Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Khashoggi, part two
I suppose this is conjecture, but it really feels right: Erdogan went public with lurid details of Jamal Khashoggi's murder because the Saudis didn't respond to his first blackmail attempt. MbS couldn't imagine that anybody — especially the President of the United States of America — would be all that upset by the loss of a troublesome journalist. After all, nobody paid much attention to the Kingdom's numerous other egregious abuses; how much difference could one more dead body make?
MbS was right about Tr*mp, of course, but others were less sanguine, and/or more opportunistic. Under pressure, all MbS could do was "blame the help;" but given that the Turks almost certainly do have audiotapes, and possibly video as well, we can expect the negotiation of some very inexpensive "loans" to Turkey by the Kingdom in the near future.
Nobody actually believes the latest Saudi narrative, and even some Republicans will resist looking like complete idiots by pretending to swallow it — but it's the best anyone can do right now. Will the whole thing blow over before Congress can curtail US participation in war crimes in Yemen? As the Magic 8-Ball might say, "Ask again later."