The death, and likely torture of one man, Khashoggi, pales to the everyday human rights violations everywhere and of entire groups of people, often committed by the world’s leading powers, Myles Hoenig further told IQNA in an interview.
Hoenig is an American political analyst. He ran for the US Congress in 2016 as a Green Party candidate.
Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul more than two weeks ago to get documents for his forthcoming marriage and was never seen again.
Saudi Arabia on Saturday said Khashoggi died in a fight inside its Istanbul consulate and that it fired two senior officials over his death, an account US President Donald Trump said was credible but US lawmakers found hard to believe.
Following is the full text of the interview.
Q: As you know, Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to get documents for his forthcoming marriage. Saudi officials say he left shortly afterwards but Turkish officials and his fiancee, who was waiting outside, said he never came out. What do you think?
A: One can be almost 100% certain that Mr. Khashoggi was lured to the Saudi embassy in Turkey, likely tortured and then murdered. There is no proof that he is dead, though, as Turkey has not released any evidence to the public, or for that matter, to US intelligence agencies as far as we know. However, considering that surveillance tapes show him entering but never exiting the embassy, it is up to the Saudis to prove that he is still alive. So the pressure on the kingdom is to release him or prove that he exited on his own, both highly improbable.
Q: Turkish sources have said the initial assessment of the police was that Khashoggi, an outspoken critic of the Saudi government, had been deliberately killed inside the consulate. Riyadh has dismissed the claims. Could you possibly say what motive Riyadh had for this?
A: Dissent is not permitted in Saudi Arabia, especially when the target is Mohammad bin Salman. He has turned his father’s kingdom into a private enterprise for himself and any criticism has been dealt with quite harshly. This could all be a matter of one person’s ego dictating national priorities and policies, much like the United Sates under Trump. Much like his alter ego in the White House, bin Salman does not think strategically. If he directed or ordered this assassination he had no clue or understanding what the international backlash could have been. But in all fairness, murdering journalists is a world-wide concern but very few consequences when it does occur, such as Israel’s targeted murders of members of the press covering the Great March of Return in Gaza. Also the US specifically targeted Al Jazeera in 2003 during the first Iraq war, knowing its coordinates and attacking the hotel where they were based. Such examples occur all over the world with few consequences.
Q: US President Donald Trump threatened “severe punishment” for Riyadh if it turned out Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Do you believe President Trump will take any action against Riyadh taking into account Washington’s arms deals with Riyadh?
A: President Trump is in a new kind of political bind. Saudi Arabia is an ally of the US in the Middle East. As having shared enemies, such as Iran, both countries support each other and give each other cover. Although it started under President Obama, Trump continues supporting the kingdom in its genocidal proxy war in Yemen. Considering that Israel and Saudi Arabia are forming closer ties in their mutual fight against Syria and Iran, the US is not in a geopolitical position to buck this alliance.
Trump is using the loss of arms sales as his crutch for maintaining support for Saudi Arabia, claiming if the US doesn’t sell them weapons, Russia will. Although that would be a major financial coup for the Russians, how likely is it that they would betray and threaten their allies, such as Iran and Syria, for such a sale?
What’s truly unique about this problem for Trump is that he has very strong personal and financial ties to Mohammad bin Salman and the family, which extends to his son-in-law Jared Kushner. Trump’s ties to the kingdom go back decades as it was they who saved Trump from another bankruptcy with loans and sales of which others would not be involved.
On this, Trump’s quagmire can be another charge for his impeachment. The emoluments’ clause prevents such individuals, like President, from financially benefiting from the office they hold. For Trump to be making foreign policy decisions with his own personal wealth serving as a factor in his decisions, is arguably impeachable.
Many in Congress, including from his own party, would like to take some action, especially if Trump’s response continues to be tepid. This will not change the US’s support for Saudi Arabia, but it’s looking more and more to be targeting just bin Salman, not the kingdom itself.
Q: When do you think the world would smell the coffee and stand up to Saudi human rights violations?
A: The world has long smelled the coffee, not just on Saudi human rights violations but of so many others in the world. From US incarcerations targeting people of color, to Israel’s apartheid policies towards Palestinians, to Iran’s executions of homosexuals, to China’s alleged forcing of Muslim Uyghurs to eat pork and drink alcohol in re-education camps, the world is not blind to what’s happening. But with the major superpowers, US, Russia, and China controlling the narratives at the UN and in other international arenas, human rights is not taken as seriously as it should. The death, and likely torture of one man, Khashoggi, pales to the everyday human rights violations everywhere and of entire groups of people, often committed by the world’s leading powers. For geo-political reasons, these powers look away at such abuses world-wide.
The only reason why the world community would stand up to bin Salman is to see him removed from his position and have the king appoint or anoint another successor, maintaining a status quo. That Khashoggi was a journalist is certainly used to flame the animosity directed at Saudi Arabia, but this incident is likely to be short-lived, with little game-changing consequences.