So in case you missed it, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is the hand-behind-the-throne in Saudi Arabia who is pushing crazy into reforms. Women driving. Movie theaters. Dogs and cats, lying together. He's also a thug.
One of MBS's critics is Jamal Khashoggi, who was banned from writing in Saudi Arabia, so he scooted off to Washington where he was writing for the Washington Post. That's where things get shitty:
- Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist of the Saudi daily Al-Watan and a critic of the Saudi government. After Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman decided he was no longer allowed to write or tweet, Khashoggi left the country. He was also a columnist for the Washington Post, where he continued to speak out against the Saudi monarchy. Last week, Khashoggi went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to gather the documents he needed to marry his Turkish fiancee. He hasn’t been seen since. Turkey has accused Saudi Arabia of murdering Khashoggi and claims to have video evidence to support the allegation. (It has yet to produce the video.) The government in Riyadh has denied any role in Khashoggi’s disappearance. Turkey has demanded permission to search the Saudi consulate. The situation is beginning to be about more than just a single journalist. Relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been tense for some time, and their continued degradation will affect the entire region.
Turkey is alleging that the Saudis flew in a 15-person hit squad, murdered Khashoggi, chopped him up into little bits and flew him out of the country in boxes. Which, hey, Saudis gonna Saud. But the fact that he was a resident of the US has the congresscritters all riled up:
- Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and dissident, was called to the Saudi embassy in Istanbul on Tuesday, and has not been seen or heard from since. Tragically, he is now feared dead.
We must demand immediate answers from the Saudi government.
- Adam Schiff
- This is a most serious charge. I’ve contacted the State Department. We must get to the bottom of what happened and then impose strong consequences. Targeting journalists must stop.
- Tim Kaine
- I pray Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is alive. But if this deeply disturbing news report is confirmed, the United States & the civilized world must respond strongly, and I will review all options in Senate.
- Marco Rubio
- I very much share the concerns many have expressed about the fate of Saudi Arabian journalist #JamalKhashoggi.
It is imperative that we find out what happened to Mr. Khashoggi and the Saudi government give a clear answer as to their conduct and information on his whereabouts.
- Lindsay Graham
Now - complicating matters are that our relationship with Turkey is kinda shitty ATM and, well, ever since the Shah fell our foreign arms sales have looked kinda like this:
Yeppers. Over 10% of our arms exports.
And granted: Saudi Arabia is really shitty from a geopolitical standpoint. And granted: MBS is doing stuff to make it a less shitty place (so long as you aren't Yemeni).
But if MBS feels okay murdering a WaPo columnist as he's going for a marriage license, it's gonna cause a lot of performative soul-searching that might even actually change some shit.
Hold onto your butts.