tv Arab Center Discussion of Political Implications of Jamal Khashoggis Death CSPAN November 8, 2018 1:53pm-3:29pm EST
ã let me start by setting the stage for our panelists raising a few questions. and then we will proceed with the program. let me admit in terms of by way of introduction that it is admittedly a somewhat difficult and sad to task for me personally and for the center staff to hold this briefing about our friend jamal khashoggi. i have known jamal the journalist as a writer, as media consultant, and as a saudi civil servant for 30 years. i dealt with him on many occasions here in washington
when he presented the states and in the kingdom of saudi arabia during my frequent visits to re-hod and other places in the kingdom. jamal was always a gentleman. a keen analyst on middle east and islamic affairs. i've particularly interested in of course in u.s. saudi bilateral relations, which we discussed almost every time we met. and and equally important if not more important consistent advocate for basic freedoms and human rights not only in saudi arabia but throughout the arab world. indeed he spoke from this very podium on 17 november 2017 when we hosted him after arrival to this country seeking refuge from threats back home and we
had at the time it briefing entitled shakeup in rehab regional international inca implications. ironically the briefing was held right next door in the room gold "first amendment room. on october 2 as all of you know jamal entered the saudi consulate building in istanbul turkey to collect personal legal documents in preparation for his upcoming wedding in turkey. as we all know, jamal went missing and never came out from the consulate alive. the words tweeted last friday by ã^ former u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york resonated with readers worldwide particularly with those who knew jamal.
he tweeted the following "the murder of jamal khashoggi is deeply important for what it says about power, about evil, about truth, about arrogance, about morality, about justice, and about freedom. especially freedom of speech " after of course a couple weeks of denial, the kingdom of saudi arabia, the public prosecutor saudi public prosecutor, issued the following statement on october 19, 2018 and i'm quoting from that statement "preliminary investigations carried out by the public prosecution into the disappearance case of the citizen jamal khashoggi
revealed that the discussions that took place between him and persons who met him during his attendance in the kingdoms consulate in istanbul led to a quarrel and a brawl some versions say fistfight, with the citizen jamal khashoggi resulting in his death. the public prosecutor continued the prosecutor confirms that its investigations into the case are continuing with the 18 individuals who are all saudi nationals in preparation for reaching all the facts and declaring them and to hold all those involved in this case accountable and bringing them to justice. ". on october 20 this was followed by another statement by the foreign minister of saudi arabia who has been until that point silent about this issue and he basically said
that the killing using that word, of journalist jamal khashoggi was a "tremendous mistake" and part of a rogue operation adding that his government would punish those responsible for his "murder". the individuals who did this, according to john beer, did this outside the scope of their authority. he told fox news last sunday. that obviously there was a tremendous mistake made and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up with it that according to john beer is unacceptable in any government. joe beer said that saudi arabia was taking action to investigate how jamal khashoggi died and will hold those responsible accountable. he said we are determined to uncover every stone, we are
determined to find out all the facts and we are determined to punish those who are responsible for this murder.". indeed the saudi government ãb a well-known name particularly for people who are familiar with twitter, he was communications advisor to ahmad been someone. in addition i think he was even closer. i would describe him as his alter ego. he apparently is at the center of the investigation. but the royal palace ordered his dismissal. as well as the dismissal of general this theory known to most of us as spokesman for the saudi led coalition. now deputy director of
intelligence in saudi arabia. he was also the dismissal included also two or three others high-level executives of the security apparatus in saudi arabia they are mohammed ã^ 18 other additional saudi's were arrested for interrogation regarding the affairs. some might say i know people are good with numbers in this town, some might say where did the 18 come from we thought it was 15? in his speech this morning about made the distinction the 18 arrested in saudi arabia the turkish leaks have never accounted for three people who arrived early for scouting. ... ...
