By Javad Heirannia

Khashoggi was murdered, dismembered and taken out of Turkey: Askari

October 14, 2018

TEHRAN – Professor Hossein Askari, an expert on Saudi Arabia who also teaches international business at the George Washington University, believes that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered, dismembered and taken out of Turkey.

“Mohammad bin Salman has promised Kushner his financial support for the Trump-Kushner business empire now and especially in the future. In return MBS wants U.S. support for his domestic policies and for all his foreign adventures and conflicts—Yemen War, operations in Syria, preoccupation and hatred for Iran, blockade of Qatar, hatred for the Muslim Brotherhood and now assassination in a foreign country,” Hossein Askari, who served as special advisor to Saudi finance minister, tells the Tehran Times
Following is the text of the interview:

Q: Do you now believe that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered, dismembered and taken out of Turkey?

A: Yes, absolutely.

Q: Why do you think Mohammad bin Salman took such an outrageous approach to counter a critique?

A: MBS is a young man with little experience. He is on a high. He thinks he can do anything he wants. Sky is the limit. Overnight, he has risen from nowhere to rule Saudi Arabia. And he appears to have the unquestioned backing of the United States. The Trump administration, with Jared Kushner as the point man, has embraced MBS. As I have said for over a year, I believe that MBS has promised Kushner his financial support for the Trump-Kushner business empire now and especially in the future. In return MBS wants U.S. support for his domestic policies and for all his foreign adventures and conflicts—Yemen War, operations in Syria, preoccupation and hatred for Iran, blockade of Qatar, hatred for the Muslim Brotherhood and now assassination in a foreign country. I think he ordered this assassination because he thought Trump would talk but do nothing. After all, Trump hates reporters! And Kushner is behind him. In the end, he did so because he could. I think all of this was cooking in his head.” 

Q: Why hasn’t the Trump Administration acknowledged this and taken some appropriate action?

A: Business interests. Trump and Kushner are first and foremost concerned about the health of their own business empires. Saudi Arabia could be their guardian angel. America’s standing in the world is their major concern.

Q: What could Trump do?

A: I will give you a long list but let me say up front that I don’t think Trump will do much of anything. He could terminate U.S. support for his war in Yemen, Oppose the blockade on Qatar. Pull all U.S. military advisors out of Saudi Arabia and put sharing of military intelligence on hold. Freeze all military sales to Saudi Arabia. Recall the U.S. ambassador from Saudi Arabia and expel a number of Saudi diplomats from the U.S. Impose economic sanctions. Make it clear to MBS that the U.S. will not support him if he starts a conflict with Iran. There is lots that he could do but he won’t unless MBS is overthrown internally. The overthrow of MBS is now much more likely. There was already resentment towards what he had done to senior members of the family, taking them hostage and demanding money but now there may be real danger for the survival of Saudi family rule. So things could turn from bad to worse for MBS.

Q: What will this signal to the rest of the world? Can any country now send assassins around the world to kill?  

A: Let me first say that if the U.S. knew about the planned murder of Khassoghi and as we have seen did nothing, then the U.S. is complicit to a murder.  The whole affair is shocking. To think that Saudi Arabia or any government could do this is absolutely unthinkable. You are judged by the friends you keep. If the U.S. is unwilling to take any meaningful action against MBS and Saudi Arabia, signaling that as a close friend and ally Saudi Arabia can do no wrong, then U.S. pretensions to democratic values and the rule of law will be damaged for years to come. The UK and Europe took swift action against Russia’s assassination attempts on their soil and they received belated support from the U.S. What will the U.S. say to the world if it does nothing? Our favorite dictators can do anything and we will look the other way. Just think the message that this sends to the rest of the world and what this will do for democratic values around the world? Moreover, any terrorist organization can now do the same with impunity. If America’s allies can send killers around the world to assassinate those that oppose them, why shouldn’t they? The U.S. will also become more vulnerable. We will open an arena of conflict that we will regret.

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