Occupational Hazards

So there's kind of a big story going around about the Saudi government killing a "journalist," which would be a big human rights no-no, especially since they allegedly brought in a cleaner to dismember the body and ship the parts out of the country. That sort of thing isn't supposed to happen to journalists.

It does happen to spies, though.
Germany's leading right-of-center daily Die Welt this morning reveals that Jamal Khashoggi was not a journalist, but a high-level operative for the Saudi intelligence service, an intimate of Osama bin Laden, and the nephew of the shadiest of all Arab arms dealers, the infamous Adnan Khashoggi. John Bradley reported last week in the Spectator that Khashoggi, who allegedly met a grisly end in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist organization that among other things wants to replace the Saudi monarchy with a modern Islamist totalitarian state.
I can't decide if all the upset and hand-wringing in the press about this is because they can't tell the difference between a journalist and a spy trying to pass himself off as a journalist, or if they're just emotional wrecks who can't think strategically, or if they're actively being influenced by Iranian allies like Ben Rhodes. Whatever it is, get a grip. Spies die sometimes. They know what they're getting into when they start trying to overthrow governments. It's a risky business, especially if you're playing against pretty much any state that isn't in the Anglosphere or Western Europe. The Saudis aren't worse than China, or Russia, or Iran for that matter.

Should we press Saudi Arabia to reform politically and socially? Of course. Should we get bent sideways because they killed a spy who was a buddy of Osama bin Laden? Come off it.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Thank you for the update.

E Hines said...

Spengler notwithstanding, it's an open question whether Khashoggi was a spy masquerading as a journalist or a journalist who did occasional espionage-related work for the Saudis.

Journalists also die; they go where they're not wanted. That Khashoggi was Muslim Brotherhood is similar old news.

The handwringing by the NLMSM has little to do with the murder--of whatever he was--and much to do with trying to embarrass a hated administration that wants to use an Arab nation to counterbalance an out of control Persian nation.

Eric Hines

Patrick said...

How much of this do we know and how much comes straight from Erdogan? A lot of the early reports have his name in them.

Grim said...

Yes, much of it is coming more or less straight from Turkish intelligence -- that bastion of respect for journalism, that shining light of decorum, that living symbol of decency and good treatment for dissidents. It's being passed through Qatari media outlets like al Jazeera, and through Qatari-funded think tanks like Brookings.

Still, I expect that the Saudis really did kill the guy. Maybe it was an accident; he was fat and old, and may have had a heart attack under interrogation. Maybe it was on purpose. Either way, he was in a line of work where getting chopped up by a cleaner in a little room is one of the risks you take. We might prefer that other nations not do this even to people who are actively working for their overthrow, but it's a fact of life that most countries -- in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, even Latin America -- will kill an enemy of the state pretty much any chance they get.

douglas said...

I think this piece at the Federalist is pretty good also, and doesn't pretend to know what it doesn't know, unlike most reporting on this situation.

It also doesn't help when many GOP politicians jump to conclusions, or barely couch their statements against KSA with any caveats where significant caveats are due.

Anonymous said...

I've gotten to the point where a full-court press on any topic raises my hackles. The talking heads have once again gotten ahead of the information. The scene is reminiscent of Dante's Second Circle of Hell, where screaming souls are blown about by gusts of wind from all directions.

DJT has said the question was squarely put to the Saudi government, which denied involvement. DJT is also sending high-level people to inquire further.

That is all I know right now, and it is enough for the moment.


james said...

Where exactly is the fire we're supposed to race to put out?
Cui bono? Iran? Turkey?