Why Jamal Khashoggi Was Killed, by Mark Perry

Once again the US is on the wrong side in the Middle East, aligned with the forces of reaction and repression in Saudi Arabia. Jamal Khashoggi was killed for pointing that out. From Mark Perry at theamericanconservative.com:

In the early summer of 2005, during the height of the U.S. war in Iraq, I arranged to have lunch with Jerry Jones, a special assistant to then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. I had heard rumors that Jones and a number of senior U.S. military leaders were holding quiet talks with prominent Islamists and other officials representing Iraq’s tribes at a hotel in Amman, Jordan. The discussions were part of an effort by Jones and senior military officers to end the Anbar insurgency, which was responsible for a lengthening list of U.S. casualties in Iraq.

For the outset of our meeting, Jones (a gangly and affable Texan who’d served in influential positions in several Republican administrations), detailed the challenges facing the U.S. military in Anbar and provided a summary of the “brutal,” “bloody” and “harrowing” fighting there. America’s military deaths were spiking, with no end in sight. “We’re in trouble,” Jones concluded. While much of this was known at the time, Jones’s narrative stunned me. “Are you telling me that we’re losing the war in Iraq?” I asked. Jones chuckled and shook his head: “Losing? We’re not only losing,” he said, “we’re on the wrong side.”

Not much has changed in the intervening years, as the recent murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of a Saudi kill team has shown. While the U.S. was able to quell the Anbar insurgency, America has stumbled from position to position in the region, primarily because we’ve continued to make the same mistakes that we made in Anbar—we’re losing in the Middle East because we’re on the wrong side, a side that is represented by leaders like Mohammed bin Salman. Khashoggi knew this better than anyone.

Last August, Khoshoggi authored a Washington Post article cataloguing these stumbles, and offering a solution. Khoshoggi wrote that America’s failure in the Middle East was the result of its failure to recognize the importance of the region’s Islamist parties—primarily the Muslim Brotherhood. “There can be no political reform and democracy in any Arab country without accepting that political Islam is a part of it,” he wrote.

 

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