The Khashoggi Passion Play
The Biden administration inflicts major damage.
The Biden administration’s decision to publish the intelligence report on Jamal Khashoggi’s death in late 2018 was as predictable as it was destructive to U.S. national security and to the security and stability of the Middle East.
It was predictable for two reasons. First, this is Obama’s third term. And in Obama’s first term he played a central role in overthrowing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the anchor of the U.S.’s alliance system in the Sunni Arab world in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood, the ideological anchor of every Sunni terror group in the world.
Obama’s consistent policy for eight years was to side with the jihadists. Obama’s anti-colonialist worldview bred his anti-Western sensibilities. He and his neo-Marxist advisors viewed the jihadists as the “authentic” voice of the Islamic world. They were favored because they were “revolutionary” and anti-Western. In every conflict that pitted either conservative Sunni leaders, Iranian anti-regime forces, or Israel against jihadists from Hamas to Hezbollah, to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Houthis, to Iran, Obama and his people supported the jihadists. For this reason, Obama admired both Turkish dictator Erdogan and the Qatari ruling family. Like him, they supported jihadists.
Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed Bin Salman (MBS) and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ) from the UAE were big problems for Obama, Robert Malley and their ilk. They appeared out of nowhere.
Young and vigorous, they seek to liberalize their conservative societies. They are deeply opposed to Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. They are open to peace and cooperation with Israel. They support Israel in its campaigns against Hamas and Hezbollah. And they are certainly “authentic” Arab Muslims. When the UAE declared the Muslim Brotherhood, and Obama’s key supporters and ideological allies at CAIR terrorist organizations, Obama and his comrades were so angry they could barely put together a coherent sentence.
This brings us to Khashoggi. As Lee Smith reported after he was found dead in the Saudi consulate in Turkey, there were a lot of things about Khashoggi that made him a strange hero for Americans of any stripes. He was a Qatari agent of influence. He was a former Saudi intelligence officer who sided with the Wahabist jihadists in the royal family who supported al Qaeda. He was friends with Osama bin Laden and mourned his death. The al Qaeda, ISIS, Iran and Hamas supporting Qatari regime was essentially writing his columns in the Washington Post.
On its face, Khashoggi’s receipt of a green card made no sense given his open support for al Qaeda. On its face, his gig as a columnist at Jeff Bezos’s paper made no sense given his relationship with Saudi intelligence and with the Qatari ruling family. But they made perfect sense in the context of the efforts made by Obama’s deep state friends, particularly former CIA director John Brennan, who opposed MBS from the outset to empower the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian regime.
When seen in this light, it is clear that Khashoggi, a terror supporting Qatari agent who opposed the modernizing, pro-American, anti-jihadist and pro-Israel Saudi Crown Prince was an important political warfare asset for Obama’s clique. His job was to discredit MBS and legitimize the terror-supporting Qataris while making pro-jihadist progressives feel good about themselves.
I’m not saying his murder was justified. I am saying he doesn’t deserve the tears of anyone who opposes jihadist terror and jihadist regimes, cares about human rights or wants to avoid a major war in the Middle East.
Whatever Khashoggi’s ties with Obama’s clique during his lifetime may have been, the way they responded to his murder made clear what they hoped to do with his death. They wanted the old, bad Saudi Arabia back. They wanted the Muslim Brotherhood funding, al Qaeda-spawning Wahabists of Riyadh back. They wanted the Prince Bandars and Prince Turkis of the days of yore, not the guy that gave women drivers licenses.
They immediately set out lionizing Khashoggi as some sort of Nelson Mandela so that they could turn MBS into Hitler or whatever. As Smith reported in another article, Robert Malley, who is now in charge of Biden’s Iran policy, was the first pushing the line that in response to Khashoggi’s death, the U.S. should end its support/alliance with Saudi Arabia in retribution and side with the Iran-controlled Houthis against Saudi Arabia.
It was a testament to Donald Trump’s common sense and his political courage that he refused to bow to their pressure. And it was equally obvious back in 2018 that if a Democrat beat Trump in 2020, the next Democrat administration would resuscitate the Khashoggi affair to try to push MBS from power.
The worst thing that happened to the Obama nee Biden crowd were the Abraham Accords. This is why the first thing that Biden and his handlers did was bow out of the U.S. side of the deal by freezing the arms sales to the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The Abraham Accords put paid their false claims that the jihadists are the authentic voice of the Arab world. The popularity of the deals among the citizens of the Gulf and much of the wider Arab world – like Morocco and Sudan — made clear that Obama (Biden) and their ilk were basing U.S. Middle East policy on the propaganda being taught in Middle East Studies departments throughout the U.S. rather than on anything even vaguely resembling the reality of the region and the views of people who actually live here.
I don’t know if MBS will survive this blow or not. There is reason to fear that at the end of the day, the leaders of the UAE and of Saudi Arabia will decide they are better off making an arrangement with Iran supported by the U.S. than standing up for their sovereignty and their interests with Israel. And if they do, it will be a disaster of epic proportions. The danger of war will rise exponentially. Jihadists of the Sunni and Shiite varieties will be empowered as never before. And Israel will be in a pretty horrible position.
But in the midst of all of this, leave it to the fake human rights activists and real terror supporters and jihad sympathizers like Malley and his comrades in Obama’s new administration to pat themselves on the back for ushering in an “authentic” era in the Middle East.
- A couple of additional thoughts on the administration’s sudden efforts to overthrow MBS.
First, by branding MBS a murderer, the administration is making it politically unfeasible for Israel to make peace with Saudi Arabia. This brings me back to my earlier point about the administration’s efforts to undermine and hopefully destroy the Abraham Accords. Hours before the administration opened this shocking offensive against MBS, I24 news reported that Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain were establishing a NATO-like military alliance. I wouldn’t be surprised if the two stories were related. Now that the administration has criminalized MBS, with the avid support of its fully mobilized media attack dogs and a stable of fake human rights groups, it can use any move towards formalizing Israel-Saudi ties as “proof” that Israel is immoral.
MBS will become a new version of Bashir Gemayel, the Lebanese leader Christian leader who signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1982 only to be assasinated. Any move MBS makes towards Israel will be attacked by the progressive left and their Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian regime regime fellow travelers in Washington.
So the move against MBS is a move to block further progress towards ending the Arab conflict with Israel.
The second aspect of the U.S. move that is worth noting is that its impact so far has been the opposite of what Biden and his handlers no doubt expected. Rather than express contrition or accept guilt of any sort, the Saudis have rejected the U.S. findings and said that they will not allow the U.S. to overthrow the Crown Prince. The UAE and Bahrain have issued similar responses. Trump spent an enormous amount of time and effort working to rebuild U.S. credibility with its Middle East allies after eight years of Obama’s betrayal. The Saudis and Egyptians did trust Trump, but scarred from eight years with Obama, they were unwilling to place all of their eggs in the U.S. basket. As a consequence, Russia and China expanded their arms sales to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE during Trump’s tenure.
The Biden administration seems not to have considered that freezing U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE doesn’t freeze arms sales, it just freezes the U.S. out of the regional arms market. So the first victim of Biden’s policies will be U.S. arms manufacturers. And the damage they incur will likely be longstanding. No matter how hard the next Republican administration works, it will be much more hard pressed than Trump was to rebuild America’s credibility in the Middle East.
Israelis are not responding to Biden’s pro-Iran policies with hysteria. They are simply rejecting his policies.
This doesn’t mean that Biden and Malley et.al., can’t do major damage. They can and they are. It does mean that they are much less powerful than they think they are.