The murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was a critic of Saudi Arabia’s government, is undoubtedly one of the most controversial criminal cases in the international arena in the past few years.
Fresh news is released every day of the way the Saudi journalist was murdered and the agents involved in his killing, which makes the case more sensitive, adding new dimensions to it.
In fact, the vague dimensions of this story has revealed truths about the hidden angles of the ruling system in Saudi Arabia and the race for power within the Al Saud regime. The consequences arising from this case can influence the future of the governing system in the kingdom.
In addition, the West, in particular the US, and human rights activists across the world are also concerned with the case. The US is at present in a challenging and severely critical situation due to Khashoggi’s murder.
US President Donald Trump’s administration, on one hand, sees Saudi Arabia as among Washington’s allies and major sponsors in the region, that it wishes to get away with the negative consequences of this case, if possible, unharmed, and on the other hand, it is extremely vigilant to, in case needed, make such changes in the Saudi government that would guarantee the financial interests of the US and the coming to power of a crown prince that would pursue the US government’s political approach in the region.
Speaking to Iran Daily, Mohammadjavad Jamali-Nobandegani, an Iranian MP, commented on the different dimensions and aspects of Khashoggi’s murder case.
Excerpts of the interview follow:
IRAN DAILY: Why has this case given rise to such intense controversies, eliciting different reactions from certain governments?
MOHAMMADJAVAD JAMALI-NOBANDEGANI: There are certain reasons for this. At present, many people are being killed in masses in Bahrain, Yemen and even Palestine; but none of them comes under the international media’s spotlight to the extent that Khashoggi’s killing case grabbed the limelight.
If Khashoggi were not a Washington Post columnist, his murder, most probably, would not have attracted such great extent of international attention. This is while the US and different regional elements seek to safeguard their own interests using this case. The competition between members of Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabis in the region also plays a role in the extra attention paid to this case. Some are using the issue in their own favor.
This crime was unprecedented and brutal. This comes as human rights organizations have failed to adopt any suitable stance toward the issue.
The Saudi government denies Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s involvement in the murder case. What is your take on this?
In the beginning, the US and Saudi Arabia denied the entire issue of Khashoggi’s murder, with the latter officially announcing that the journalist had left the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul, saying it did not have any information about his whereabouts. After a while, nevertheless, based on the available documents, the US verified the journalist’s murder but refrained from accusing Saudi Arabia of having committed the crime. In addition, it provided bin Salman with an excuse to escape the accusations by announcing that the killing was probably carried out by rogues.
This is while a number of serious questions arise from this claim. Everybody knows that Khashoggi’s murder was not the only instance of such moves in Saudi Arabia. Prior to Khashoggi’s killing, a number of Saudi princes were arrested, imprisoned and tortured to clear the path for bin Salman’s accession to the throne and intimidate those against it.
What was the reason for the delay in US government’s reaction to the issue? Why does Trump seeks to exonerate bin Salman?
Trump had already announced that Riyadh pays a lot of money to the US, and that has helped the US government generate jobs and set up military factories and created economic prosperity in the country.
While the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has officially announced that bin Salman has most likely issued the order for Khashoggi’s murder, Trump is still refusing to confirm it.
This comes while in case the CIA accuses Iran of something, Trump will require no other documents or proofs to confirm the claim.
Saudi Arabia’s money and US national interests play a role in Washington’s delayed reaction to the issue.
What do you think would be the US reaction to this issue?
Unlike Europeans that reacted from the very beginning to the issue by making a number of moves, the US may, as it has done before, use the opportunity to make another deal with Saudi Arabia. Thus, the White House may prepare the ground to topple bin Salman to both tell the world that it has reacted to Khashoggi’s murder and safeguard its own continued interests in Saudi Arabia.