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The Curious Case of Jamal Khashoggi (Part One) - Arindam Mukherjee

The Case of Jamal Khashoggi

I have been tad late with the Khashoggi affair. I was out on a holiday (which is a rarity of sorts), then got busy with Durgapuja leftovers, subsequently got snowed under work after the holidays… but most of all… it is the copious amount of gossip that’s been floating about the affair already that kept me wondering if adding even one more sentence on it would be worth the initiative.

But anyway, mainly because of Aditya, Amit, and Abdurrahman – here I am.  

This is quite a complex affair; more complex than the death of a Hindu in an accident. You see when a Hindu dies, he is cremated. In big cities, there is a perfect little economy that runs around the burning ghat. Lot of buying, selling, bargaining, and hustling – you have to have plenty trinkets that are necessary for the final ritual – is the order that dominates. And that is still cake-walk, because if this Hindu chap dies in an accident, then (god help us all) the Great Indian Police steps in to determine if it was accidental/deliberate. And they are known to take things to a level where the corpse too thinks it was perhaps not a great idea to die like that. This Khashoggi man similarly, had to die during a time where the playground has suddenly opened up and a lot of them are trying to erect a lot of camps everywhere. The floor, as a result, currently looks like Dalal Street on a week opening.

However, I will try my best to keep it simple.

If you remember, my sole observation on Khashoggi affair was – why are those that didn’t even blink when millions starved or were murdered in Yemen, have suddenly gone ballistic over this killing. And though that could be a good point to start, let us begin with something else (they run on agenda, there’s nothing new there).  

So? You have a Saudi national who used to stay in Uncle-land for some or other reason that got eliminated. In a Saudi consulate. In Turkey. And for that, western MSM – and that’s a HUGE number of people and posts – have suddenly gone bonkers. It is like OBL – a half Yemeni half Saudi bugger destroying an American building, later found hiding in Pakistan… and Uncle attacking Iraq and Afghanistan for that. Only Sukumar Ray – or those that have read him – would make sense of this Einstein-y affair.

Dead or Alive?

Mr K – was a political deep diver. This man had been into all kinda things; friend of OBL, ex friend of MBS, a big-time Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer, HUUUGE contacts in EU and Uncle land, friends with BIG institutions of the West that topple this and that government for breakfast, perhaps had some underground lobby hustling for him too, an employee of some big-shot media house (his most recent cover), and was splitting time between at least 4-5 projects within the Holy Land of the Peacefuls, designed to apparently disrobe the head tribe there. He was the guy that had rallied his resources heavily behind the MB led colour revolts in Middle East. When Egypt fell, it was the anxious Sauds that pumped in money to fade out MB influence in KSA, because they feared they were next in line. That was when this guy was given a shelter to hole up in Uncle land, probably to recuperate and reorganize. He got his job with WaPo; those were the times Uncle-spies were propping up Nayef as their figurehead. When that did not work out well, Mr K came into the scene, worked overtime to extend his influence into several interesting areas, like getting a website up that brought different international reports to KSA in a language that the average camel-lover understood, or a creating a group called Democracy for the Arab World Now, and so on. Idea was to setup a full-fledged anti-propaganda machinery – a sort of second innings after MB was stumped out by the Wahhabis.

He was a prized-catch; and to any rationally thinking opponent – worth more while alive. So his death – I’d think, is actually an accident; the age-old anti-climax of tribal instinct taking over 20th century liberals. Someone wanted to get him to desert-kingdom… he refused… they began their questioning. To expect people that stone women to death for living to interrogate using only their words is akin to expecting a monkey to reproduce Raphael’s Transfiguration of Jesus. Get the drift?

Pepe says that Uncle spymasters had handed him a lot of money and the task of turning the loyal allies of the Desert King – those that came to meet him. But Mr K failed, and they turned on him instead. We might get to hear more about that later. So anyway, before long, the disciples of the Desert Prince had a lot of blood and a dead corpse in their hands.

Bargaining Begins…

This happened on Oct 2-3. On Oct 3, Uncle Scrooge issues a statement saying you towelheads would piss in your pants but for our protection; so gimme more protection money. Two days passed, and then Desert Prince says, Oh really? We were there from before you yellow monkey; don’t fuck with us. Go ask for money somewhere else.

What could it mean? Did Uncle Scrooge know about the affair, hence was asking for money to keep shut? And did it also mean that Mr K spilled some beans about those 4-5 intervention channels that were being planned in the Desert Kingdom at the time he was being hacked? Fuel enough for MBS to say I am not gonna pay shit to Uncle? This we have a chance of knowing. Have to keep watching this closely.

The Wingers stepping in the Bargain-game

Then happens the sudden onslaught of a lot of players. Agencies, lobbies, media, nation-states, political leaders – you name it. In the near run, most are out to squeeze mileage out of this like that girl squeezed Suhel Seth’s balls to cool him down. And numero uno of course is Sultan.

