Don’t let Jared Kushner be right about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi
In the wake of the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi within the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, there was outrage around the world. Except, of course, from Donald Trump and Jared Kushner. Kushner, who is suspected of delivering a list of classified names to Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman—a list that led to hundreds of murders, arrests, and expulsions as bin Salman ousted his own family and cleared his path to the throne. A list that may have included the name of Jamal Khashoggi.
While journalists and governments and people simply outraged by the ghastliness of the event were demanding action, Kushner’s advice was — somewhat different.
Mr. Kushner has argued that the outrage over Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance and possible killing will pass, just as it did after other Saudi errors like the kidnapping of the prime minister of Lebanon and the killing of a busload of children in Yemen by a Saudi airstrike.
A month after Jamal Khashoggi stepped into the consulate to be ambushed, tortured, dismembered, and then murdered, the risk that Kushner’s advice will work is all too great. Kushner didn’t even have to point out the Saudi success in outrunning previous murders. He only had to depend on Trump’s reliable font of fresh outrage to drown out the death of a single journalist.
The Washington Post itself does have one article today on Khashoggi. That article is by Turkish strongman Recep Erdogan whose motives in keeping this story alive may not be—almost certainly are not—purely in the interest of preserving the sanctity of diplomatic institutions. Considering the number of journalists jailed in Turkey, it certain that Erdogan isn’t driven by concerns over the freedom of the press. But still … he’s not wrong.
We know the perpetrators are among the 18 suspects detained in Saudi Arabia. We also know those individuals came to carry out their orders: Kill Khashoggi and leave. Finally, we know the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government.
Some seem to hope this “problem” will go away in time. But we will keep asking those questions, which are crucial to the criminal investigation in Turkey, but also to Khashoggi’s family and loved ones. A month after his killing, we still do not know where his body is.