“Although some countries, such as Germany, have taken some punitive measures against Saudi Arabia, the major Western powers and other Western countries, especially the United States, have not put pressure on Riyadh,” said Dr. Seyed Razi Emadi.
He emphasized that the pressure has been exerted by the media and public opinion on the Saudi government, especially on Bin Salman. “In a report released by the United Nations, it was explicitly mentioned that there was information that Bin Salman was involved in the criminal act. And in the US Congress some delegates declared him guilty. These reactions have put the Saudi government and its crown prince under severe pressure.
Bin Salman is seeking to get out of this pressure by claiming responsibility for Khashoggi’s murder, the analyst said. He traveled to Arab countries last year but failed to achieve his goals and had no successful trip. Attending the Group of 20 summit in Argentina he tried to break free from the pressure, but the pictures showed just how isolated he was. At the same time, the behavior of Bin Salman has changed in the last year and he is rarely seen in the media, confirming that he has been contained in the power structure of Saudi Arabia. Taken together, these show that Mr. Mohamed bin Salman paid a heavy price for the assassination of Gamal Khashoggi, and by accepting the responsibility he has tried to convey some messages.
Explaining about the messages the Saudi crown prince wanted to convey, Emadi noted: First, he wants to say that the pressures he had suffered and the expenses he had made were not real and that he was somehow victimized and had no role in killing the journalist. Of course, this approach was not successful due to the positions Bin Salman had taken in the past and the reactions we had seen until accepting responsibility because he did not admit that he was not involved in the killing.
Noting that Bin Salman is trying to exonerate himself in the murder case of Khashoggi, the analyst said: “He acknowledges that the Saudi forces have done the killing, but it was not ordered by Saudi authorities, including Crown Prince Bin Salman.” He says in a country that has a population of several million people, you cannot keep an eye on everyone and prevent actions from being taken! We are also one of those countries where we cannot stop all people. This justification is also unacceptable. Because there is evidence that the people who went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul were Saudi security and intelligence agents not normal people to go and kill Khashoggi and chop him into pieces! So the murder was first planned and then directed.
The university professor said Salman is trying to say he is a responsible person; although the killing was not done upon his order but it happened during his administration and so he accepts responsibility for the crime. These measures do not work in the current situation. Because public opinion and officials in Western countries and even Mr. Trump have accepted that the killing was done at the behest of Bin Salman. But Salman’s assumption of responsibility on the eve of the first anniversary of Khashoggi’s assassination does not change the position of the crown prince and the conditions he has endured through this crime.
On Western countries reactions and their ignorance of Saudi’s anti-human rights action, Emadi said: “Within the West, there has been a rift over Saudi Arabia, which sees Riyadh no longer an ally, and the view they have of Saudi Arabia is more instrumental and material. That is to say it does not mean that Saudi Arabia can serve the West’s interests in the region, because the cost that Western powers have to pay to secure Saudi Arabia is far greater than the profits and benefits they make.
Emadi pointed out that there are several major reasons for the West’s silence on this issue: They want to use Saudi oil resources. Increasing oil prices are affecting their economies and they want to persuade Saudi Arabia to continue oil output and export. The other point is that these countries are looking to use Saudi oil revenues because much of it is spent on the purchase of military equipment and weapons, and none of them wants to back down. As we just saw, Germany banned the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia and extended it for another six months. Other countries sell weapons to Saudi Arabia as before because they do not have a good economic situation in the current circumstances.
“For over 50 weeks in France, there have been demonstrations by yellow vests and one of the reasons is economic problems,” said the analyst. In the UK we see similar problems. In the US, Mr. Trump has explicitly said that he would lose if did not sell arms to Saudi Arabia, and Russia and China will sell arms to Riyadh. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is our ally and we get petrodollars through Saudis. That is how the Saudis are treated.
Emadi also emphasized: The West has adopted this policy so that no other power in the West Asian region will prevail over the other. However, Saudi Arabia must remain as it is today, although there is much criticism of Saudi Arabia and there is discontent and a gap in support for Saudi Arabia is seen among Western countries, but they cannot abandon the Saudis because of this action. It they do (abandon) the position of other regional powers, especially the Islamic Republic of Iran, will significantly rise against others in West Asia. It is not a matter that would serve their interests. They want the balance of power in the West Asian region to be maintained in some way and none of the powers would be superior to the other.
Referring to Bin Salman’s social reform measures in Saudi Arabia, he acknowledged being responsible for the killing of a dissident journalist, he said: “Bin Salman is pretending to be a person who does not think like the previous Saudi rulers. In the domestic sphere, for example, in recent days they have announced that foreign women entering Saudi Arabia are free not to wear the veil. In fact, this is how he wants to improve tourism. Or that some Saudi women in Riyadh have no past restrictions on the veil and can remove the cover. In addition, it has created freedoms for women in various fields. He is trying to give a picture of a new leader that emerges through social factors and through social reform.
Emadi added: Besides, along with these reforms, Salman shows that he is a responsible person. If something occurs in his government without his knowledge he will be responsible because it has happened in his government. These are interconnected. But I believe he has not succeeded. Because, along with the social reform measures that follow, the level of political violence in Saudi Arabia has increased much more than the previous rulers, and that includes not just social and legal activists, but also princes. That is, the level of opposition to Bin Salman within the Al Saud dynasty is also increasing, displaying a paradoxical and controversial character of Bin Salman. That is why his acceptance of responsibility would not be effective in reducing the weight of Khashoggi case on the Saudi crown prince.