Murder of Khashoggi: A new war of independence for Islamic countries

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İhsan Aktaş

One of the most heated topics in world politics today is the murder of renowned journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. The suspect of the murder has been self-evident: The Saudi state. According to international law, the Saudi Consulate is considered to be Saudi land and all evidence implicates the Saudi administration in Khashoggi’s murder.

Coming from an influential family, Khashoggi began his career as a journalist during the Afghan war. He worked in Pakistan, India and a number of countries in the Middle East and the Far East. While working at one of Saudi Arabia’s leading media organizations, Khashoggi also worked as a consultant for various key statesmen in the secret administration of the Saudi state as well as for Saudi ministers and princes.

At one time, he had become close with the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) and later became a columnist for The Washington Post. In the face of increasing human rights abuses and injustices committed by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (widely known as MBS) and Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the “uncrowned prince” of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Khashoggi had recently become a fierce critique of the Saudi administration. In his columns, he repeatedly emphasized the repression that MBS put over any legitimate opposition against the Saudi state.

Now, an important journalist like Khashoggi, who wrote in a popular American newspaper and knew all the details about the power relations between the “uncrowned princes” of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the U.S. and Israeli administrations, must have been deemed “dangerous” by his powerful and oil-rich opponents. So much so, that since his disappearance not just Saudis, but American officials as well seem disconcerted and anxious.

In fact, U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE seem extremely interwoven and crooked. Violating the main tenets of international law and trade, U.S. President Donald Trump demanded, in his visit to the Saudi Arabia, $350 billion from the Saudi king under the guise of a massive arms sale.

In World War I, the U.K. had occupied almost all of the Middle East. Later, these Muslim countries gained their independence, first in North Africa and then in the Middle East. While countries like Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia have gained their full independence, countries in the Middle East have become increasingly dependent on Western colonialism, which relies on the exploitation of their natural resources. In this respect, oil-rich Saudi Arabia transfers billions of dollars to the U.S. every year. To ensure the continuation of their extremely authoritarian rule, the Saudi administration continues to bribe the U.S. by stealing the natural resources of the country from their own people.

Despite internal conflicts and disagreements among Arab nations, all Arab countries have traditionally stood against Israeli cruelty together. Yet, the UAE administration and the new Saudi crown prince have initiated a new trend by getting into a strategic alliance with Israel. A series of arbitrary and cruel practices by MBS, the arrest of rich businessmen and the murder of Saudi princes enables the breakdown of traditional Saudi policies and strengthens the position of Israel in the region.

Yet, the murder of Khashoggi demonstrates indisputably that the secret operations of these two cruel crown princes might turn out to be detrimental for Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

In this complicated international context, Islamic countries need to wage a new war of independence against Western colonialism and their indigenous partners. In one of our previous columns, we called for a kind of Westphalian peace among Muslim countries and repeatedly emphasized the significance of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for the realization of that objective.

I believe that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who speaks extraordinarily well, not only on the Palestinian and Idlib issues but also on the Khashoggi case, will take the initiative by advancing his discourse “the world is bigger than one!”

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