Khashoggi Affair: A Prince must go—or two

Guest article — developing

Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser, has been urging the president to stand by the prince, according to a person close to the White House and a former official with knowledge of the discussions.

Mr. Kushner has argued that the crown prince can survive the outrage just as he has weathered past criticism.

–David D. Kirkpatrick and Ben Hubbard,“Saudis May Blame Intelligence Official for Killing Jamal Khashoggi,” New York Times, Oct. 18, 2018.


“Hilal Kaplan, one of the most outspoken columnists, known to be close to the (Turkish) president and strongly anti-American, even suggested in her column Friday that the United States could be blamed as an accessory in Mr. Khashoggi’s murder. If the U.S. administration continues this defensive line of language in favor of M.B.S. and reiterates mostly what they want to hear, one would fairly wonder if Trump and his Middle East peace envoy Jared Kushner also had prior knowledge of this atrocity to come and did nothing.”

—Carlotta Gall, New York Times, Oct. 19, 2018

The consequences of letting Jared Kushner run U.S. foreign policy towards Saudi Arabia have been catastrophic. Not only did he facilitate what was in effect a coup d’etat within the Saudi leadership and Royal Family, placing Prince Mohammed bin Salman (aka MBS) in power, but he has also defended MBS at every turn.

Now, in response to the gruesome murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istambul, with evidence pointing to the Saudi leadership as the intellectual author(s) of this hideous crime, Kushner argues within the Trump administration that Trump should support  MBS, and that the whole thing will blow over.

Kushner does not even want to ascertain the facts or wait until they are made public before deciding on a response.

One cannot imagine a more craven and morally bankrupt action by a U.S. official.

Moreover, as the Turkish author quoted by Kirkpatrick and Hubbard suggests, the question now becomes “What did Kushner, or Trump, know and when did they know it?”

Prince Jared should immediately be removed from the White House and the U.S. government.

Saudi leaders need to think hard about how stupid Americans really are. Not just Trump and Kushner, but also leaders of the foreign policy elite in the U. S., and Americans in general.

As they prepare their coverup, Saudi leaders need to reflect on the fact that under the common law “felony-murder rule”, a participant in a crime that unexpectedly results in a death is himself guilty of murder.

Thus, if someone ordered the abduction of Khashoggi, a felony, and the crime unexpectedly led to Kashoggi’s death, the person who issued the original order would be guilty of murder under the felony-murder rule.

The macabre nature of the Khashoggi murder seems, moreover, to have been an act of terror designed to strike fear into the hearts of all Saudi critics of the regime, both at home and abroad.

As such, it stands as strong evidence of the current regime’s decision and intent to rule by terror.

Without major changes to its leadership structure and a sharp change im its governing philosophy, Saudi Arabia should not expect to see any significant foreign investment from Western countries in the next 50 years.

Given the events of the last weeks and the Saudi response, it is not too soon to start organizing a Saudi Arabia disinvestment movement.

The Khashoggi Affair, far from blowing over, is likely to blow fire imto the faces of Saudi leaders until they make a sharp change of course.

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.