If the Saudis killed Khashoggi, blame Obama

Many now believe that someone in the Saudi royal circle had journalist Jamal Khashoggi killed.  The seemingly universal cry is the Saudi government must pay a price for eliminating one of its most outspoken critics – a critic who was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and tooled around with al-Qaeda jihadists.  As a foe of the Sunni Muslim sect of the Saudi Royal family, Khashoggi said of Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the crown prince, "He treats ISIS and the Brotherhood as the same thing – the only difference being that ISIS tried to create the caliphate immediately by violence while the Brotherhood (supported by Iran) wants to create the caliphate slowly, through democracy."  In other words, get rid of the royal family. 

There's nothing that will get you in trouble in Saudi Arabia faster than challenging the king – especially if you're doing it on behalf of Iran.

But you can't blame MBS for thinking it was okay to silence those seeking to subvert his country.  He had someone show him the way.  Someone above reproach.  None other than President Barack Obama.  He did it with drones.  And he killed innocent civilians along the way.

Since 2009, the United States, in the conduct of U.S. counter terrorism operations against al-Qa'ida and its associated forces outside of areas of active hostilities, has specifically targeted and killed one U.S. citizen, Anwar al-Aulaqi.  The United States is further aware of three other U.S. citizens who have been killed in such U.S. counter terrorism operations over that same time period: Samir Khan, 'Abd al-Rahman Anwar al-Aulaqi, and Jude Kenan Mohammed. These individuals were not specifically targeted by the United States.

Nor were they suspected of terrorism.  But wait: it gets better.  The Obama administration drafted a 2010 legal memo justifying the targeting of an American citizen for death by drone strike.  The author of the memo, David Barron, was later appointed a federal judge.  The result?

Al-Awlaki's 16-year-old son, a U.S. citizen born in Denver, Colo., died Oct. 14, 2011, in Yemen when, the Times wrote, "a missile apparently intended for an Egyptian Qaeda operative, Ibrahim al-Banna, hit a modest outdoor eating place in Shabwa. ... Banna was not there, and among about a dozen men killed was the young Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who had no connection to terrorism."

So Al-Awlaki was a vocal opponent of the United States.  Khashoggi was a vocal opponent of Saudi Arabia.  Both used words, not weapons.  Both were sanctioned for a hit.  The only difference is that Obama took out dozens, including innocent children, while the Saudis took out only the one who was going to sanction the United States? 

My advice to President Trump is to let this one go.  Blame Obama for giving the Saudis the idea that it is okay to covertly dispatch subversives.  Write a sternly worded letter of protest and keep the momentum for peace in the Middle East going forward.  Anything else would be a victory for Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Many now believe that someone in the Saudi royal circle had journalist Jamal Khashoggi killed.  The seemingly universal cry is the Saudi government must pay a price for eliminating one of its most outspoken critics – a critic who was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and tooled around with al-Qaeda jihadists.  As a foe of the Sunni Muslim sect of the Saudi Royal family, Khashoggi said of Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the crown prince, "He treats ISIS and the Brotherhood as the same thing – the only difference being that ISIS tried to create the caliphate immediately by violence while the Brotherhood (supported by Iran) wants to create the caliphate slowly, through democracy."  In other words, get rid of the royal family. 

There's nothing that will get you in trouble in Saudi Arabia faster than challenging the king – especially if you're doing it on behalf of Iran.

But you can't blame MBS for thinking it was okay to silence those seeking to subvert his country.  He had someone show him the way.  Someone above reproach.  None other than President Barack Obama.  He did it with drones.  And he killed innocent civilians along the way.

Since 2009, the United States, in the conduct of U.S. counter terrorism operations against al-Qa'ida and its associated forces outside of areas of active hostilities, has specifically targeted and killed one U.S. citizen, Anwar al-Aulaqi.  The United States is further aware of three other U.S. citizens who have been killed in such U.S. counter terrorism operations over that same time period: Samir Khan, 'Abd al-Rahman Anwar al-Aulaqi, and Jude Kenan Mohammed. These individuals were not specifically targeted by the United States.

Nor were they suspected of terrorism.  But wait: it gets better.  The Obama administration drafted a 2010 legal memo justifying the targeting of an American citizen for death by drone strike.  The author of the memo, David Barron, was later appointed a federal judge.  The result?

Al-Awlaki's 16-year-old son, a U.S. citizen born in Denver, Colo., died Oct. 14, 2011, in Yemen when, the Times wrote, "a missile apparently intended for an Egyptian Qaeda operative, Ibrahim al-Banna, hit a modest outdoor eating place in Shabwa. ... Banna was not there, and among about a dozen men killed was the young Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who had no connection to terrorism."

So Al-Awlaki was a vocal opponent of the United States.  Khashoggi was a vocal opponent of Saudi Arabia.  Both used words, not weapons.  Both were sanctioned for a hit.  The only difference is that Obama took out dozens, including innocent children, while the Saudis took out only the one who was going to sanction the United States? 

My advice to President Trump is to let this one go.  Blame Obama for giving the Saudis the idea that it is okay to covertly dispatch subversives.  Write a sternly worded letter of protest and keep the momentum for peace in the Middle East going forward.  Anything else would be a victory for Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.