Jamal Khashoggi a 59-year old journalist for the Washington Post, was a Saudi Arabian national and a U.S. resident. He also was a frequent critic of Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (M.B.S.) and the Saudi government policies. Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered on Oct. 2 in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The CIA assessment is that Khashoggi’s murder was most likely ordered by the Crown Prince.
M.B.S. stated in October 2017 that he wanted to return to “moderate Islam” and announced an investment of $500 billion in a new business zone. The next month, he launched an anti-corruption drive, with mass arrests, including his cousin and the son of the late King, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah. M.B.S. claimed the people were dissidents, who had misused their right to free speech and were arrested to rid the country of extremism and to avoid a civil war.
In June of 2018, the Crown Prince was lauded as a reformer, when the ban preventing women from driving was lifted. The Trump administration, in particular Jared Kushner, has forged a relationship with M.B.S. and built the peace in the Mideast strategy around the Saudis.
According to the Turkish Newspaper Hurriyet Daily News, the CIA has a recording of M.B.S. giving instructions to his brother, Khalid bin Salman, Saudi’s ambassador to the United States to “silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible.” The newspaper also maintains that CIA Director Gina Haspel signaled to the Turkish officials that the recording exists.
However, President Trump disputes that the CIA has come to this conclusion. He stated that M.B.S. has vehemently denied that he played any role in the plot to assassinate Jamal Khashoggi.
President Trump went on to say, regardless of the conclusion, the United States is committed to remain partners of Saudi Arabia. And that it is in the best interest of America to stick with Saudi Arabia.
He claims that the Saudi’s are committed to spend $450 billion in the U.S., $110 billion in an arms deal. Apparently, money is a good enough reason to look away from human rights violations, including the murder of a journalist.
Frustrated by the administration’s response, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Corker and top Democrat Bob Menendez are using a 2016 Human Rights Law to launch a federal probe of the Saudi Crown Prince’s involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
The Global Magnitsky Act probe requires the Trump Administration to officially report to Congress on intelligent agencies conclusions regarding M.B.S.’s role in Khashoggi’s murder. They have four months to complete the investigation and determine if the U.S. should sanction the Crown Prince.
In July of 2015, Donald Trump bragged about making a lot of money with Saudi Arabia. According to the AP, in the 1990’s Trump was close to bankruptcy, and a billionaire Saudi prince bailed him out twice, with multi-million-dollar deals.
Like everything Donald Trump does, even murder is transactional. His position continues to be, what is best for him. Whether or not the Saudi government is held accountable for Khashoggi’s murder is up to the president. If it is anything like the position he has taken on holding Russia accountable for their crimes against the United States, it’s a pretty good bet that M.B.S. will get away with murder.