So, Khashoggi is a Saudi Arabian journalist using his position of power in reporting and international affairs as a platform to voice his thoughts on the rights of women, the errors of the Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, and the poor handling of political situation, such as the 2017 Arabian blockade against Qatar.  

Saudi Arabia has been rooted in tradition for thousands of years, but sometimes when tradition fails to adapt to the modern world, the world gets a shock at how dangerous tradition can be.  For decades, Saudi Arabia has maintained the most scrutinous of positions of freedom of speech. Everything is censored, and everything is as the Royal family decrees. However, in recent years, more and more journalists and citizens, through the implementation of technological and socio-economic changes, have begun to poke holes in this system of informational concealment.  Although Saudi Arabia is beginning to take important moves in the right direction, a single step too far by an individual can be enough to trigger catastrophe. Tradition killed Khashoggi.

At 13:14, on October 2nd, 2018, Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate in Turkey, a location he deemed to be safe from the Arabian government to the South.  What he did not know was that 15 Saudi Nationals had arrived earlier that day to remove security cameras and destroy surveillance equipment. As Jamal waited in the lobby of the Consulate, he was confronted by these Nationals.  Jamal never arrived at his meeting at 13:30. He was taken to a remote location of the building, questioned, likely tortured, and murdered.

15:08 - Black van escorted by other vehicles leaves the consulate and head’s for the nearby Saudi consul’s residency.

18:20 - A private jet leaves Istanbul en route to Saudi Arabia.

The response to this outrage has been multifaceted with many stages.  At first, Saudi Arabia claimed to know nothing and saying that Khashoggi actually left the building.  However, upon the introduction of more evidence, that story changed to a spontaneous fist fight having occurred in the Consulate lobby resulting in Khashoggi’s death.  Next the Saudi government claimed this was a “rogue operation” conducted by government officials but not incriminating Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Several weeks later, this is the story that is still being upheld.  It’s hardly believable and experts left and right are stating that the Royal Family is to blame.

So what’s the response?

The United States government has done little to make Saudi Arabia amend for these terrible actions.  It’s a mixture of two factors: uncertainty due to the lack of direct evidence connecting Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to the attack and a massive weapons deal that the United States simply cannot pass up.  

What happens from here is up in the air.  There is a ton of pressure on President Trump to levy a harsh response against the Saudi Government, but will this occur?  Regardless of what happens next, Jamal Khashoggi will always be regarded as a renowned journalist known for his authenticity and ability to stand up for the freedom to speak and write in an era populated by insincerity and constraint.