Saudi journalist, Global Opinions columnist for the Washington Post, and former editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel Jamal Khashoggi offers remarks during POMED's "Mohammed bin Salman's Saudi Arabia: A Deeper Look." | Photo Courtesy of April Brady/Project on Middle East Democracy

OPINION: Hold the Praise for the Robber Barons

It took the murder of a journalist, but we should have acted sooner

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It took the murder of a journalist, but we should have acted sooner

The death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi has caused an uproar amongst those who run our society.
Khashoggi was allegedly murdered by Saudi agents at the command of their Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Khashoggi, who was reported “missing,” was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey on Oct. 2. It has since been discovered he was murdered within minutes of entering.

Turkish officials, however, stated they had evidence of the supposed hit, thus prompting calls for boycotts and punitive action from the United States—where Khashoggi was a legal resident.

Various owners of industry have cancelled their trips to a conference colloquially titled “Davos in the Desert,” where investment in Saudi Arabian companies is discussed as well as their role in the future global marketplace. But once again, our “Vulgarian-in-chief” has expressed his reluctance towards any sanctions against a country that buys an alarming number of weapons—which are in turn being used to commit war crimes, mass murder of civilians, and contributing to what the U.N. is calling “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” So, while we should applaud the neo-Robber Barons for pulling out of a conference that would further their economic hegemony, we should condemn them for not pulling out sooner when innocent lives have been bombed for nearly three years.

According to the U.N., 22 million Yemenis are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance and protection. 8.4 million are unsure of where their next meal is coming from, 16 million do not have clean water, and less than 50 percent of the health facilities there are in operation. The fact that it took the murdering of one journalist to finally have a major call from the mainstream press to pushback on Saudi Arabia is appalling.

Earlier this year the Crown Prince, known as MBS, visited the U.S. and met with a number of influential icons. In an interview with 60 Minutes he was heralded as an “emancipator of women,”—because he allowed women to drive, but only under the guidance of a man—but they failed to properly push him on the atrocities in Yemen. MBS even met the with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson who said it was “a pleasure to have a private dinner” with the dictator. MBS also met with the tech giants Bill Gates, Tim Cook of Apple, and Elon Musk. He met with Bob Iger of Disney, Richard Branson and the reincarnation of Andrew Carnegie (this is not a compliment), Jeff Bezos.

All of these Robber Barons met with a man who is almost single-handedly responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians and for the crisis that is affecting tens of millions of innocent lives, and all they could do was to heap praise on him.

The coverage of the Yemeni catastrophe by the mainstream media has been lacking at best. However, CNN did recently publish a story where they were able to link the weapons used to kill 50 children and injure 77 to American business Lockheed Martin—with most atrocities taking place in the world right now, America’s hands are not clean. It is inexcusable that what it took to have a major call to sanction Saudi Arabia was the death of one journalist, when they have been systematically killing and oppressing the citizens of the “Arab world’s poorest country” for years.

In his defense MBS said “I’m a rich person and not a poor person. I’m not Gandhi or Mandela.”

Yeah, we know.

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