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Expectations on the Khashoggi Case

Expectations on the Khashoggi Case

Friday, 16 November, 2018 - 13:30
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad.
The murder of Jamal Khashoggi is a complicated case from different angles. It’s a political crime that happened amid very strange circumstances from a country that’s not known for practicing violence against rivals. Khashoggi was not known as a figure who is dangerous to national security as he worked as a government spokesperson and with its media for 30 years. The crime was carried out on a territory that’s “unfriendly” due to the political dispute and regional bias within the Turkey-Qatar framework against Saudi Arabia.

What’s noticeable is that the Saudi public prosecutor’s story that was built on the interrogations of those accused matched most of the Turkish leaks but not all of them. The final conclusion is that the team had traveled to Istanbul to meet with Khashoggi in the consulate to convince him to return and in case he rejects to do so, he’d be returned by force, i.e. he'd be kidnapped. Perhaps this explains the large number of participants, as all secret security operations require a large logistical team.

An example is the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who is well-known for smuggling arms to the Hamas Movement. The operation required sending a large team of Israelis who entered Dubai as tourists via different airlines, stayed in distant hotels, took up fake names, and used fake passports and anonymous phone numbers. The team which carried out the Khashoggi murder went to Turkey collectively and clearly, and some of them were known by the Turkish security. They entered using their real passports and went to the Saudi consulate which strengthens the story that the main goal was to return him alive, although he was killed after their efforts failed.

The general prosecution’s story is based on investigations, and when the trial is held later we hope to hear the testimonies directly from the accused.

The investigation has fulfilled what is expected from it. What was revealed yesterday during the press conference of the general prosecution’s spokesperson was rich in details and included more than the Turkish leaks. Despite this, we already know that Turkey and Qatar, which both have a political dispute with Saudi Arabia, will not stop exploiting the case.

Therefore, we must differentiate between two crimes. The first one is the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, may he rest in peace, and the second one is the organized attack against a state like the Saudi Kingdom. I do not want to say what others have said; that murdering Khashoggi is one crime and more than half a million were deliberately killed in Syria and no one was punished for their murder and for other similar crimes in the region’s countries. Murder is murder as the Quran warned us: “Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely.”

However, we must reject Qatar’s campaign in politicizing the crime for more dangerous purposes as the attempt to destabilize the Saudi Kingdom, as a government and a country, has been a purpose and a systematic approach that preceded the assassination by a long time. All those who followed up on the developments of the crisis can sense there is a bad intention to use the Khashoggi murder. I’ll note a comparison that shows the intentions of both parties.

After the failed coup in Turkey two years ago, Ankara insisted on some of the region’s governments to hand over some figures it accused of belonging to the opposition. At the time, these figures were in fact handed over by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. However, when Turkey hosted a number of Saudi extremist activists, Ankara refused Riyadh’s request to hand them over or to at least prevent them from carrying out hostile practices that were actually funded by Qatar.

This explains the depth of the problem between governments and the overlapping of countries’ higher interests and how a man’s tragedy can transform into an abhorrent game.

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