Oct 28, 2018, 2:00 PM
News Code: 83081450
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Journo’s murder to leave deep impact on Saudi polity: Indian pundit

New Delhi, Oct 28, IRNA - A leading Indian strategist believes the ruthless murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi will change the face of the kingdom's politics for good.

In a recent interview with Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Rajeev Sharma who is a senior Indian columnist , said that 'the brutal killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is yet another black mark on Riyadh and yet another demonstrator of how the Saudi regime deals with its dissidents even in situations when they are stationed abroad.'

'Khashoggi, a US resident, paid the price for his virulent criticism of the government of Saudi Arabia on October 2 when he was killed after a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain paperwork before marrying his Turkish fiancée,' Sharma said.
Pointing out that 'The Saudi government quickly blamed the murder on rogue agents, but the facts that have emerged since then have conveyed things to the contrary,' he said: 'The western media's accounts have squarely blamed Saudi Arabia for meticulously planning and executing the plot of murdering the Saudi journalist whose body remains were allegedly recovered from the garden of the official residence of Mohammed al-Otaibi, Saudi Consul General in Istanbul.'

On October 22, Khashoggi’s remains were found inside a well in the diplomat’s garden, alleged Dogu Perincek, leader of Turkey’s left-wing nationalist Patriotic Party.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman described these reports as “deeply disturbing” and said “The location of Mr. Khashoggi’s body is just one of the questions we need answers to and as such we await the full results of the Turkish investigation.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Khashoggi was the victim of a carefully planned 'political murder' by Saudi intelligence officers and other officials.

'An interesting part in this sordid drama is the stand taken by the United States president Donald Trump. While speaking to reporters at the White House on October 23, Trump said: 'They had a very bad original concept, it was carried out poorly and the cover-up was the worst in the history of cover-ups... Whoever thought of that idea, I think is in big trouble. And they should be in big trouble,' Sharma noted.

He went to say that 'Trump said he had questioned Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud about Khashoggi's death, and been told he did not know about the operation when it was being planned. Asked if he believed the royal family's denial, Mr Trump reportedly gave a long pause before saying: 'I really want to believe them.'

Turkish officials say they have audio and video evidence Khashoggi was murdered by a team of Saudi agents inside the Saudi consulate building in Istanbul as the Washington Post and pro-government Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak quoted Turkish sources who had heard the audio tapes asserting they showed Khashoggi had been tortured.

Yeni Safak said Saudi Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi could be heard on one tape warning the alleged Saudi agents: 'Do this outside. You're going to get me in trouble,' he added.

The leading Indian journalist further said: 'The western media has published chilling details of Khashoggi’s torture before his eventual murder by Saudi agents flown into Istanbul hours before his arrival in the Saudi consulate and said that he was killed within two hours of arriving and then dismembered.

All this points a finger at the Saudi Arabian government which has been thoroughly discredited in the eyes of the international community. Khashoggi’s murder has also triggered the inevitable fire-fighting from Riyadh as Saudi authorities announced arrest of 18 Saudi nationals and dismissal of two senior officials - deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, senior aide to Prince Mohammed.

'This leads to the question: What next?,' the Indian analyst asked, adding that Khashoggi’s murder will surely set off a political bloodbath within the Saudi polity and sharpen divide between the King and the Crown Prince.

'It has already lowered the image of Saudi Arabia before its friends and allies,' Sharma said.

'Clearly, the Saudi government has bitten much more than it could chew in this context. One will have to wait and watch how this highly combustible incident would impact on the House of Saud. But the moral of the story is clear. You shall reap as you sow,' he said.

'And if you sow wind, you will reap whirlwind!'

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