Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post and resident of the United States, was killed in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on Oct. 2. Saudi officials have admitted that the journalist died in their consulate, although the details of their narrative keep changing. Surveillance footage showing a body double of Khashoggi leaving the consulate suggest that the death was a premeditated murder, with cover story details carefully planned. Despite this, President Donald Trump seems unfazed, even offering a “positive” appraisal of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ability to squelch dissent.
“All credible evidence leads to the inescapable conclusion that Saudi agents purposely killed Khashoggi,” said Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark, who is also running for mayor of Phoenix. “The question is whether that will cause the dinosaur parties that control Washington to make changes in our decades-long alliance with the Saudi monarchy. Both of the old parties have kissed up to a terrible regime and only Libertarians want to put a stop to it and defend American values.”
It’s not looking good. When asked about Prince Salman’s involvement in an interview with the Washington Post, Trump said, “Nobody has told me he’s responsible. Nobody has told me he’s not responsible. We haven’t reached that point … I would love if he wasn’t responsible.” Trump also indicated that he wouldn’t consider canceling a recent $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia. “It’s the largest order in history,” Trump said. “To give that up would hurt us far more than it hurts them.”
It’s important to remember that the Saudi-led war in Yemen has killed more than 16,000 civilians in the past few years, including bombing raids on refugee camps. Selling more weapons to Saudi Arabia ensures the slaughter of far more innocent lives.
“The Saudis use those weapons, purchased from U.S. defense contractors, to kill women and children in Yemen,” Sarwark said. “The war in Yemen is effectively a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. And the battle between Iran and Saudi Arabia for middle east hegemony is really about the tribal warfare between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, which has been going on for millennia. We don’t have a dog in that fight.”
After former President Richard Nixon cut the last remaining tie of the U.S. dollar to gold in 1971, he had Secretary of State Henry Kissinger negotiate a deal with the Saudi royals for its nation to price its oil in dollars, in exchange for U.S. defense of the Saudi throne. Ever since then, both Democrats and Republicans have remained united in ensuring that this Faustian bargain is not disturbed. Its long-term results: Continuing U.S. involvement in Middle East tribal warfare and inflation at home.
Prince Salman has conducted a charm offensive in recent months, touting increased liberalization under the monarchy’s rule, such as recently allowing women to drive cars. Women, however, are still stoned to death for adultery under the extreme Wasabi religious beliefs that are the law of the land for believers and nonbelievers alike, and perceived enemies of the monarchy are imprisoned.
Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen, was initially a supporter of the reform plans but became disillusioned. His last posthumously published column was titled “What the Arab World Needs Most is Free Expression.” His decision to write about reform and criticize the Saudi regime led to his death at the hands of Saudi agents.
A couple of libertarian-leaning Republicans in Congress have taken steps to help end this cozy relationship with such a murderous regime. Rep. Justin Amash recently introduced a bill to stop supplying and assisting with Saudi attacks on Yemen. Sen. Rand Paul wrote an op-ed titled “It’s time to rethink America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia — It is not our friend.”
Although it’s good to see small gestures like these among old-party politicians, it’s not enough. There are approximately 800 Libertarians running for local, state, and federal office this year. All Libertarians are united in favor of the need for free expression, unstifled by the politicians who try to silence anyone who challenges their hold on power.