Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > Thoughts on Uproar in American Media over Jamal Khashoggi Killing

Thoughts on Uproar in American Media over Jamal Khashoggi Killing

As anybody not living under a rock knows by now, the american media is in uproar over killing of Jamal Khashoggi by a team of Saudi “assassins” inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. While there are many things one can say about the level of mental retardation displayed by the idiot who ordered this killing and those who carried it out, I will focus on the parts relevant to the rest of this (hopefully short) post. For starters, it is pretty obvious that this killing was ordered by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman. So let me start by giving you a brief overview of this remarkably bizarre character with the quintessential anti-Midas touch.

The Clown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman aka MBS and henceforth referred to as Mohammad Bone Saw reached his current position because his old father ended up as the King through some complicated rules of royal succession in 2015. It is relevant to mention the fact that his 82-year old father is suffering from senile dementia. Long story short, Mohammad Bone Saw used this opportunity to put himself as crown prince, remove many other members of that extended family from their position and torture his relatives to extort about 100 billion dollars out of them.

He has also embarked on a series of failed misadventures such as his failed attempt to bully the almost as loathsome regime in Qatar not to mention the still ongoing attempts to win the “war” in Yemen which has been really an attempt at Genocide for at least last two years. To put it another way, Mohammad Bone Saw is the quintessential failson but one displaying far higher levels of narcissism, overt sociopathy and incompetence. But why does this matter? Hasn’t that “royal” family had many fuckups like him, within their ranks, before?

Well.. yes, he is certainly not the first fuckup born within that family. However the communal nature of that family and how it spread power throughout the extended family ensured that a few fuckups could not screw things up.. at least, too much. Mohammad Bone Saw, on the other hand, under the “tutelage” of the ruler of UAE has decided to run that country as a one man show. To that end- he has eliminated, imprisoned or scared other members of his extended family to give up their money and positions within administration. In other words, what was once a distributed and reasonably de-centralized (albeit hereditary) system has become a one man shitshow.

None of this would have mattered to the rest of world if Mohammad Bone Saw was the ruler of some unimportant and impoverished country. But that is not the case, as Saudi Arabia is one of three largest global producers of crude oil since the 1950s or 1960s. In other words, having a delusional and incompetent person becoming defacto leader of such a country has serious consequences. It does not help that their economy is not doing too well, because of the especially stupid decision made in early 2010s to increase their crude oil production to lower its price.

The original idea behind that particularly disastrous decision was that lower crude oil prices would make fracking (in countries like USA) noncompetitive. While it did some short-term effect, the fracking industry found ways to make that process more cost-effective. Now Saudi Arabia is stuck with low crude oil prices, no alternative source of revenue and a government full of greedy losers who owe their very existence to continued support for USA. Having a large youth population without decent jobs due to high fertility rates during prior decades also does not help things.

The point of this long preamble is as follows: While Mohammad Bone Saw is an exceptionally narcissistic and incompetent idiot, even by the standards of that country, many of the problems faced by Saudi Arabia today began decades ago. It is just the case that they were able to keep papering over them with progressively larger amounts of money and repression. To make matters worse, many of the ‘clever’ decisions they have made over the past decade have backfired pretty badly. Here is a quick list of those self-inflicted disasters..

It is no secret that Saudi Arabia along with UAE, Qatar and Turkey were the biggest funders and facilitators of Islamic terrorism in countries around them. And yes, they had full support of the Obama administration. Groups such as ISIL and the other extremist Sunni groups in Syria are almost entirely their creation. The list of reasons why they did this is long, but centers around their long-time rivalry with Shia Iran and location of oilfields. Hilariously, every attempt made by Saudi Arabia (and others) to support these groups have either failed or blown up in their faces.

Readers might wonder about what any of this has to with the Jamal Khashoggi killing? Well.. it is an indirect and second order link. Faced with obvious setbacks and visible blows to their public image due to events outside their countries, the notoriously petty and narcissistic rulers of these countries have resorted to unusually high levels of internal repression to show their subjects that they are still in charge and not impotent on the international stage.

This is the reason Mohammad Bone Saw was itching to invade Qatar last year, even though he had closely worked with them to support ISIL and other murderous religious nutcases in Syria as recently as early-2017. That is why he spent so much money on buying positive media coverage and fawning editorials from himself in the West. This is also why he is still so eager to prosecute the unwinnable war in Yemen, even as it turns into a genocide. Like many idiots, he is trying to win back what he lost on his previous round of poker by placing an even larger bet.

But why did he think that it was possible to get away with having Jamal Khashoggi murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul? Long story short, because western governments and media types had so far been unusually willing to cover up his atrocities and defend him in public. Think about it, how much have you heard about the widespread death, starvation and disease caused by his still unwinnable war in Yemen? How about very little to nothing! Did they even pretend to care about Qatar when he tried and failed to roll over that country in 2017?

