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Why Is Khashoggi Being Made The Defining Issue Of U.S. Foreign Policy?

By Ben Weingarten

Senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.

Published October 20, 2018 in Epeak Daily

Why has the media and much of the political establishment made the presumed murder of an Islamist Saudi dissident on Turkish soil a defining issue in American foreign policy?

Jamal Khashoggi is not a U.S. citizen, despite his past residence in Virginia, nor is he a lover of liberty, despite his criticism of Saudi Arabia’s despotic regime. He previously served that regime as a mouthpiece for, and adviser to, the alleged al-Qaeda-tied Saudi intelligence leader Turki bin Faisal. Khashoggi mourned the death of Osama bin Laden, whom Khashoggi had been granted unusual levels of access for numerous interviews. Khashoggi was also an ardent proponent of political Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood. Needless to say, one wonders why Khashoggi was permitted to enter the United States and handed a column at The Washington Post given this background, particularly at a time our media claims acute sensitivity to foreign influence. One also wonders why so many in the media are quick to fawn over such a figure given his regressive views. This is not to dismiss Khashoggi’s alleged gory assassination at the hands of his supposed Saudi captors by characteristically sketchy unnamed Turkish sources. If Mohammad bin Salman’s regime did execute this grisly murder, risking all the capital it had accrued in the West to send a signal to its political opposition, it should have to deal with the consequences. But surely our media and political establishment are not blind to the brutality and censorship that characterizes the regimes of the Islamic world, whether in Riyadh, Ankara, or Tehran. Nor are they deaf to the proxy war taking place in any of a number of theaters with Iran, intense jockeying for relations with the Trump administration and much else that divides Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab nations like Egypt and the United Arab Emirates on the one hand, and Turkey and Qatar on the other.

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