Jamal Khashoggi: The Western Response
The death of an outspoken journalist of the Saudi regime, Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has been met with widespread debate and outrage. The real version of events, regarding what happened to Khashoggi is still a major point of contention, with graphic details being gradually released from the Saudi regime, Turkey and the West.
Jamal Khashoggi was formerly close to the Saudi regime – serving as an advisor – but ever since he has criticised the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman policies’ and his agenda for Saudi Arabia, Khashoggi became an enemy of the state. Ever since his “self-imposed exile”to the US in September 2017, he had been extremely active in writing articles for the Washington Post. Indeed just a couple of days before his murder, he said of the Saudi regime that “The people being arrested are not even being dissidents, they just have an independent mind”.
Saudi Arabia’s initial response to the reports of Khashoggi’s death was to claim he had left the consulate. However, this claim was then discredited after CCTV footage,and audio recordings emerged, exposing the gruesome circumstance that led to his death (a horrific fist fight).
This version of events was interrogated by British Prime Minister Theresa May, and US President Donald Trump, as well as many other world leaders, who expressed doubt over Saudi Arabia’s explanation of the incident. Following Turkey’s President Erdogan’s statement saying he could prove that it was a Saudi backed assassination, Saudi Arabia admitted that he had been murdered in a “rogue operation” and that they would help the investigation to find out who was responsible.
With an increasingly threatened press in the U.S., condemnation grew throughout the Western world as the torture and murder of Khashoggi epitomized the juxtaposition of a free press. Many have called for a complete review of diplomatic policy and the relationship that the West has with Saudi Arabia following this seemingly state coordinated assassination on foreign soil.
The West, however, has substantial ties to Saudi Arabia ranging from security, arms trade, military bases, support and assistance in fighting international terrorism. The UK and the US benefit immensely financially through the sale of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia, which is then used in places like Yemen – where thousands of civilians are dying at the hands of UK and US military equipment bought and used by the Saudi regime.
With growing pressure from many within the West to alter its relationship with the Saudi regime, it will be interesting to see what the future holds and whether this latest incident will affect diplomatic ties between the West and Saudi Arabia.