three, why did this saudi group including forensic expert? four, what actually happened inside the consulate? five, what happened to his body? six, why did saudi arabia say he had left the consulate when he did not? seven, how could the crown prince not have known about this operation? eight, are the men detained by saudi arabia actually the same wet men that were identified byturkish authorities? and nine , why did it take 17 days to come up with this account by saudi arabia? today was expected and hyped in the media, supposedly to be a very important day in the investigation pertaining to the khashoggi affair,
promising a few more answers to some of these questions. turkeys president erdogan revealed this morning what he termed the naked truth, releasing from his perspective the results of the investigation by turkish authorities. the speech actually from my perspective if you don't mind me sharing personal responses to the speech, i felt that he did first of all describe the crime as premeditated and the planned for at least several weeks, and he said that this murder did not happen at the drop of a dime but was a planned affair. he also said that this crime took place on saudi arabian land in terms of the planning
but the actual crime was committed within the borders of turkey so the only new element in the erdogan remarks today was the fact that he demanded and again, if saudi arabia agrees that these people should be extradited to turkey to stand trial in turkey. my criticism of the speech, it really did not bring anything new at all that we did not know through the weeks, unfortunately. so other than the request for the guys to be adjudicated in istanbul. my preference would have been i think some of my colleagues with legal backgrounds on human rights would probably agree with me that it would
have been more preferable not to politicize this investigation and leave the issue to the turkish prosecutor to make the speech rather than for the president to deliver that speech for a party gathering in ankara. so what are erdogan's statements as far as the saudi reaction? there might be some official saudi speeches in this regard, response to the turkishspeech. whether that sheds more light on this crime or not , it is our firm belief at the error center of washington even though we are a research center and we do not take necessarily positions on political issues, but it is our firm belief that an
international investigation into the disappearance and murder of mister khashoggi is warranted. we strongly endorse the call for such an investigation by major american and international human rights organizations, some of whom are represented here tonight inthis room . we all all our friend jamal khashoggi a full explanation what happened to him in istanbul and demand the suspect be held accountable for the heinous crime. with us today participating in this panel are 4 people who have been following the details of this case from their different perspectives based on their jobs. and i'm not going to spend more time introducing them. you have their bios on the paper that was given to you when you checked in, but i will mention their names in
terms of, and their affiliation, we will start with mister fassihian, freedom house. she will be followed by tom porteous, deputy program director for human rights watch . r kelly from the director of research and analysis of the arab center washington, an odd harb hill who will follow with more on the political implication of the crisis and the panel will conclude with andrew miller, our friend from deputy director for policy project on middle east democracy. each speaker will speak for about 12 minutes and then we will spend the balance of our time about 30 minutes on wednesday. there are cards on your seat or the seat in front of you if you're sitting on yourcart and pencils . and if you could write your questions or comments on that
and pass and raise your hand, staff will pick them up and bring them to me up here to read later. lee's write legibly, otherwise i will begin to read your question or your remarks. at this point i would like to invite him to the podium unless you'd like to speak seated. that's fine. he denies, is that okay to speak seated? please do can everybody hear me okay? great. thank you very much to the arab center for holding this timely event. i'm pleased to be here with everybody, albeit in very tragic circumstances. let me for first start out by saying that the house is sold for an international investigation into this crime that's taken place against jamaal. and we're also calling for a swift sanction against all
those that have any role in his killing. the murder of jamal khashoggi has shocked the world, but i think for those of us that have been following saudi arabia's trajectory over the past several years, it really shouldn't, as a huge surprise . under the crown prince we've seen a crackdown at home, we've seen and launch a brutal war in yemen and he's been bullying countries around the world. and so an extraterritorial hit against perceived opponents is not something that would seem completely unlikely. to be clear, before mbs rose through the ranks the power in saudi arabia, a country was no beacon of freedom.
