Mohammed bin Salman Chooses His Scapegoats

Mohammed bin Salman Chooses His Scapegoats October 20, 2018

As expected for the last few days, the Saudi government has chosen its fall guys, the ones who will take the blame for Mohammed bin Salman, who will now claim that he had nothing to do with it and it was just a few rogue agents of his team that did it all without his knowledge. And if you believe that, I’ve got a solar power grid in Saudi Arabia to sell you.

The Saudi government acknowledged early Saturday that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, saying he died during a fist fight.

The announcement, which came in a tweet from the Saudi foreign ministry, said that an initial investigation by the government’s general prosecutor found that Khashoggi been in discussions with people inside the consulate when a quarrel broke out, escalating to a fatal fist fight.

The Saudi government said it had fired five top officials and arrested 18 other Saudis as a result of the initial investigation. Those fired included Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s adviser Saud al-Qahtani and deputy intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri.

The announcement marks the first time that Saudi officials have acknowledged that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate. Ever since he disappeared on Oct. 2 while visiting the mission, Saudi officials have repeatedly said that he left the consulate alive and that they had no information about his whereabouts or fate. He had gone to the consulate to obtain a document he needed for an upcoming wedding.

And that is exactly why we shouldn’t believe them, because they already have been lying about what happened from the first moment it took place. They lied and lied and lied and now suddenly they want the world to believe that they’re now telling the truth. al-Assiri is MBS’s right hand man. There’s no way in hell he ordered this without him knowing about it and approving it. And the very fact that we know they were trying to lure him back to Saudi Arabia so they could arrest him is another reason not to believe him.

That’s the thing about this new excuse: Even if it’s true, it’s an appalling violation of human rights. Khashoggi did nothing other than criticize the Saudi government, while living as a permanent resident of the United States. They sought to lure him back to Saudi Arabia so they could arrest him for that and that alone. Even if the story is true, it’s something only a barbaric, totalitarian government would do. But there is zero doubt in my mind that this story is nonsense, that MBS ordered that he be captured and killed because he didn’t think the American government would do anything about it.

And guess what? He was right. I think there’s about a 90% chance that this new story, in fact, was cooked up by Trump and Kushner to get MBS off the hook so they could justify not taking any real action in response. Trump says he wants to talk to MBS before making any decisions, and anyone with half a brain knows exactly how that’s going to go. I bet I can predict it pretty close to verbatim: “I spoke to the Crown Prince and he was very adamant that this was done without his knowledge or approval. I see no reason to doubt him. They have arrested the men responsible and the prince assured me that they would be punished severely and that this would not be tolerated in the future.” Voila, whitewashing complete, no need to lose money.

It’s funny, Trump keeps saying that he doesn’t want to hurt American companies by pulling our weapons sales to Saudi Arabia (which he continues to lie about and inflate way out of proportion), but he didn’t show any of that concern when it came to reimposing sanctions on Iran, which prevent American oil service companies from doing business in Iran, not to mention banks and many other types of companies. Such a convenient excuse that he can pull out when he feels like it and ignore when he doesn’t. The arms sales to Saudi Arabia should never have been approved in the first place for one simple reason: They use those weapons in their war on Yemen, where hundreds of thousands of people have been killed.

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