The strange death of Jamal Khashoggi and why it matters

Alex Rishi, Journalist

Saudi Arabia is known for having one of the most oppressive governments in the world. Women are forced to wear robes that cover there body and homosexuality is forbidden.  Many people from Saudi Arabia disagree with these strict laws but are too afraid to speak up. Though it has gotten better, in 2017 Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman allowed women to legally drive. For Saudi Arabia this is a big step. Saudi Arabia is also one of the most oil rich countries in the world and one of the United States biggest trade partners

One person who was not afraid to speak up was Jamal Khashoggi. Jamal Khashoggi was a Saudi Arabian journalist who studied at Indiana State University. After graduating he became editor and chief of the Al Arab News Channel. Khashoggi was known for having very progressive views (for Saudi Arabia) and would frequently criticize the government as well as the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

On October 2nd 2018, Khashoggi was seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, but was not seen leaving. Many people began speculating that he was dismembered inside the building. 17 operatives entered the building with Khashoggi and 17 left without Khashoggi. So the Turkish government launched an investigation to find out what happened to him. Of the 17, 11 were indicted and currently 5 are facing the death penalty.

Originally the Saudi government claimed that he was unharmed and left the building but later they admitted that he died in a fight while inside of the consulate building. This was contradicted when the Saudi attorney general admitted that the murder was premeditated. His body was eventually found dismembered and burned in acid in the garden of the Saudi consulate building. Apparently his body was dismembered, dumped in acid and poured down drains.

I talked with Mr. Cordiner to see what he thinks about the whole situation. When asked about what he thinks truly happened to Jamal Khashoggi he replied “All evidence suggests a large retinue of operatives,” said Cordiner. “There was a doctor among the 17 or so operatives, but he was not an anesthesiologist. This suggests more of a medical presence to monitor an interrogation. The story being put out now is it was an interrogation which went awry, so this is plausible. I would say this was put together rather quickly since Khashoggi going to the Turkish consulate was not planned well in advance. I was initially surprised Khashoggi chose the Turkish consulate as opposed to one in the US. However, the Turkish one is not a bad choice as it does have strong opposition to Saudi Arabia due to the emergence of Ottoman revivalism and their opposing views on the Syrian Civil War. This would have afforded some peace of mind for Khashoggi as he probably figured the Saudis would not dare such an operation within Turkish borders. Clearly, Khashoggi’s confidence was misplaced.”

I also wondered how Mr Cordiner thinks it will change US and Saudi relations. “MBL(crown prince Salman) is in a situation which will bring a lot of hand-wringing and some stern words from the West” Cordiner said. “But too many Western European countries have promulgated Saudi Arabia as a counter to Iran for any long-term term consequences. The killing of Khashoggi will be largely forgotten by the American media as the midterm elections approach and the news cycle has run its course.  I know that is cynical, but even a tragedy can be relegated to a statistic.”

I also spoke with senior Jack Forrester. I wondered what he thinks the Saudi government would benefit from killing Khashoggi. “ He was a pretty avid critic of the Saudi government and especially of the new royalty, and he was known to be a credible journalist so he had a pretty powerful voice that I think the Saudi government would want to silence.

I also asked Jack what he thinks President Trump should do. “I think trump should do something or at least publicly acknowledge that this is not an acceptable situation” Forrester said. “I don’t think he will do anything though based on the praise he has already given Saudi Arabia.”

Overall, this is a very grim situation from a Saudi Arabian government that seemed it was getting better. Many people liken this to soviet Russia when Stalin’s critics would be killed for speaking out against him.