Turkish Taffy

It seems to me the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, last seen in Istanbul, is Erdogan-brand Turkish taffy, a confection of sugary lies made to inflame Americans against the Saudis and aid the far more dangerous to our well-being mullahs of Iran. 

I confess to prejudice in this matter. I think Iran is a grave threat to the world, and the Saudis are aiding us in constraining the mullahs. Like Matthew Continetti, I believe the Saudis are now an important counterterrorism ally and roiling the waters there would disrupt “energy markets, create pockets of instability in which jihadists and Iranian-backed militias thrive, and cause headaches for Israel.”

If we disrupt our present relationship, why wouldn’t the Saudis turn elsewhere -- China and Russia -- and any influence we have in the Middle East would be lost. 

In fact, if those in Congress who believe this nonsense get their way and cut arms sales to the Saudis, the beneficiaries will be arms producers in China and Russia  and, of course, Iran.

Emmett Tyrell, Jr. speaks for me in the American Spectator:

Today, the United States is faced with a potentially-nuclear-armed Iran that has spread itself far beyond its borders. Iran threatens America’s allies in Israel and the Sunni Arab states, as well as seeks undue control over the region’s vital oil and natural gas sources. What’s more, Iran’s ruling elite are intoxicated by a noxious mix of anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism, and radical Shiite orthodoxy. [snip] Thanks to the Trump Mideast policy, Israel and the Sunni Arab states are now moving closer together as they are increasingly threatened by Iran. Last year, President Trump presided over one of the largest arms sales to Saudi Arabia in history. And, the United States is buttressing Saudi Arabia’s efforts to roll back Iran’s influence in Yemen. All of these are good things that will contribute to the securing of U.S. interests in the region.

Do We Lose Little or Lose Big?

Naturally, just as things seem to be going well for the United States in the Mideast, the reality of Mideast politics hits American policymakers hard. Recently, a Washington Post contributor, Jamal Khashoggi, is believed to have been gruesomely murdered after he entered the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey. Now, American leaders are calling for an embargo of arms sales and foreign aid to Saudi Arabia until their behavior changes. I understand the desire to seek justice on Khashoggi’s behalf. But, punishing Saudi Arabia in this case will do nothing more than harm America’s already-tenuous ability to roll back the Iranians. Trying to socially reengineer Saudi foreign policy will be as idiotic as trying to turn Iraq into Idaho -- especially at a time when Washington needs Riyadh.

Unfortunately, we are not dealing with nice people in the Middle East. Washington policymakers need to stop thinking such leaders exist there. Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab states are essential in the American mission to isolate Iran. Either the United States is serious about rolling back Iran or it’s not. And, if Washington no longer believes returning Iran back to its containment is the best course, then overriding the terrible Iran deal was a catastrophic mistake on the part of the Trump Administration.

So why the fuss -- stirred by the Washington Post, for whom Khashoggi was the Saudi correspondent, and peddled by Iran’s supporters and Trump’s opponents, who falsely assert that he was a liberal, progressive voice for democracy?

He was anything but, as Daniel Greenfield and others remind us.  

In the 1970s he joined the Muslim Brotherhood, which exists to rid the Islamic world of western influence. He was a political Islamist until the end, recently praising the Muslim Brotherhood in the Washington Post. He championed the ‘moderate’ Islamist opposition in Syria, whose crimes against humanity are a matter of record. Khashoggi frequently sugarcoated his Islamist beliefs with constant references to freedom and democracy. But he never hid that he was in favour of a Muslim Brotherhood arc throughout the Middle East. His recurring plea to bin Salman in his columns was to embrace not western-style democracy, but the rise of political Islam which the Arab Spring had inadvertently given rise to. For Khashoggi, secularism was the enemy.

The Washington Post was happy to provide a forum for a member of a terror network that is responsible for murdering countless Christians and Jews.

But it’s not just my prejudice that informs my view that this -- like Turkey’s case against the just released American hostage Pastor Andrew Brunson -- is an Erdogan confection of adulterated ingredients. The purported eyewitnesses seem to be liars who, like Khashoggi himself, have ties to the anti-U.S. Moslem Brotherhood and Iran, according to Daniel Greenfield. 

Hatice Cengiz, his purported fiancé who, we are told, waited for hours outside the Saudi consulate in vain for his exit, is connected to Qatar (an Iranian ally) which, like the Washington Post, has been promoting the story and has openly been critical of the Saudis, “While she claims to be Khashoggi’s fiancée, his family has denied ever hearing or knowing about her.” Also critical to this story are the purported eyewitness (Turan Kislakci) and the reporter (Jamal Eishayyal). Kislakci, who has led the protests against the Saudis, claimed that 15 Saudi operatives killed Khashoggi, which was debunked later by Turkish officials, who said that the 15-man team were investigators who entered with their agreement. Eishayyal, an Al Jazeera correspondent, is the brother of “the director of a Qatari-funded news website al-Araby al-Jadeed, which is supervised by the Muslim Brotherhood in Doha and in London and is run by Palestinian politicians, Asmi Bisharai, the adviser to the emir of Qatar. Their father is a leading Brotherhood figure who works for the Emir.”

Meanwhile the Washington Post, which has yet to explain why it hired a Moslem Brotherhood propagandist, is still being fed anti-Saudi and anti-Trump nonsense by Khashoggi buddy Khaled Saffuri, “an aide to US Al-Qaeda fundraiser Abdurahman Alamoudi (currently in federal prison) and friend of convicted/deported Palestinian Jihad leader Sami al-Arian.”

Indeed, Khashoggi tooled around Afghanistan with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda founder Abdullah Azzam.

The Turkish police reports keep shifting as the story falls apart. On Twitter, Turkish academic and columnist Emre Uslu contends that in the 650 meters distance between the hotel (where the claimed assassins stayed) and the consulate there are seven security cameras, but for some reason, the police haven't shown any of that camera footage to prove that they actually went to the consulate.

Perhaps Turkey is dialing down the story because, as journalist-in-exile Abdullah Bozkurt reminds us, the Saudis have plenty of dirt on the corrupt Erdogan, like the $100 million they wired to the Erdogan family foundation.

Not only are the sources of the Khashoggi tale suspect, but also the information they peddle is bizarre. First accounts were that the Turkish government had video and audio proof that Khashoggi was killed and dismembered in the consulate but wouldn’t release them because that would reveal where the cameras and recorders were hidden. Think: Surely if that were the case the Saudis would know from the claim itself where the cameras and recorders had been placed.  Later accounts say Khashoggi recorded the proof on his Apple wristwatch synced to a phone outside the building. Whatever “proofs” of this bizarre tale the Turks and Iranian stooges are promoting, we haven’t seen it. 

On the other hand, we are seeing lots of evidence of a press, in particular the Washington Post, that is terminally credulous and uninterested in the background and motives of its sources at best, or at worst willing promoters of the mullahs and the Obama crowd that loved them.