RNA - In a statement, the Saudi source claims the accusations are baseless, adding that a security team including Saudi investigators are now in Istanbul to take part in the investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance and murder. This is while Turkish authorities believe that the prominent Saudi journalist, who disappeared last week after entering Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, has been killed.
"The initial assessment of the Turkish police is that Mr Khashoggi has been killed at the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate," a Turkish official told reporters on Saturday.
According to Fars News Agancy, Turkey's official announcement came four days after the mild critic of the Saudi regime entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last Tuesday to obtain paperwork. Now Turkey has widened its investigation into his disappearance after Saudi Arabia failed to back its claim that he left the consulate on Tuesday.
Turkey's ruling party has also said it will "uncover" the details surrounding Khashoggi's vanishing, adding that the country's sensitivity on the issue is at the "highest level". However, don’t expect the same level of “sensitivity” from the US government toward this controversial case. After all, the US government and Congress never bothered to hold the government of Saudi Arabia legally responsible for the 9/11 attacks long after it was established that most of the terrorists were Saudi nationals.
That policy is resonating inside the Pentagon and in US national security circles all over again. This time, though, over the murder of Saudi journalist Khashoggi. They decline to comment on the incident and would very much like to look the other way. US officials might acknowledge some grievances, but they will never threaten to derail the bilateral relations in the long term.
Quite the contrary, they argue that Saudi Arabia is one of the best US partners in the region. Tactically, they see Saudi Arabia as an ally and that’s all there is to it.
Now imagine if this was Iran (or another one of the US foes or rivals like Russia, North Korea or China) and one of its critics or journalists who had gone missing inside the Iranian consulate in Istanbul. All hell would break lose in the West. The US and its allies, would immediately call for an emergency meeting at the UN Security Council and come up with the harshest sanctions against the Iranian government. Why? Iran is not an ally and because that would have no impact if it is grilled internationally. The reasons are plenty:
- Unlike Saudi Arabia, Iran is not one of the top arms purchasers in the world, with the US being a major supplier.
- If Iran had participated in terrorism, of course it would have been sued a long time ago. Yet Washington never allowed a lawsuit to go forward and victims of Saudi terrorism to go to court although the Saudi government was directly responsible for the 9/11 attacks and still participates in terrorist acts the world over. The Saudis did it again in Turkey, but they never paid a price.
- Under US law, the family of Khashoggi can sue Saudi Arabia for murder that occurred in Turkey, which was acknowledged and reported by the Turkish police. But even if this would allow a lawsuit to go forward, it’s not clear that anyone who brings a law would ever see a fair judgment - much less ever see justice served. There is no guarantee Khashoggi’s family would even have their day in court. (The part of the family living in Saudi Arabia has already been pressured and threatened to voice consent in any results found by Riyadh's own investigations.)
- Which means, the American officials are under the impression that they control the Saudis. The 9/11 incident was the first indication that the US should also pay a price and neglect the terror and murder done by Riyadh. If they don’t take any action against the Saudis over Khashoggi’s murder, this will be the second indication – plus many others in between and in places like Syria, Iraq, and Yemen where the House of Saud is advancing the US goals and objectives.
As is, the Saudis are now more than ever unpopular in the world. Even the Turks are alarmed. Their terrorist war against the world has claimed thousands of lives worldwide. They have destabilized governments and encouraged divisiveness and tribalism worldwide. The West and the United States in particular need to rethink their idea that the wealthy Saudis are too big or too rich to fail. For all of these reasons, the Saudis must be held to account for murdering Khashoggi in Turkey. There should be no blatant double standards here.