freedom house had been following and researching saudi arabia's record as it does every country in the world and it's been categorized as among the worst of the worst countries in terms of political rights and civil liberties for nearly 30 years. saudi arabia has received a seven which is the lowest for possible on politicalrights . the only country doing worse in saudi arabia are syria, south sudan, eritrea, north korea. so it's hard to see how the country could actually get worse. saudi arabia's absolute monarchy restricts all political rights and civil liberties. no official at the national level are elected. the regime relies on surveillance, criminalization of defense , appeals to sectarianism, public sending
supported by oil revenues to maintain power, women and religious minority space based discrimination and law and practice and working conditions for the large labor force are often exploitative. despite some of the pro-modernization reform rhetorical shifts that saudi arabia and particularly under mbs have been touting, saudi arabia continues tohave one of the most restrictive media environments in the world . they continue to shape the media coverage of the war in yemen by restricting access to yemen by journalists. a crackdown on critical reporting at home and increasingly an active electronic army online has been targeting opponents, any critics dominating the space, acting various accounts of opponents and dissidents. in his final article published by the washington post, jamal khashoggi
stressed the lack of freedom of expression through the arab world and the people living in the need for people living in these countries to be better informed. he argued that in order to gain an accurate understanding of the state political and cultural climate, citizens need access to publications and media that are completely owned by state run media. he rightly called on freedom of expression as the key to the advancement of arab societies and i think that's what made him such a target for a leader who is ready to control the narrative of his country . as i said, it's hard to imagine a country which is an absolute monarchy like saudi arabia getting worse in terms of the situation forcitizens rights , but on many indicators, the situation was getting worse, life was getting worse under mbs are
many who were released in civil society and the power circles in the country had some role in governance . or at least being close to those in power. even for those that wanted to believe that saudi arabia was entering a reform period, a crown prince made it clear early on the and only he would be off of that form and that nobody could critique him or challenge his policies. so let's look at the record. in 2018 world press freedom index right saudi arabia on 6979 countries that oppress freedom. no other country ranks lower in the middle east except for syria. 200 businessmen and royals were held at the ritz carlton, 17 hospitalized, one individual died in custody. we know the reports of torture and mistreatment and
coercion design over assets for these business people and royals release. and that was done under the guise of or under the framework of ananticorruption drive but clearly the rule law was not used at all in this process .in september 2017, a wave of arrests of 30 clerics, intellectuals and activists, no reason was given why they were arrested but it was clear it was a signal to other activists that opposition or any critique would not be tolerated. before the ban on driving for women was lifted, the government of saudi arabia arrested women's rights activists and made in may 2018. these are women and men who had advocated for the right to drive, the right to vote and to the guardianship counsel. activists like lucian has no,
they continue to remain in prison. the xian minority in saudi arabia are disproportionately punished and grossly unfair trials in saudi courts and that's just gotten worse. we know in january 2016 anna a prominent saudi cheerleader was executed, currently we've got five human rights activists on death row and in fact over prosecutors are seekingthe sentence . and one is a email she activists and she's been arrested and prosecuted and they are seeking the death penalty in her case. and her court cases coming up next week, if she's convicted she would be the first female in saudi arabia that would be sentenced to death . finally, saudi arabia's updated 2017 counterterrorism
law is extremely broad and can be used broadly to crackdown and convict writers, bloggers, journalists, human rights defenders so what reform are we talking about here? it looks like the crown prince was attempting to sell new social contract to be citizens, particularly you and the world that i will provide some limited social sort of opening, but you know, there will be no extension of political freedoms and that contrasts with many of his predecessors and many of saudi arabia's past kings who had at least promised some political freedom. so the signs were never good to begin with. in saudi arabia, they've also been for the past few decades demanding more fundamental freedoms.
