News Analysis |
After weeks of deliberations, the United States of America has finally imposed sanctions on 17 Saudi nationals believed to be directly linked with the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Under the sanctions, the foreign assets of these individuals would be frozen with immediate effect and they will not be allowed access to the U.S banking system.
“These individuals who targeted and brutally killed a journalist who resided and worked in the United States must face consequences for their actions,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement. On the other side, as the internal Saudi investigation for the murder continues, the deputy public prosecutor of Saudi Arabia in a rare press conference said that prosecution has recommended the death penalty for 5 of the indicted perpetrators. However, he did not particularly name who the ones were being considered for beheading as the team.
President Erdogan is also certain the order for the murder came from the highest level of Saudi government but probably not from King Salman, which indirectly singles out Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
Some Saudi officials who were fired from their posts last month, and apparently have a link to the murder of the journalist are not the part of the U.S treasury department’s list. While she did not comment why was that so, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said there could be further U.S. measures. “It’s a step in the right direction. It is an initial investigation finding. It is important that those steps continue to be taken for a full accountability. We will continue to work diligently to ascertain the facts,”.
Saudi Monarchy is the ally, no matter what…
It should not come as a surprise that the United States has failed to act against the oppressive regime which, in one way or another, is responsible for the murder. Saud Al-Qahtani the former top aide of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who has ostensibly supervised the murder via live Skype call, is also on the list of individuals being sanctioned by the U.S.
Despite the fact that Qahtani has himself stated in the past that he is a mere hand to execute the order of Crown Prince, the United States has felt short of including Mohammed Bin Salman in any of the punitive action. And it is not the first time that Saudi Arabia has got away because of the delicate arrangement over economic and strategic objectives which the United States has with the Kingdom.
In 9/11 where most of the hijackers were Saudi nationals and the investigation commission left the possibility open for the apparent collaboration of few Saudi officials in the attack, the United States still did not take any sort of action. And according to Lawrence Wright in his book “The Looming Tower”, when the twin towers were coming down a part of American Intelligensia was busy in moving the top-notch Saudi nationals in the USA to secure locations so that their safety is not compromised.
The return of Prince Ahmed Bin Abdul Aziz, the only living brother of King Salman and a potential threat to the Saudi crown, seems to be part of the same U.S strategy.
The successive U.S governments have been criticized for allowing the Saudi stalwarts to get away with their crimes more than one time, but the cost of action an all-out action is too high for the long-term interest of the United States.
Death Penalty for the Culprits
Turkey has continuously asked for the 15 members who were the part of death squad which carried out the crime to be handed over and tried in the Turkish court of law as the murder was committed on its soil. President Erdogan is also certain the order for the murder came from the highest level of Saudi government but probably not from King Salman, which indirectly singles out Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
Saudi Foreign Minister and now the deputy public prosecutor has also categorically denied the involvement and even knowledge of the plot to Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. So far the proceedings are exactly as anticipated and most probably agreed upon between the U.S and Saudi top tier of the government.
In parallel, the United States of America is working on arrangements to bring the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman into a relative state of control. The return of Prince Ahmed Bin Abdul Aziz, the only living brother of King Salman and a potential threat to the Saudi crown, seems to be part of the same U.S strategy.