Ignoring Khashoggi’s murder
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has gotten away with murder, said Jonah Shepp. A year after Saudi dissident and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi was savagely killed and dismembered, bin Salman—also known as MBS—“has gotten everything he wanted out of Khashoggi’s murder and then some.” The killing sent a chilling message to other Saudi dissidents that they’d be hunted down even if they left the country. President Trump effectively whitewashed MBS of the crime, defying the findings of U.S. intelligence and U.N. investigators that MBS likely gave the order for Khashoggi’s elimination. The Saudis, Trump explained, buy a lot of American weapons, and they “pay cash.” (They also spend a lot of money at his hotels and buy his condos.) MBS, meanwhile, has accepted “responsibility” for Khashoggi’s killing—while insisting he had nothing to do with it. After a one-year pause, major U.S. corporations and CEOs are returning to Riyadh for the Saudis’ annual Future Investment Initiative conference, also known as “Davos in the Desert.” Like Trump, these corporate giants see “dollar signs swimming” before their eyes when they look at Saudi Arabia—not a repressive medieval kingdom where criticism of royals can be fatal.