Leaks, rumours, allegations, half-truths, lies. The incessant torrent continues to flood the western media since the day Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul last month. These reports suffer from a lack of credibility. All of them remain fervent attempts to denigrate Saudi Arabia in the eyes of the world. Even reports that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had held the Saudi Crown Prince responsible turned out to be false. The US government had to scramble to issue a denial saying that it had not reached a conclusion.
The reports on Saturday also accused Saudi Ambassador to the US, Prince Khalid Bin Salman, of assuring Khashoggi that it was safe to visit the consulate in Turkey to collect his documents. Prince Khalid too denied having spoken to Khashoggi, adding that his last contact was a text message in October 2017. All these fit a pattern to pin the blame on the Saudi government, which is outrageous in the absence of any evidence.
Saudi Arabia is fully aware of its responsibility to investigate the murder and bring the perpetrators to justice. King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman were not only swift to condemn the crime but also took actions to bring the offenders to justice. Already 21 people have been arrested, and 11 of them have been indicted. Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said that Public Prosecutor is still seeking answers to many questions regarding the killing. Moreover, Riyadh has vowed to pursue the death penalty for five suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the heinous crime.
The Saudi investigation has been transparent, and there are frequent updates on the findings. Al Jubeir, who condemned the media hysteria about ‘Saudi guilt’, most notably in the Qatari and Turkish media, even before the probe is complete, said the investigations would take time, and everyone has to be patient. But the media’s urgency only points to sinister motives.
The United States and several European nations have welcomed the Saudi actions. But that has not stopped the global outcry spawned by a steady stream of unsubstantiated leaks and rumours. It just goes on to show that there are interested parties who are not keen on the investigation and are merely using the murder of a Saudi citizen to paint Saudi Arabia in poor light. That is certainly unwarranted. Attempts to defame Saudi Arabia is fraught with danger as that could destabilise the region. It is a frightening thought at a time when wars have bedevilled Yemen and Syria, not to mention the chaos in Iraq and Libya.
Attacks on Saudi Arabia have to stop. It serves no purpose. And that’s no way to bring justice for Khashoggi.