also i think it's important to note that history provides ample evidence inside the top down mandated reform doesn't work very well. you need federal governments to have successful social and economic reform because you need a society to be a barometer of citizen need, citizen demand, double society helps guide the government, it's an interlocutor between government and the citizens and it plays a critical role in readying the country for change education and awareness raising so cracking down on civil society and cracking down on fundamental freedoms or trying to usher in reforms is really not a very good way or sustainable way of going about it and the crown prince could have easily taken those rights back whenever he wants it. so unless saudi citizens, their potential is unleashed and they are set free, i
think reform is just a mirage. i also think the united states has soul-searching to do as well in this situation. we have a level of impunity for saudi arabia and an ally that we have not forany other country . with such a poor human rights record. so i think it's critical that the united states with realize advocacy for improved freedoms or saudi citizens should be part of our relationship with saudi arabia moving forward. though now, i want to turn my attention to the crime, the horrific crime against jamal khashoggi and obviously it's an important test, is a test of us leadership and the global leadership on human rights, also a test of raw saudi power. and every authoritarian government today is paying attention. i was just another embassy
this week, the middle eastern embassy and asked about the jamal khashoggi affair and diplomat said waiting to see what secretary pompeo says. and i said yes, we are waiting to see what he says too. we're all waiting to see what president from and secretary pompeo say that they are paying attention. we've had just this year 's, and egyptian state run media against human rights defenders calling for prominent human rights defenders have been forcibly exiled to come back in body pads. so we certainly don't want to see this repeated by anyother government . a time to set a precedent is now. everybody who has an interest in human rights as an interest of the united states a strong stand on this situation . the crisis seems to be working. the saudi government has admitted that the turkish president today has come out
and said it was a premeditated murder so these are all the right steps but again, as imentioned we are calling for an international investigation into this matter . and finally, we are calling for sanctions on all those that are responsible and we are calling for the united states to include democracy and human rights and its relationship with saudi arabia moving forward.'s thank you, and says this is everything, we are getting the race from colleagues in the audience and outside. he would like to report that he item you see probably on twitter saying that his body has been found are not true. investigators in turkey they they are still lookingfor the body, it has been discovered . joyce said that a few minutes ago, the and crown prince of
saudi arabia received jamal khashoggi family for the first time since this ordeal. they met with his son and brother. now we are next speaker,, or case. >> very much. to these inviting me. and i'm very sorry for your loss.i didn't know jamal khashoggi, i know many people who didn't know and he was my a brave and remarkable journalists. it's at times like this that i sometimes turn to anna and my must trump copy of the portable parents or insight as to what's going on in the world and this morning on the train from baltimore, i came across this line which i thought was the and also
strangely hopeful. drift, though powerless and always been in a head-on class with the powers that be possesses a strength of its own. whatever those in power make contrived, they are unable to discover or invent a viable custody for it. persuasion and violence can destroy, but they cannot replace it.>> the killing of jamal khashoggi is a very important moment in the political evolution of the middle east in general and in particular in the deterioration of respect for human rights, political liberty and freedom of expression since the arab uprising of the 2011. so it's worth briefly reflecting on how we got to this point. since 2011, repression and authoritarianism have been on the rise throughout the region.
with a few exceptions. in saudi arabia has been in the lead in the efforts to snuff out liberty and freedom of expression not only at home but also in the region. domestically, saudi arabia reacted to the arab uprising with fears repression of all dissenting voices. and this is only intensified the political maneuvering by which the crown prince has taken control of almost all levers of power inside saudi arabia for the past couple of years.parallel with his popular or populous social and economic reforms, mbs as crackdown politically on all opposition and dissent as he has explained. women's rights activists, journalists, religious leaders, political opponents,
rival princes, all have been by the crown prince, many imprisoned or placed under house arrest or sentenced to death. the authorities have used the repressive and arbitrary justice system which human rights watch has been criticizing for years and a judiciary that is effectively an arm of the government to level terrorism and corruption charges against many individuals. some have not even been accorded due process but have been arbitrarilydetained in a luxury hotel , smeared in the palace controlled media, written on social media by governments sponsor troll farms. >> but you don't have to look too closely to see the driving motivation behind all this is a determination to silence criticism and neutralize political foes. even before jamal khashoggi's brutal murder, saudi arabia under mbs was not content to
silence the critics and opponents within the boundaries of the kingdom. it's also sought to silence exiled saudi dissident by various means, against family members, kidnapping, blackmail, as alignments and jamal khashoggi's murder appears to be an extension of this regional foreign policy, arabia has sought to snuff out but yearning for freedom and liberty, freedom of expression, press freedom and liberty in the region triggered the arab uprising of 2011. it ends up being in bahrain if you remember thegovernment there the limits on uprising and protests . it about the repressive and murderous military dictatorship in egypt after the 2013 to which houses egypt's first democratically electedgovernment .
