Saudi journalist’s disappearance renews attention on U.S.-backed Saudi war on Yemen
It has been two weeks since the disappearance and possible murder of Washington Post contributor and Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Turkey. The United Nations Human Rights council is calling for a transparent investigation. But some are criticizing the hypocrisy of the U.N. calling for the investigation of the murder of a journalist with Western connections without calling for consequences for the U.S.-backed Saudi war on Yemen.
U.S. News reports that U.N. Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet said in a statement, “Given there seems to be clear evidence that Mr. Khashoggi entered the Consulate and has never been seen since, the onus is on the Saudi authorities to reveal what happened to him from that point onwards.”
“Under international law, both a forced disappearance and an extra-judicial killing are very serious crimes, and immunity should not be used to impede investigations into what happened and who is responsible,” Bachelet continued.
Rupert Colville, Bachelet’s spokesperson said, “We hope the lifting of immunity is absolute so they can investigate, in the consulate, the (consular) residence premise, the vehicles shown on TV footage.”
President Donald Trump has repeatedly supported the possibility that Saudi Arabia did not murder the journalist, without evidence.
Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened “to our Saudi Arabian citizen.” He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answer. I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2018
The Saudi Embassy also released a statement, thanking the “US administration, for refraining from jumping to conclusions on the ongoing investigation.”
To help clarify recently issued Saudi statement, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia extends it appreciation to all, including the US administration, for refraining from jumping to conclusions on the ongoing investigation. https://t.co/AhcsVkn7Cy
— Saudi Embassy (@SaudiEmbassyUSA) October 14, 2018
However, in the wake of the Khashoggi incident, a growing number of people are questioning the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia and their atrocities in Yemen. Others reflect on why it took a journalist with U.S. government connections disappearing for international leaders and organizations to cause an uproar.
Patrick Cockburn, a journalist with the Independant, argues that “the killing (as suggested by the Turkish investigators) is by no means the worst act carried out by Saudi Arabia… bombing and other military activities by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen is deliberately targeting food supplies and distribution.”
Emma Ashford, a research fellow and journalist, shared a similar sentiment on Twitter:
Most depressing part of this whole affair is that it took the death of a Western-connected journalist to make people care about Saudi atrocities in Yemen or funding of proxies in Syria. https://t.co/lIN5B6nucw
— Emma Ashford (@EmmaMAshford) October 12, 2018
Karen Attiah listed a number of human rights abuses Saudi Arabia is responsible for:
And its not just Jamal #Khashoggi’s murder.
Its also the countless lives Saudi Arabia has ground to dust in Yemen, the jailing of bloggers, economists and women who dared to fight for the right to drive, the kidnapping of Lebanon’s prime minister…
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) October 11, 2018
By the UN’s own reports, 8.4 million Yemenis do not have enough food to consume. The number is estimated to increase to 10 million. Cockburn concludes that the lack of attention on that tragedy may have contributed to Khashoggi’s death. Since the man-made famine and genocide in Yemen has not garnered international uproar, Saudi Arabia may have thought that killing a Saudi journalist would not ignite any protests either.