Rogue Kingdom, Thug Ally, What the Frick?

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Grenoble         Ok, I’m way out of my wheelhouse here, but “come on, man!”

A country can’t really be able to get away with saying, “whoops, my bad” when fifteen of its agents bushwhack a dissident in their own embassy and supposedly accidentally kill him.  After two weeks of dissembling, denying, and trying out “alternative facts,” Saudi Arabia is now saying, yes, Jamal Khashoggi is dead, and, yes, he was killed in our embassy in Turkey of all places, but we don’t know where the body is, but, hey, he started a fight with fifteen of our guys, and one choked the life out of him by mistake, but it’s OK, we fired eighteen people, all fifteen of those guys, plus a consular guy who opened the door and the chauffeurs who drove the dudes to the consular office, so, hey, are we good now?  Oh, no, you’re not good by a long shot, come on, man!

The more you read about this mess, the more horrid and unbelievable it is.  We’re in gangster world.  This is a godfather scene, except they are smarter about it all.  It turns out according to newspaper reports that Saudi Arabia had a policy of tracking down dissidents and bringing them back to their country.  This one happened to be a guest columnist for the Washington Post right in the US capitol, where he had fled incidentally and gone into exile thinking he was safe in America.  How many other dissidents without such a high profile have been tracked down in other countries under one guise or another and then hijacked and kidnapped back to Saudi Arabia?  What happened to them?  Jail if they are lucky?  Worse, if they weren’t?

If this was known policy, why hadn’t the USA already been finger wagging at our good friend and ally, Saudi Arabia?  Why hadn’t there been an uproar at the United Nations?    Are you kidding me?  Do we have to count on an authoritarian government like Turkey with little regard for human rights to get all out of joint about a killing by another country on their soil?  They recorded the whole thing, and it still doesn’t mesh with the cover story the kingdom is releasing.  The US’s NSA communications intercepts had already heard the Saudi’s war-gaming how to trick Khashoggi into their hands.  He clearly expected there might be trouble.  He left his fiancé outside of the consular office with instructions to call for help if he didn’t come out, which she finally did a couple of hours after he entered.

And, President Trump wasn’t really trying to draw a distinction about this brutal affair over the fact that Khashoggi was a US resident under our protection as opposed to a US citizen, was he?  I know we have made a huge mess in the Middle East, but is this really the kind of country we want to arm to the hilt with our planes and firepower?

How are all of these “do no evil” tech companies going get right with the huge Saudi investments in their operations and in some cases government officials on their boards?

This story is lame.  Some firings don’t account for a killing.  There has to be accountability, and the US needs to lead on this, not be pathetic and apologetic here.

Where is the justice?

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