Last week, I had many talks with various diplomats in Tehran, and, of course, one of the most discussed issues was the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi.
Most were discussing the reasoning behind the murder, but everyone was especially interested in understanding why the Saudis did it in their own embassy, and why the murder was carried out in such a brutal manner.
One diplomat joked with me that secret service agencies in every country have a manual on how to kill the opponents or critics, but it seems that those who were sent to kill Khashoggi either skimmed it or neglected to read it altogether.
I had the chance to meet Mr. Khashoggi several times at debates, he was always a staunch nationalist and supporter of Saudi Arabia, and of course, I was always on the other side defending Iran. After debates, we used to sit at the same dinner table and hope to meet again for another debate… after all, we were both experienced journalists and believed that the best solution for the hostility between our countries would be through debate rather than violence.
Being on opposite sides never meant wishing death upon each other.
Though he was a nationalist in his public speech, at the dinner table he was a very harsh critic of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s policies, and believed that they could lead Saudi Arabia to disaster.
Lately, he stopped hiding his true thoughts about Bin Salman altogether, and his tweets started to be full of criticism for the Saudi leadership.
He was also very angry about Trump’s behavior and economic policy regarding Saudi Arabia, and last time we talked, he was very upset about the way Trump talked about King Salman at the UN General Assembly and at a meeting with his supporters.
He told me that he is a big critic of King Salman and Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, but that this doesn’t mean that he will accept Trump’s insults against his king and his country. He considered such insults to be directed against all Saudi people.
Khashoggi felt that if there was freedom of press in his country, Saudi journalists wouldn’t accept such an insult, and would answer Trump in turn.
Unfortunately, Khashoggi never had the chance to express his thoughts.
A couple of month ago, Russia was accused of poisoning a former Russian spy in London… Russia has categorically refused any suggestion of their involvement in the crime, and Britain was never able to provide concrete evidence for the charges. Despite the fact that the former spy didn’t even die as a result, the US and Europe targeted Russia with new sanctions in response.
When it comes to Khashoggi’s case, Saudi Arabia has accepted that he was brutally killed in the consulate of Saudi Arabia and that Khashoggi’s body was hacked into pieces… despite this, to the present, nobody knows where the body is.
Of course, the Turkish police investigation will continue until they find the body, since investigations do not simply end after an admission of guilt is obtained.
The confession should only be considered the first step of the process.
Everyone is asking about the body, and it seems that the rumors are true: Khashoggi was brutally killed and his body was cut into pieces and carried out of the consulate. This is likely the main reason the Saudis are hiding the body… or rather, what’s left of it.
A question naturally arises: why did the Europeans and Americans sanction Russia on an unproven case but take no measures against a proven state-sanctioned murder?
Another question that comes to mind is, again, why was this man killed in such a horrific manner?
If they wanted to kill him, couldn’t they simply find someone to hit him with a car and claim that he was killed in a car accident, for example?
Why did they need to send 15 men to kill Khashoggi including a professional surgeon?
These facts show that the plot to kill Khashoggi was made in advance, and that the hitmen were not there to “bring him back to Saudi Arabia”, as some pro-Saudi media sources claim.
It is clear that the plan was always to brutally kill Khashoggi, and the reason this was done in the consulate was that the Saudi’s could guarantee that no one would question them in this regard.
Of course, Prince Mohammed Bin Salman wanted to show his opponents how brutal he could be with his opponents, and that he himself is untouchable… but who gave him such impunity?
Most analysts believe that the American president is the only person so powerful that he could grant such impunity to Mohammed Bin Salman against the international community, essentially giving him a license to kill.
As I said at the beginning of the article, Khashoggi was very angry about how the US is behaving toward his country, and because he was a reputable journalist with a large audience, he had become a burden on US and Saudi policies… therefore, the decision to get rid of him was made.
Trump and Bin Salman wanted this incident to be so gruesome that it would send a message to all their opponents, that they are perfectly able to do such a brutal thing in broad daylight and get away with it.
It seems that the Saudi crown prince fall into the trap.
Now, the future king of Saudi Arabia is completely in Trump’s pocket.
Trump is not only aiming at Saudi Arabia’s savings, he also wants the country’s future income.
If Khashoggi was killed “by the book” so to say, the issue would likely have never become a threat to the crown prince, but now Trump’s position in relationship to the kingdom has been immensely strengthened: the existence of Mohammed Bin Salman and his future depends upon his loyalty to the US.