RNA - Here is the high-profile list: The president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, is not attending. The Financial Times, Bloomberg, CNN and CNBC have all withdrawn as media sponsors. These plus world’s business elite were due to attend the Future Investment Initiative (FII), which begins in the Saudi capital on 23 October. But they are withdrawing pending the outcome of investigations into Khashoggi’s disappearance in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, while many others have pulled out unconditionally.
Jamal Khashoggi was one of the Arab world’s most prominent journalists and commentators. He was an outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia who had dared to defy the regime and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
While living in Saudi Arabia, Khashoggi was told to stop writing or posting on Twitter, where he has more than 1.6 million followers. He moved to the US more than a year ago, where he continued to comment on his country both in print and on television. He wrote columns for the Washington Post and the Guardian. His message struck a nuanced tone in the US too – Riyadh’s main ally.
In truth, although the US treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, says he is still planning to attend the Saudi summit, it’s still welcome news that major companies and mainstream media outlets in the US have decided to withdraw their sponsorship of the event, starting a domino effect of withdrawals around the globe.
In truth, those who have asked Saudi Arabian authorities to provide transparent and detailed answers over Khashoggi are just wasting their time. Riyadh will never provide transparent and detailed answers over this particular murder case. Those who are waiting to abandon the event and show no signs of protest should take note: A joint Turkish-Saudi investigation into the affair won’t reach any conclusion before the summit either.
The Saudi assassins’ not-so-secret mission was to torture, then execute, Khashoggi, and videotape the ghastly act for whoever had given the order for his merciless dispatch. His body, Turkish officials say, was dismembered and packed into boxes before being whisked away in a black van with darkened windows. The assassins fled the country. According to the New York Times, among the assassination team was the regime’s top forensic expert, who brought a bone saw to dismember Khashoggi’s body.
Under international law, therefore, all international companies and media outlets are expected to cut ties with the mobster regime, withdraw from any future summit and investment project, and strongly condemn the murder of Khashoggi and Saudi crackdown on independent voices. This includes HSBC, Standard Chartered, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Mastercard Inc, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Siemens.
According to Fars News Agancy, in many respects, the autocratic regime’s cruelty and bloodletting have not stopped in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia still carries out many public beheadings and other draconian corporal punishments. It continues to wage a war on Yemen which has killed at least 17,000 civilians. The mobster regime aids and abets terrorist groups like ISIL and Al-Qaeda, and its autocratic ruler is in no way a reformer.
True, the fate of Khashoggi has provoked global outrage, but it shouldn’t stop there. It is now time for the international civil society to impose diplomatic and economic sanctions on Saudi Arabia for all the right reasons, an unelected regime that operates like a mafia and spreads the extremist ideology of Wahhabism across the globe through any means possible, even murder.
In summation, the West has been ignoring Saudi Arabia’s terrorism financing and extremist ideology far too long. It is wrong to overlook what seems to be a brazen Mafia-style murder of a journalist. The world should delve into this matter and hear everything about it because this is not a one-off murder case. A lot worse than this is happening in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the region all because of the mobster state. It is now wrong for the West and for the rest of the world to look the other way.