Behind Saudi Arabia’s Murder of Jamal Khashoggi

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Some six months ago Saudi staffers at the country’s consulate in Istanbul dismembered by bonesaw Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

It was pretty much an open and shut case since the whole grisly affair was captured on video, set up by Turkish officials eager to embarrass the Saudis.

Anyway, the point is that there’s not much dispute that Khashoggi died a terrible death, that his passing is a tragedy and that the Saudis routinely violate human rights.

So, you may be asking, why did the Saudis kill Khashoggi?

First, Khashoggi took the side of the a Qatari-dominated tribe, the Shammar, in a dispute with a Saudi tribe, the Beni Tamim. The details of the dispute don’t matter and it’s too tribal and convoluted to go into. But I will note that the Qatari tribe is Shia and the Saudi tribe is Sunni, as is the Saudi monarchy and most of its citizens.

The Saudi regime — of which Khashoggi has been a critic but also a huge beneficiary — gave him three chances to rethink things. He didn’t do so and hence he was killed.

That may seem harsh but they don’t call them tribes for nothing. Also, the Saudi regime accused Khashoggi of treason for supporting the Qatari tribe. Treason carries the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

I guess it’s easier to cry about human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia than it is to address, or rationally discuss, systemic racism and police violence against African-Americans or the power of our tech oligarchy, to name just two examples.

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