Sutan has been damn impressive! He has been uncharacteristically well behaved (read silent); only passing information through very well coordinated sources… only to western MSM. Very unlike him. This info that he is passing, is in small bits, slowly… and a lot of us suspect that he is holding a lot back, to release when the time is right. Across the other end, he has released that pastor, Brunson in a gesture to warm up to Uncle. Scrooge is extremely happy. Turkey now has suddenly reached a point where Scrooge can have – he thinks – ‘very very good relationship’. Don’t expect that to melt the cold establishment hearts so soon; he bought those damn S 300 or 400 or whatever from the Russkies. But it is gonna fetch a lot of local leverage for sure; inserting neo-Ottomanism in the Middle East equation being the prime one. It is after all a duel that’s been running for a long time: KSA’s Wahhabi versus Sultan’s MB ishtyle dominance over the Middle East, and KSA is in a tight spot.

Among other things, he is rumoured to have asked for a huge sum from Desert Prince. I don’t know what the Prince has had to say, but I am guessing it is still an open game, and that Sultan is holding on to his aces. In anticipation.

Then there is the media. Funny how suddenly they have all lost their marbles on this one. I mean, even our Lake Market meat-shop owner Imtiyaz knows about Yemen. That, like Orwell’s 1984, is the lifetime-work of MBS. I am discounting all the other murdered journalists that Omer Ghazi has covered in his post. But the media drama is worth watching.

But as I said, they run on this or that agency’s agenda. And it is a known fact that those agencies’ preferred candidate was Nayef before MBS sat on the dinner table and started spitting on everyone. And here is where it gets interesting. The agency hasn’t been known to be a picky bunch, historically. They need one head chopper per country. Roughly. That does it just fine for them. So, you gotta ask yourself, what’s their problem with this particular specimen of head chopper? And… you would immediately see the light! This head-chopper is a friend of Uncle Scrooge and his family. A Scrooge friend, who has put the entire tribal village into trouble by holding them under tent-arrest, taking their shekels, camels and goats away etc etc. And since Uncle land is now torn down between Scrooge and the deep-state, they have the advantage of a hacked guy in hand to charge ahead with, to spread their home duel into another continent. Unleashing the media is only copybook guys. Even you all would do the same.

What choice does Uncle Scrooge have? Not much here. He has to play by their rules in this round. There has been an elimination of a crucial piece from the chessboard. More than Mr K – it was what he was spearheading/facilitating/mobilizing, that is important. This cannot go unanswered. But even amidst this chaos, the businessman in Scrooge has taken a wise decision of saying a ‘no’ to the institutional pressure to stop arms sales to KSA for that would mean severe weakening of Uncle’s economy. Vijay Prashad says “Twenty percent of US arms sales go to Saudi Arabia, whose appetite for US weapons has increased by 448% from 2008-12 to 2013-17. This monstrous relationship that deposits Saudi petrodollars into the US in exchange for weapons benefits the US financial markets and the arms manufacturers – two key components of US capital. They (KSA) were not buying arms as much as using the oil profits to underwrite the US financial and arms industries. This was a Saudi bribe, an insurance policy, to the US political class. It ensured that Saudi Arabia was a key ally of the US, and it bought the friendship of the US politicians who made sure to shut down any conversation about human-rights abuses inside Saudi Arabia…” – to halt this kind of an arrangement on the murder of one guy would be quite Kalidas in nature.

So whatever you all are hoping, don’t hope for Yemen war to get over.

Summing it up for MBS…

1.The agency might bring pressure on Daddy darling to remove him. Of course, daddy darling is a vegetable, so that might or might not work.

2.They can sponsor some destabilization. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that they would stop with the media. This can be in any shape.

3.Uncle doesn’t have an ambassador to the Desert Kingdom. Talks happen on private phone lines between MBS and Jared. That arrangement will surely be axed now.

4.Ghassan Khadi thinks that in the near run Uncle might get increasingly desperate to lay direct siege on oil producing nations; KSA wouldn’t be an exception.

5.Then of course there is Nayef. Strapped and ready.

The things in his favour are that sanctions don’t look like an option currently. Because he has released a detailed to-do list in case sanctions hit; its bleak. Uncle needs KSA to pump up their oil production when sanctions hit Iran. Easy thing to do is for MBS to say is go fuck yourself.

And there is Sultan. He is perfectly amenable to an arrangement where he can botch up the investigation with some bribe. EU3 – the Go Fuck gang (GFUK ) – are keen on this. We haven’t heard the last of it so far. Plus, Israel is on MBS’s side; can’t forget that as well.

Ripe with possibilities – as they say. However, one thing stands clear: MBS – if allowed to stay back – would have his wings removed completely. And if you allow your imagination to run, you can sit back and visualize a situation when MBS by some manipulation lands in the lap of Iran-Russia-China. Wouldn’t that be exciting?!

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