all this, saudi arabia has unfortunately been unable to us government and other western governments in full knowledge of the underlying repressive nature of the saudi regime and its role as a regional champion of repression and autocracy. i don't need to go into the history of this or the rationale behind this strategic partnership, but it's enough to say that the us, uk , france and others have long turned a blind eye to saudi abuses in the name of maintaining that strategic relationship which consists of business, arms sales and saudi arabia's weight in iranian influence. in yemen, saudi arabia's western allies have not turned a blind eye actively supported saudi arabia, the uae and others as they pursue a ruthless war against the
huthis in a blockade that has led to a humanitarian catastrophe . now however, the past 18 months since trump entered the white house, the complicity of the us and the saudi arabia's abuses has become evenstarker . the signals from washington in the face of mounting saudi oppression at home support for repression abroad have been more or less you can do whatever you please as long as you align with our interests on business on a ran on and israel. it's no idle speculation to suggest the reason the saudi's may have thought they could get away with the killing of jamal khashoggi in that consulate in istanbul is because of the signals of unconditional support coming from the trump white house and the rest of the us elite . if the us government turned a blind eye when mbs's henchmen
abducted a prominent women's rights activists and through her in prison back home, if washington, paris and london continue to sell arms and if the pentagon continued to refuel saudi jets in midair, thus enabling mbs is truly conducted war in yemen in which the saudi coalition has killed millions, why on earth would they worry about the disappearance of a single journalist? which brings me to the fate of khashoggi himself. on one level, we don't know precisely what happened on that fatal day in istanbul and that's why human rights watch and others have called for a un investigation. the investigation should determine the circumstances surrounding saudi arabia's role in his disappearance and
apparent extrajudicial killing of khashoggi, and it should aim to identify everyone responsible for ordering and executing all operations connected to the case . but on another level, we know enough about what happened from various sources including on the contradictory and bizarre statements from the saudi government itself who know that the saudi's have been lying brazenly about the circumstances of khashoggi's death since the start of this affair. but they said he left the consulate after doing his business there . then they threatened mighty retaliation against all those who contradicted this assertion. then, in the face of credible reports from turkish sources over many days that he'd been murdered and his body dismembered, disposed of, the saudi's last weekend changed their story as you know and admitted he been killed but as a result of a fistfight
with officials in the consulate, that those officials had covered up the killing. we were told those responsible had been arrested , 2 top officials removed of their post. the whole thing was the work of rogue agents, according to the foreign minister . it appeared the saudi government was desperately seeking to construct a narrative to obscure the fact that mounting evidence pointed not to rogue agents but to a rogue crown prince . meanwhile, to add insult to lies in response to the affair, the crown prince and self had undertaken a restructuring of the intelligence apparatus . really? the saudi effort to limit the damage of the khashoggi murder through lies and distortions are exhibit a in the case for why freedom of expression is so important a
commodity and why autocratic leaders keep stifling it. freedom of expression is an essential check on power. without it, power is absolute , arbitrary and corrupting. there can be no political liberty, no human rights, no rule of law and the powerful can get away literally with murder in the absence of freedom of expression. i started by saying that jamal khashoggi's killing was an important moment in the evolution of the middle east since the arab uprising and here's why. his killing has captured world headlines for weeks now. the brazen disregard of the saudi's basic norms and standards has been on full display for the world. >> there is an opportunity if ever there was one now for
saudi arabia international partners to demand a proper investigation and accountability. such a move could stem the rising tide of authoritarianism and sectarianism in the region. on the other hand, saudi arabia's international partners may decide to tap it out and wait until the flurries subsides and then sweep it under the carpet. they may decide their relationship with riyadh is too limited and too strategic to riskrocking the boat . trump and his allies have repeatedly hinted this iswhat they want to do . some are going as far as to echo saudi smears that khashoggi was a sympathizer with terrorism and a fellow traveler withthe muslim brotherhood . but if that happens, if no credible investigation is forthcoming, if the authors of thus unspeakable murder and those who order it are
not held to account, do not suffer some consequence, for their actions, this will send a clear message not only to saudi arabia but to the region and the rest of the world that freedom of expression, press freedom and the bedrock of liberty have been discounted. the consequences will be more repression and more violence. and the aspirations of the people of the middle east for a just and fair society will take another step backward and autocrats around the world will sleep better. thank you. >> back to tom. our next speaker is our colleague from the center who will talk about the khashoggi affair with regards to his political implications in the region. >> good morning everyone. sad morning and unfortunately. >> we do know that everything
