Khashoggi Case: US Prof. Deplores Media’s Neglect of Far Worse Saudi Crimes in Yemen
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An American professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law said while the likely murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is getting so much media attention, the far worse crimes of Saudi Arabia continue unabated in Yemen.
“What is truly sad is that while the killing of Khashoggi is getting so much media attention, the far worse crimes of Saudi Arabia continue unabated in Yemen. With US and UK support, Saudi Arabia is carrying out one of the most brutal and genocidal campaigns in human history,” Daniel Kovalik told Tasnim.
Daniel Kovalik teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is the author of “The Plot to Attack Iran”.
Following is the full text of the interview:
Tasnim: As you know, journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to get documents for his forthcoming marriage. Saudi officials say he left shortly afterwards but Turkish officials and his fiancée, who was waiting outside, said he never came out. What is your take on this?
Kovalik: I think it is very clear now that Mr. Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate, and that this was a premediated act. Saudi Arabia appears to have admitted that he was killed, claiming that this happened in the process of an interrogation gone bad.
Tasnim: Turkish sources have said the initial assessment of the police was that Khashoggi, an outspoken critic of the Saudi government, had been deliberately killed inside the consulate. Riyadh has dismissed the claims. Could you possibly say what motive Riyadh had for this?
Kovalik: This is an interesting question. First of all, I have read reports that Khashoggi was more of an apologist for the Saudi monarchy than a critic, which makes the motive for killing him somewhat more mysterious. However, while Khashoggi was from a prominent Saudi family with ties to the House of Saud, he seems to have had a falling out with crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman, and this may have been what led to his undoing. In the end, though, this should be seen as more of a case of palace intrigue than an attack on a dissident.
Tasnim: In his latest remarks, US President Donald Trump defended Saudi Arabia from what he characterized as efforts to condemn Riyadh over the disappearance of Khashoggi before all the facts were known, saying it was a case of “guilty until proven innocent.” What do you think?
Kovalik: While such a statement is reprehensible, it is not too surprising. The US-Saudi relationship is iron-clad, and has become even stronger under Trump. This relationship is based upon billions of dollars of arms sales from the US to Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia’s huge oil reserves and Saudi Arabia’s general compliance with US foreign policy aims in the Middle East. Indeed, Saudi Arabia is the US’s enforcer in the region. Trump will predictably try to downplay this killing in order to continue this relationship without any pause or interruption.
Tasnim: When do you think the world would smell the coffee and stand up to Saudi human rights violations?
Kovalik: The world outside of the US, the UK and Israel have woken up to how terrible Saudi Arabia is in terms of human rights, but these three countries are unwilling to move away from Saudi Arabia because they see it as a reliable ally and arms buyer. What is truly sad is that while the killing of Khashoggi is getting so much media attention, the far worse crimes of Saudi Arabia continue unabated in Yemen. With US and UK support, Saudi Arabia is carrying out one of the most brutal and genocidal campaigns in human history. The UN estimates that over 10 million Yemenis (over one-third of its population) will die by the end of this year because of this war. Meanwhile, just this week, Saudi Arabia dropped bombs on two school buses, killing around 50 Yemeni children. There is little to no outcry about this even while the media shed crocodile tears about one Washington Post reporter. Apparently, millions of Yemenis are more expendable than one reporter. This is absolutely disgusting and horrifying. The US could end the war in Yemen today if it wanted to, but few sadly are pressing it to do so.