How many “mainstream” western media outlets have investigated the billions in money and weapons that he (and his predecessors) gave to ISIL and similar groups operating in Syria and Iraq? Did they condemn him for imprisonment, torture and extortion of his extended family after he came to power? Are you starting to see a pattern? In case you aren’t, here is the pattern: Mohammad Bone Saw does some stupid and horrible thing, western governments and media go quiet about it but keep praising him due to all cash they received. Rinse and repeat..

So what caused the “mainstream” western media types to suddenly sit up and take notice of his multiple failings after the Khashoggi killing? A few things.. firstly, Mohammad Bone Saw associated himself a bit too closely with Trump and Kushner- an especially dumb move at this time. Secondly, he went after a guy who himself came from a very rich and connected family with deep connections both in the West and Saudi Arabia. Need I remind you that his grandfather was the personal physician of Ibn Saud, yes that one. Here are a couple of his more famous relatives: Dodi Fayed and Adnan Khashoggi. Did I also mention that his extended family is on first name terms with members of ruling families in surrounding Arab countries?

Thirdly, and most importantly, he did this stupid thing after suffering multiple public failures and humilaitions. The thing is.. many people will support a successful asshole and murderer, but very few will continue doing so if they see him continuously failing on multiple fronts. It was, therefore, a peculiar combination of circumstances which finally made the phony and self-righteous western “mainstream” media sit up and take notice of something they should have noticed and covered, at least a couple of years ago.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. P Ray
    October 18, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    The “stand up and take notice” also happened because:
    1. Turkey is a US ally
    2. Khashoggi was a US permanent resident
    3. There was already a precedent of “murder on foreign soil” (embassy is home ground only when there is no crime of such public interest) e.g. Skripals
    4. Seven minute kebab making class (waiting for the liveleak or bestgore version, I have heard mentally retarded people having sex before, so I am sure I will not be phased by the audio).
    5. General reality that murders and kidnappings overseas (re: revenge for Munich, Eichmann kidnapping) … are covered up and only revealed years later, JewknowhatImsayin?
    6. The China kidnapping of the Interpol chief …

    all of this just points towards the reality that in an interconnected world, what ya gonna do? Sanctions against Saudis = expensive oil, at a time of MAGA; Fighting against Chinese = WW3; Fighting against Russians = ditto …
    so now it will be a wonderful time, absent a 3rd party with something to gain by drip-feeding information … for countries to threaten, harass, kidnap or kill their overseas nationals that either spill secrets or talk about “oomin rights” when they’re not part of the leadership cabal.

    • October 21, 2018 at 8:24 am

      The world is headed for what I call New Fascism. Rich China, Western states and the Gulf states will agree to create an apartheid world that is a lot like that movie Elysium.

      The Inside World =the rich and powerful live cities of major economies (Paris, New York, Beijing, Miami, Riyadh). Whole nations will look and feel liked gated communities. The rich and powerful lived in a world where they can cure all diseases, reverse the aging process, and regenerate body parts. The Inside World will have a caste system.

      The Outside World =South America, Yemen, Middle East, most of India, most of Africa. Most of these people live in poverty, on the edge of starvation, and with little technology and medical care. Some new Spanish flu pandemic (probably bioengineered by the Rich) will exterminate hundreds of millions, maybe billions of people.

      All this talk of “human rights” will be regarded as an anachronism.

      • P Ray
        October 23, 2018 at 8:59 am

        I wonder if there’s any audio of MBS speaking in English. Would be interesting to know if he’s (fluently) bilingual.

  2. Jack Ross
    October 18, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    “The list of reasons why they did this is long, but centers around their long-time rivalry with Sunni Iran and oil.”

    Iran is Shia Muslim. Not Sunni Muslim. Get your facts straight.

  3. October 19, 2018 at 5:20 am

    “In other words, having a delusional and incompetent person becoming defacto leader of such a country has serious consequences.”

    Delusional and incompetent, like Stalin. Yeah…

  4. MikeCA
    October 19, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    To understand what is going on in Saudi Arabia you need to understand some of it’s history.

    Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab was an 18th century Muslim preacher. In the 18th century Saudi Arabia was part of the Ottoman. Abd al-Wahhab believed that the “the decorous, arty, tobacco smoking, hashish imbibing, drum pounding Egyptian and Ottoman nobility who traveled across Arabia to pray at Mecca” were were imposters masquerading as Muslims. This did not make him popular in Mecca.

    Abd al-Wahhab was forced to leave Mecca and in 1741 he took refuge with Muhammad ibn Saud and his tribe. Ibn Saud recognized that Abd al-Wahhab version of Islam was the perfect religion for a band of desert bandits that existed by stealing from neighbouring tribes and cities. Abd al-Wahhab believe that only followers of his strict believes were real Muslims and that his followers should declare jihad on other Muslims that did not follow his strict believes. This gave Ibn Saud’s tribe a religious justification for raid neighbouring villages and stealing from them. Men were given the option of converting to Wahhabism and joining Ibn Saud’s tribe. Women and children were generally kidnapped and made slaves.