so far that has been linked whether it is true or not really increases the fluidity of the situation. >> we don't know exactly what happened although we know the severity we know the tremendous impact that it's going to have on the future of saudi arabia, on the future of the region. nobody ever thought that the killing of one person would really result in all this condemnation of this atmosphere of rejection of what has transpired. yes, there has been a lot of talk about a lot of things happening in the middle east and apparently this is almost like the fort sumter on the
middle east side of things to come in the middle east. i hope that his killing is not, has an upcoming vein and will not be forgotten before this affair is investigated i do believe that the international investigation is probably the best thing that will happen. i mean, this killing obviously comes when saudi arabia is undergoing a lot of change and most importantly, a lot of change domestically. this is a society where the bargain, the rolling bargain between the ruler and the ruled is dependent on the provision of services and largess in exchange or loyalty. sometimes we wonder if this
loyalty is going to be always forthcoming. as the social contract of saudi arabia, we know it is under tremendous pressure, but will the social contract survive further more repression and more intimidation of any opposition, however mild it is. so as far as i'm concerned, this is, yes, it is a very sad incident. it's a sad affair and yet the same time it's also the political scientist in me tells me that this probably can be looked at in a in the form of what is the future of this total contract for saudi arabia. our saudi arabia is going to remain the subject of a state that provides everything
supposedly provides everything for them in return for their loyalty? this is a very tremendous question saudi arabia and the region is going to be dealing with for a long considerable time. obviously the big elephant in the room is how does he khashoggi killing as an example of the repression going on, how does it reflect on this issue of economic and social reforms that saudi arabia is undergoing today. is the saudi vision 2030 any better than it was on october 1? i don't think it is. the issue of 2030 was, had depended on diverse litigation, diversifying the economy away from the dependence on hydrocarbons
and to basically attract foreign investment. it is foreign investment, after an inventor of this nature. i doubt that it is and as a matter of fact, indication out showed that even before the killing took place, foreign direct investment has really receded in saudi arabia and whatever funds there are for work in the new economic division plan is actually escaping the country. so this is a very, very serious matter from a saudi economic interview, besides it being a matter of rights and the sidelining of critics and the killing of people who really had not supported the way saudi 2030 is going to be
executed including obviously jamal khashoggi. so it's, this is as far as i'm concerned domestically thinking, we're talking about probably a new era in how the saudi rulers look at the ruled and how the ruled really believe that loyalty can be used in the social system. this, it's very hard in today's world, no matter what track down there is, no matter how much limitation on the freedoms of access to information, no matter how successful they are, eventually people will get information. people will have a different way of looking at this event. today, we're all doubting that the saudi state is going to allow people to know truly what happened to jamal khashoggi but in the end, people will know. truth will come out.
and there will be a reckoning. as far as i'm concerned, the reckoning should come now. rather than later, because this is a very, very serious matter. on the regionalissue , there are obviously saudi arabia is very involved in a whole bunch of regional issues that jamal khashoggi was really believe that saudi arabia was regionally conducting its affairs a proper way. as affairs the proper way. >> sense unfortunately, saudi arabia is surrounded by a whole bunch of countries that did not necessarily see the elimination of jamal khashoggi as something, the responsibility for which to be laid on the steps of the
saudi regime. but and a lot of people, a lot of countries, arab countries have issued basically support, supporting statements of saudi arabia this time. but this unfortunately, this is unfortunately for them this is not going to hold up much if people are going to really know what happened to jamal khashoggi and whowas responsible for it . the only time obviously will tell on this. the other issue is the issue of the ongoing crisis with the gcc crisis within saudi arabia and bahrain. and it's doubtful that mohammed bin salamon will be able or the saudi regime will be able to continue to convince its people in the region that this is a crisis
that should continue, specifically. we did hear that the first few days, it was the brotherhood who killed jamal khashoggi. so apparently potter will remain an issue that is going to be with saudi arabia for a long time.the problem is how does saudi arabia conduct its business today regarding the gcc crisis. how can it continue to convince the world that is right in the way it is standing on the gcc crisis, considering the truth coming out to accuse the saudi government of being responsible for the killing of jamal khashoggi?
