Even as headlines around the world say that it murdered a critical journalist, Saudi Arabia has some friends in the U.S. The Israel lobby is going to bat for the theocratic dictatorship over the alleged killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
Last night on i24 news, EJ Kimball, an Israel advocate at the Middle East Forum, suggested that Khashoggi deserved to die. The journalist’s “ties to al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood” raise “a whole lot of other issues” about the Saudi tradition of exporting terror, Kimball said. The much bigger picture, he said, is the new Saudi Arabia taking on Iran.
Josh Block of the Israel Project made a similar allegation about Khashoggi two nights back. Pro-Al-Qaeda media are pushing the Khashoggi story, Block said, “because Khashoggi was a radical Islamist terrorist ally who was close to Osama Bin Ladin, ISIS, Hamas & wanted to overthrow the Saudi ruling royals, who oppose both the Sunni terrorists, sponsored by Turkey & Qatar, as well as Irans’s Shia terrorist armies & allies.”
Meanwhile, Israeli leaders have been staying quiet about the Khashoggi murder, as James North has repeatedly pointed out on our site. That’s because Israel and Saudi Arabia are now allied against Iran, evidently seeking an American-led war against the country, and all the attention to the rubout of a journalist is throwing a wrench in the works.
A former US ambassador to Israel who now lives in the country and serves as an Israel advocate explains the silence:
The Israelis are “in a very difficult position,” Dan Shapiro, the US ambassador to Israel under President Barack Obama, told BuzzFeed News. “They count very much on Saudi Arabia,” which is “central to their strategic concept of the region.” Saudi Arabia, after all, is their partner in arms in countering and isolating Iran and Israel’s “strategic anchor” in the region.
Max Blumenthal explains the importance of Saudi Arabia:
For the Beltway’s Israel lobbyists, it’s all hands on deck this week for Saudi Arabia and MBS [Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman]. Their war on Iran party has been unexpectedly disrupted and a natural ally is on the brink.
Israel and the Saudis have been quietly cooperating in the last couple of years as they face a mutual enemy/regional rival in Iran; and Jared Kushner’s much-anticipated peace plan surely involves an Outside-In approach, in which Saudi Arabia and its friends would seek to force Palestinians to accept Bantustans on the West Bank as supposed sovereignty, and put quibbles over Jerusalem and refugees behind them forever. It’s reminiscent of what American elites were able to overlook in the Egyptian dictatorship for decades, just because Egypt recognized Israel. Saudi Arabia surely wants the same treatment.
A lot of the press heralding Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman as a great reformer–the man now accused of ordering Khashoggi’s elimination– must be revisited now and seen as an effort by Israel’s friends to prepare Americans for the new alignment. For instance, the crown prince of Israel lobbyists, former peace processor Dennis Ross (who says American Jews “need to be advocates for Israel”), went to Saudi Arabia twice to watch bin Salman in action and wrote a piece in the Washington Post last February, calling the prince the “driving force for change” and a “revolutionary” the U.S. should support.
His efforts to transform Saudi society amount to a revolution from above…
if it was not for the turmoil and conflict that are consuming the region, the big story in the Middle East would be the transformation taking place in Saudi Arabia.
Ali Gharib noted: “This line from Dennis Ross should live in infamy, as a testament to his incredible wrong-headedness on so many subjects: ‘Ironically, the skeptics are primarily outside Saudi Arabia and not in it.'”