Note: The author worked in the Middle East in the 1980’s working in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and Tunisia. He was acquainted with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and understands their politics and objectives; met with Adnan Khashoogi and his advisors on investing in projects in Egypt; and was close to the Anwar al-Sadat regime in Egypt and the Bourguiba regime in Tunisia. This blog contains 40 articles dealing directly with or discussing the Muslim Brotherhood. Search this blog to find these articles. This link will give you a quick review of the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt: https://wp.me/pY51c-fv
What is at Stake In the Jamal Khashoogi Homicide
The transformation of the Muslim Middle East from radicalization by the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, Hamas and their proxies to a more moderate form of Islam and an acceptance of the existence of Israel would be severely curtailed if the Khashoogi homicide drove a wedge between the US and Saudi Arabia. In the near term, Saudi Arabia would be forced into the arms of China and perhaps even Russia to secure arms it needs to defend its nation against external and internal threats. In the near term, the US coalition against the Iranian nuclear build-up would be fractured and our ability to pressure and isolate Iran would be in jeopardy. If Saudi Arabia is forced to align with Russia, who is an ally with Iran, that would be the worst possible outcome for the US in the Middle East. The Trump goal of having the Middle East police the Middle East would be severely damaged and Trump would be faced with direct US intervention and Syria, Yemen and other hot spots where we have no direct self-interests. In short, the dissolution of US/Saudi relations over the Khashoogi homicide is not in the best interests of the United States, period!
President Trump’s first overseas visit was to Saudi Arabia to meet with 50 leaders of Muslim Nations to solidify their support against Islamist Terrorism and to begin to de-radicalize Muslim nations, including Saudi Arabia, and to seek a true Middle East Peace. While there is a long way to go and the start-up was somewhat rocky, Trump’s efforts are working. The Saudi’s (with MBS leadership) have denounced its Wahabi radicalism and terror support, and most of the signatories to the agreement have taken steps to withdraw support to terrorist organizations such as Hamas and the Palestinian radicals.
President Trump has also succeeded in forming an alliance between many of the Muslim signatories and Israel against the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iran’s goal to spread international terror and dominate the Middle East through nuclear threats. These same nations are working with the US in formulating a permanent peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. Without support from these Muslim nations, the Palestinian authority cannot survive so the prospects for a peace agreement are closer to a reality than ever before. The dissolution of US/Saudi relations over the Khashoogi homicide is not in the best interests of the United States and could derail any Israeli/Palestinian peace agreement and weaken our fight to denuclearize Iran and remove its threat from the region.
The Resolution to Khashoogi’s Homicide is an Existential Fight Over Peace in the Middle East
Keep in mind 6 things when listening to the news regarding the death of Jamal Khashoogi and the media’s “hair-on-fire” coverage of this event.
- Saudi Arabia is aligned with the US, Israel, Egypt and others against Iran/Russia/Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East. This coalition is also working to formulate and install a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
- The Muslim Brotherhood is committed to converting all Muslim nations into Islamic Republics and to eliminate any attempts to moderate fundamentalist forms of Islam and opposes the existence of Israel and any Western influence in Muslim countries.
- Jamal Khashoogi has been a sympathizer of the radical Muslim Brotherhood that opposes any moderating or modernization of Islam and in fact, supported the ISIS effort to create the Islamic Caliphate. He has been touted as a “Journalist” but he is at least as much an “Activist for Terror organizations”. At best, Khashoogi saw the democratization of the Middle East through the lens of the Arab Spring with the Muslim Brotherhood coming out as the dominant “choice of the people”. Khashoogi was no fan of either the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia nor President Trump.
- The President of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, is a fundamentalist Islamist aligned with and supports the Muslim Brotherhood and is buying arms from Russia even though Turkey is a member of NATO! Turkey is also and advocate of the Obama Iran Nuclear deal and an opponent of the US policy to walk away from this agreement.
- The Muslim Brotherhood, Russia, Syria, and Turkey all support the Islamic radical, anti-west, Islamic Republic of Iran and its efforts to curtail any Islamic Reform whether Sunni or Shia initiated.
- The Progressive-Left Media is staunchly opposed to the Trump Administration abandoning of the Iran “Nuclear Deal” and want to see Iran have a free rein in the Middle East to combat moderate Sunni or Shia attempts to control the Middle East. The Left also support the Arab Spring movement to transform the Middle East into a Muslim Brotherhood brand if Islamic Republics like Iran.
Assume that Saudi Arabia ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoogi. The Trump administration is faced with the difficulty of maintaining a working relationship with the kingdom while appearing to condemn the actions and also impose some form of “punishment” on the kingdom. Not an easy task to say the least.
- If the Trump administration is too soft, then they will be condemned by the international community and the left. No matter what Trump does, the “international community” and the Left will condemn any Trump action.
- If the Trump Administration is too hard on Saudi Arabia and alienates the kingdom to the point where Saudi is driven to align with Russia and/or China, The US loses.
- All trade with the kingdom would be lost to US businesses and Russia and China would benefit.
- The Anti-Terror US/Muslim coalition would most likely dissolve.
- Iran would be emboldened as they would see that at worst that Iran no longer faces opposition from Saudi Arabia and its allies and at best Saudi Arabia and its allies become “friendly” with Iran.
- Any possibility for an Israeli/Palestinian peace would evaporate.
In short, all of the diplomatic successes of the Trump Administration to coalesce Muslim nations against Islamist terrorism could be erased; and the Middle East plunged into anther cycle of radicalism against the West.
To begin, there are probably no solutions that will be acceptable to the “international community/Left” and Trump will be condemned no matter what action he takes.
Assuming that the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the assassination, and there is any proof of the order, Trump could work with the King to name an alternate crown prince from the King’s other 13 children. Or, he could have the crown prince stand down pending further review by Saudi “courts”. They could work out other actions that do not endanger the US/Saudi relations. The bottom line is that Trump will not do anything to damage current US/Saudi relations and endanger Middle East peace, the stalemating of Iran, and keep Russia and China from furthering their power in the region.
Keep in mind that Iran, Turkey, Russia, China, our Progressive-Left and its media, and others are all aligned to:
- Reinstate the Iran Nuclear Deal
- Weaken the US/Saudi relationship
- Kill any possibility of Israeli/Palestinian peace accord
- Isolate Israel from its neighbors
- Embolden the Muslim Brotherhood
- Bolster Islamist Terrorist and give them a pass to re-engage in their terror activities unfettered
Then, ask yourself how many American and coalition soldiers have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan by Iranian IEDs!
How many civilians have been slaughtered in Syria by Assad, Russians and Iranians! Where was Obama’s action!
Where is the outrage when Iran executes gays for merely being gay!
Where is the outrage when al-Qaeda, Boko-Haram, and others literally slaughter innocents on a daily basis!
Where was the outrage by the Progressive-Left media, Obama and Clinton over the killing of our ambassador and three American contractors in Benghazi!
While the killing of a single person is reprehensible, the level of military, diplomatic and economic response must be tempered with US interests first, then the response must be consistent with other responses in similar situations.