another one obviously, another issue is the issue of yemen. it's very, very difficult to see how the yemen affair is going to be dealt with from now on. is mohammed bin salman able to continue the war considering the pressures that saudi arabia is really coming under considering how, what happened in the halls of international power? one is washington, another is berlin and other places in europe. if saudi arabia is not exonerated from this tribe, will the american congress, and i leave that to my colleague, will the american congress change, finally change its mind on supplying weapons to saudi arabia and the yemen war?
this is going to be very crucial for what happens to the war in yemen. on the other hand, what set of cards does saudi arabia today half, considering the outcry about this act? what set of cards can saudi arabia bring to a virtual negotiating table for a resolution of the yemeni crisis? will saudi arabia be influential, be effective in attempting to convince the uzis or their allies in yemen society that the political solution on certain terms that would be good for saudi arabia as possible. i think that the saudi hand in yemen as just gotten a little too weak. i think if mbs started the
war to protect saudi arabia from the repercussions of the yemeni war, and he probably has captivated killing jamal khashoggi because his hand just got week. another issue obviously is the one of palestine and this is something that has not necessarily been talk about too much, obviously but there has been some people who have talked about if the trump administration, will the trump administration look at jamal khashoggi two week to help pass what is supposed to be this so-called deal of the century about which we still don't know anything. on the other hand, if the american administration thought of mohammed bin salman as being able to
assist, will be truly be able to assist? was he ever able to really pressure the palestinians to accept something that is simply unacceptable, or will he continue to try to pressure this in this direction. i think the trumpet ministration may have just lost another set of cards regarding the pressure on the palestinians in saudi arabia. another one obviously is ran. as far as i'm concerned, iran has won this battle. i don't think that the saudi arabia, that the media war for the reputation war of any of these things that are, that have been fought with ran for a long, long time were actually served in this incident. ran and people that ran supports are actually rather
happy today that the saudi's reputation is suffering the way it is. finally, we come to the turkish issue. turkey and saudi arabia are arguably almost on together on certain issues and in competition on certain other issues, obviously. we have heard speculation that maybe the turks will try to milk this affair, to try to get some sort of nice deal from saudi arabia but then again there's also domestic issues. turkey cannot really elect path without doing something about what happened to jamal khashoggi. these two countries are in a very precarious situation. apparently the speech that was delivered today by
president jamal khashoggi, did not necessarily resolve anyissues . it not had any new facts that would influence how these things develop in the future, but i think as far as i'm concerned, and i heard that from otherpeople and heard it on twitter , the turks may be a little too apprehensive about letting this go, because once king solomon passes, if you remain on the scene and he is young, turkey andsaudi arabia will be at loggerheads for a long time to come . >> thank you. and now let's include this panel with andrew miller. >> thank you khalil and thank you arab center for hosting this panel and having me participate. i do join with a heavy heart.
ahmed posted on jamaal in march for an event on saudi arabia to coincide with the crown prince's visit to washington and there are other folks within my organization known jamaal much longer so a personal note on all of this, it's very much felt it in my organization. on i'm going to try this issue in a broader context for the us and saudi arabia and us policy in particular. though i will briefly describe reaction today in the united states. discuss the implications for us saudi cooperation and way out a few recommendations for what the united states do moving forward. the us reaction has been extraordinary, particularlyin congress . there is near unanimity in both houses, senate and house of representatives, republicans and democrats that a strong response is warranted.
