Khashoggi saga: It may unleash a power play with far-reaching ramifications

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has clearly decided to use the affair to make a push to project his country as the main Sunni player in the Muslim world while discrediting the Saudi prince.
In this February 1, 2015, file photo, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain(AP)
In this February 1, 2015, file photo, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain(AP)
Updated on Oct 24, 2018 07:59 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By

The killing of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, within the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul has unleashed a high-stakes showdown between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, both key allies of the US, and triggered a diplomatic crisis at a time when West Asia can well do without such tensions. Khashoggi had long-standing ties with key members of Saudi royalty before he turned into a vocal critic of crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Ever since he went missing on October 2, Turkish officials have been behind a string of leaks that appeared aimed at pinning the blame on the powerful Saudi prince.

The Saudi stand on the affair — going from a claim that Khashoggi had left the consulate to a claim that he died in a fight with Saudi officials and an eventual admission that he was murdered by individuals who had exceeded their authority — certainly hasn’t helped the kingdom, especially at a time when the crown prince is facing growing criticism for a reputation of recklessness and amassing too much power by sidelining his rivals and detractors.

In his death, Khashoggi has become a figure cited by many to back calls for the Saudi crown prince to be reined in before he does more damage in the region through actions such as the devastating military campaign in Yemen. And while the prince once had the backing of US President, Donald Trump, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, Mr Trump has now described the killing of Khashoggi as the “worst cover-up ever” and indirectly acknowledged the prince’s central role in the matter as he is “running things” in Saudi Arabia. Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has clearly decided to use the affair to make a push to project his country as the main Sunni player in the Muslim world while discrediting the Saudi prince. Many are hoping Khashoggi’s death will lead to much-needed reforms in human rights and associated matters in Saudi Arabia but it may only have unleashed a power play with far-reaching ramifications.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022