Saturday, October 27, 2018
The murder of a Saudi journalist
The murder of a Saudi journalist draws attention to U.S. complicity in Yemen
Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations go far beyond the homicide of one journalist.
The apparent murder of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi brought a renewed focus on U.S.-Saudi relations in October. Turkish investigators report that Khashoggi, who had been a regular contributor to the Washington Post, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to retrieve documents for his forthcoming marriage. They believe he was tortured and murdered while inside the consulate and his body disposed of in pieces via diplomatic pouch—a bizarre and gruesome end to an outspoken critic of the Saudi kingdom.
His apparent murder has provoked calls for the termination of U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and a reassessment of the cozy relationship between the “reformist” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Trump administration. So far the president has resisted efforts to couple arms sales to improvements on human rights in the kingdom.
It would be remarkable if the United States suddenly discovered the Saudis’ problems with human rights via the apparent homicide of a single journalist, however macabre his murder, when it has ignored the Saudis’ ongoing stomping on of human rights during the brutal management of its war on Houthi rebels in Yemen. In that benighted Middle Eastern state, one of the poorest in the world, a Saudi-led coalition has been for years pummeling the civilian population in a so-far unsuccessful effort to dislodge Iran-supported Houthi from Yemen’s capital city of Sana’a.