“Once upon a time, there was a brutal and reckless dictator of an oil-rich Arab country who, despite his well-documented excesses, was stroked and supported by the United States and other Western governments,” wrote Jackson Diehl in an article published on Washington Post on Monday.
While Saddam Hussein’s crimes were terrible, there was probably no alternative for holding the line against Iran, so he “concluded that, as long as he kept supplying oil and opposing Iran, he was free to butcher his opponents and bully his neighbors.”
“The bet made on him by the United States and its allies directly led to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and from there to the “endless wars” in the Middle East that are now almost universally bemoaned by the West’s foreign policy establishment.”
“And yet, 30 years later, those mandarins and the politicians they report to are blindly repeating the mistake. They are saying they abhor the blatant crimes of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, including the murder of Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi and the torture and imprisonment of women seeking greater rights. They see his bombing campaign in Yemen as a war-crime-ridden disaster. Yet, at the summit of the Group of 20 in Osaka, Japan, a week ago, they cheerfully clustered around him. Not just President Trump but also prime ministers and presidents from the big European democracies. And not just them but also the leaders of India, South Korea and Japan, all of whom have received Mohammed bin Salman warmly in the past six months.”
The reason for this warm welcome, the writer adds, is because MBS is allied with US and Israel against Iran.
He then referred to the lonely five-month investigation of Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, into Khashoggi’s murder and dismemberment inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last October, which called for “a halt to the closed Saudi trial of 11 lower-level operatives blamed for the murder, and for an independent investigation by U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, or the FBI. The report also called for sanctions to be imposed on Mohammed bin Salman and his foreign assets “until and unless evidence is provided and corroborated that he carries no responsibility for this execution.”
“The official silence that has greeted the report has been deafening,” the writer adds.
During a visit to Washington last week, Callamard appeared undeterred. “Many governments have attempted to bury it and say, ‘Let’s move on,’ but that killing is not going to disappear,” she said during an appearance at the Brookings Institution. Trump notwithstanding, she is counting on justice to come from the United States. “I think this is the only place where political accountability is going to work,” she said during a meeting at The Post.
“…as long as Trump is president, Mohammed bin Salman is unlikely to face direct US sanction,” the writer says.
“Like Saddam Hussein before him, Mohammed bin Salman has concluded that he is immune. Women he ordered tortured are still in prison. His planes are still bombing Yemen. And he is taking the first steps toward acquiring nuclear weapons. Because Western governments do not stop him now, they will have to do it later — when the cost is likely to be far higher.”
- source : Mehrnews