On October 2, 2018 Jamal Khashoggi disappeared while visiting the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Khashoggi, a former Washington Post journalist was known to be vocal about his criticism of the Saudi government. When Khashoggi never exited the consulate building after his visit, he was immediately reported missing by his fiancée. Days later it was suggested that he had actually been murdered while inside the Saudi consulate. Currently, there is still no evidence of Khashoggi’s whereabouts.
Why it Matters:
The disappearance of Khashoggi is said to be a result of his direct criticism of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman.
Mohammed bin Salman has already been under fire for his crackdown on dissenters, which has included arresting peaceful protestors, activists and other community leaders. Bin Salman has responded to accusations of his involvement with Khashoggi’s disappearance as “false, and baseless.”
Iran and Saudi Arabia have an ongoing rivalry, and if the Saudi government is proven to be the cause of Khashoggi’s disappearance it will diminish Saudi Arabia’s moral standing and reputation in the region. This will undermine the criticisms Saudi Arabia has against Iran, including accusations that Iran is causing chaos in the Middle East.
Trump’s Administration will be under watch for its support of the allied Saudi government. Khashoggi was a resident in the state of Virginia and if Saudi Arabia is behind his disappearance, it could strain allied relations. Current deals between US and Saudi Arabia are reported to amount to $110 Billion USD.
Richard Branson and other notable business owners including LA Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi have suspended business talks and are distancing themselves from Saudi Arabia as a direct result of the Khashoggi case.
What We’re Watching For: The mysterious circumstances of Khashoggi’s disappearance has sparked widespread interest across media outlets. It has spurred the US to send a representative to search the Saudi consulate. Turkey remains involved in acquiring any evidence about the events that happened on October 2, 2018. Whether there was a murder committed by the Saudis or some other explanation is still yet to be seen and the mystery only deepens as more parties focus their attention and efforts to solving this strange case.