Here’s an astonishing failure by two otherwise excellent New York Times reporters: they wrote a long, valuable analysis about why the U.S. is “standing by” the murderous crown prince of Saudi Arabia — but they only mentioned Israel’s support for him twice.
In a front-page story in today’s paper, David D. Kirkpatrick and Ben Hubbard explain why the kingdom’s de facto leader, 33-year-old Mohammed bin Salman, is in no immediate danger of losing power despite (almost certainly) ordering the murder a month ago of the dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. They report that the U.S. government is continuing to support the crown prince, and that “Major figures in [American] finance signaled that they, too, intended to look past the killing.”
But the de facto Israel-Saudi Arabia alliance is only mentioned in passing. Surely reporters as good as Kirkpatrick and Hubbard could have found high-level sources within both Israel and the U.S. who could have detailed the obvious — that Israel wants Mohammed bin Salman to stay exactly where he is, no matter what brutal crimes he ordered. And in the Trump administration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has more influence in a U.S. government than he ever has had before.
Today, a full month after Jamal Khashoggi was apparently killed and dismembered in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Netanyahu finally commented publicly on the Khashoggi killing. After a meeting in Bulgaria, he said:
What happened in the Istanbul consulate was horrendous and it should be duly dealt with. Yet at the same time I say it, it is very important for the stability of the world, for the region and for the world, that Saudi Arabia remain stable.”
Meanwhile, Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, published a heartfelt plea in the Washington Post. After some moving personal memories, she challenged the rest of the world, especially the United States:
It is now up to the international community to bring the perpetrators to justice. Of all nations, the United States should be leading the way. The country was founded on the ideals of liberty and justice for all, the First Amendment enshrining the ideals personified by Jamal. But the Trump administration has taken a position that is devoid of moral foundation.
At least the U.S. criticized the killing of her fiancee, even if in the end Trump will not take action. Until today, official Israel said not a word.