    By 1790 Ibn Saud tribal forces controlled most of Arabia and raided into Syria and Iraq. This was the first Saudi Kingdom. In 1801 Ibn Saud’s forces attacked the Holy City of Karbala in Iraq. They massacred thousands of Shiites, including women and children. Many Shiite shrines were destroyed, including the shrine of Imam Hussein, the murdered grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

    In 1803 Ibn Saud’s forces took control of Mecca. The Wahhabist destroyed historical monuments, tombs and shrines except for the Grand Mosque. Ibn Saud was killed by a Shiite assassin in 1803 seeking revenge for the massacre in Karbala.

    At this point the Ottoman rulers decided they had enough of the Saudi Kingdom and Wahhabism. They ordered the Egyptians military to deal with the Saudi’s. By 1818 the first Saudi Kingdom was destroyed and the remaining tribes and Wahhabist followers were driven back into the dessert. The unfortunate son of Ibn Saud that was the ruler was capture by the Egyptian army and sent to Istanbul to be gruesomely executed with his head fired from a cannon.

    Fast forward to the early 20th century. Abd-al Aziz from the Saudi family begins to reunite the Bedouin tribes and retake control of parts of Arabia. Lawrence of Arabia recruited Abd-al Aziz to form a guerrilla army to fight the Ottoman Empire in World War I. Some of that army were tribesmen loyal to Abd-al Aziz but part of the army were Wahhabist militias. Abd-al Aziz deal with Lawrence of Arabia gave Abd-al Aziz and his followers control of what today is Saudi Arabia at the end or WW I. The Wahhabist militias wanted to re-establish the first Saudi kingdom and began raiding into Iraq and Jordan. This angered the British and Abd-al Aziz did not want to upset the British because oil had just been discovered in Saudi Arabia. Some of the Wahhabist militias remained loyal to the king, but some continued to raid into Iraq. In 1929 at the Battle of Sabilla, Abd-al Aziz’s army wiped out the rebellious Wahhabist militias using jeep mounted machine guns to mow down the rebels on camels.

    Abd-al Aziz recognized that the Wahhabist militias that had remained loyal to him had great sympathy for the rebels. He made a deal with the Wahhabist to give them control of Saudi moral life and control of Mecca, provided that they kept Mecca open to all Muslims. Abd-al Aziz also promised the Wahhabist a share of the oil wealth. In return the Wahhabist were to remain loyal to the king and not challenge the authority of the king.

    Most of the Saudi royal family are not really strict Wahhabist, but they recognize that many Saudi’s are. They keep up the pretense of being Wahhabist. The Wahhabist religious leaders in Saudi Arabia today preach a kind of muted version of the old Wahhabism, but there is a strong undercurrent of believe in the old-time Wahhabism and jihad against all non-Wahhabist including Shia Muslims.

    Many of the Saudi oil fields are in parts of Saudi Arabia were most people are Shia Muslims. The Saudi royal family favored a more tolerant view of Shia in the 20th century while the Wahhabist hated Shia and considered them not to be Muslims. This has been the internal conflict in the Saudi Kingdoms from its beginning in the 1920s. Groups like ISIS base their believes in part on old time Wahhabism and many people in Saudi Arabia have sympathy for this. That is why they gave money to ISIS.

    Because of the Saudi’s oil wealth deal with Wahhabist, the Wahhabist have had lots of money to fund outreach in poor Muslim countries, like Afghanistan and Pakistan. In many cases the most radical Wahhabist were sent to these missions to get them out of Saudi Arabia. The result is that Saudi oil wealth has fueled the spread of the intolerant hated of Shia and non-Muslims though out the Sunni world. The Saudi royal family is aware of this problem and the potential for blow back in Saudi Arabia itself, but they are afraid to take drastic action against the Wahhabist in Saudi Arabia because they fear that would cause them to turn on the royal family and lead to a rebellion in Saudi Arabia like we have seen in other Arab countries.

  5. Neo
    October 20, 2018 at 5:15 am

    Khashoggi being himself a journalist with the newspaper owned by the world’s richest capitalist (it is rumored that Putin is wealthier using methods similar to those listed here for MBS) has the attention of the media. Reporters recognize that they now face great dangers globally while trying to do their work. They will flock together for mutual defense.

    Anyone here remember Don Bolles? He was investigating corruption in Arizona, got too close to something sensitive, and got killed in a car bombing. Reporters from all over the country went to Arizona and finished his work, not that it really did any good in the end. The story essentially faded away, and I can’t say that many were convicted for their crimes despite the efforts of the reporters and the loss of Bolles’ life.

    Right now, Khashoggi is in the news, but he’s one Trump Tweet away from being forgotten as a cause celebre. Nothing in the end will be done about this assassination. There’s big money to be made.

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