to his killing. the most significant response from congress today was a letter signed by 22 senators to the president asking for an investigation under the global magnet ski act which could entail the imposition of sanctions on those saudi who were responsible for jamal khashoggi that and significantly, this was signed by the chairman of the foreign relations committee, bob corker who previously had been a booster or saudi arabia and the leading democrat on the committee as well as the chair and ranking member of the senate appropriations committee on foreign operations, the ones in control of foreign affairs budget so that was a particularly significant reaction and the chairman and ranking member of the house foreign affairs committee also sent a letter to president from essentially
expressing their support for opening a magnet ski investigation. you probably have seen senator graham as is his wont has been quite voluble in reacting to this threat. senator leahy from vermont has issued one of the most bluntly critical statements on a us ally that i can remember. essentially likening saudi arabia and the royal family to a criminal enterprise. so that begins to describe the level of anger shared across the aisle with in congress and the desire for a very strong reaction to hold saudi arabia accountable for what's taking place. on the other hand the administration has been far less clear . in fact, their responses have been wildly inconsistent. when saudi arabia finally acknowledged that khashoggi
had died, president trump originally called the story credible. in the last couple of days is referred to deception and lies to characterize the saudi position area it seemed the only two recurring themes in the reaction are one, that president trump does not want to suspend arms sales which he views as an important source of jobs for the american economy and two, there doesn't appear to be any real desire to hold solomont accountable. for the actions, even if evidence emerges as has been widely suspected that he directed thisoperation . you saw last week that secretary pompeo visited riyadh and met with mohammed bin salman, gladhanding, smiling in only what can be described as for optics and the secretary of the treasury munition was in riyadh and while his body language is more restrained, he nonetheless also met with him but that does signal the trumpet ministration continues to view him as an
important partner in their seeking to insulate them from any repercussions from what's taking place. so what this means is what moves forward, we're going to see is a question of whether the congress remains unified and demanding a strong response and whether they are prepared to force demonstrations hand because i believe that the administration is given the room they will find a way to avoid the type of response for what has happened so what we need to watch for is what congress is going to do and whether this unique moment of bipartisanship is leaking or whether it's an enduring phenomenon that doeslead to important changes . >> moving on to the implications and this is where i think you see the difference between the trumpet ministration and between congress. congress is not convinced that the implications of a strong response to saudi arabia would be unmanageable to the us. the trumpet ministration seems to have concern that in response to us sanctions or to other measures the us to
take, the saudi's may scale back cooperation with the us in things that the trumpet ministration cares about so let's look at those things and try to get a sense for whether they would be endangered should the united states respond aggressively to what happened . the first area that the trumpet ministration values is regional cooperation. in particular on middle east peace, on koran policy and tehran policy and on syria and on middle east peace, jared kushner's said that saudi arabia are trying to pressure the palestinians on anything lessthan what they've been seeking for deadlines . and what we saw is that mbs himself seemed to be flirting with the possibility of endorsing a us position but in august king pompeo reiterated the position that a two state solution should
result in a palestinian capital in east jerusalem and a fair, just equitable resolution to the refugee issue so it doesn't seem like saudi arabia will be there when the administration needs it to and doors their peace plan and even if they did, i have doubts as to whether the palestinians would buckle even under saudi pressure given this is an existential issue for the palestinians. on syria, the administration seems to want the saudi's to deploy military forces to relieve pressure and also to contribute financially. to paint saudi arabia has committed $300 million, 100 million of which has gone into us accounts, that the pittance compared to what they could offer and what would be needed to rebuild and destabilize syria. moreover, there are questions that even if saudi arabia did agree to deploy to syria, that its forces have the
capabilities to serve in a stabilizing role and protect us interests it seems the trumpet ministration is asking from saudi arabia things they are incapable of delivering and on and ran, there was this extraordinary response in the saudi state owned the press from the editor of one of the major newspaper suggesting the us imposed sanctions, audi arabia would reconcile. i think that frankly part prosperous. randy is the key external enemy to the saudi's. that's been the case for decades now. it is due in no small part to saudi lobbying of the trumpet ministration, that the trumpet ministration had such an aggressive posture vis-c-vis iran. so the idea that the saudi's would reconcile and reversed their position seems like ludicrous . the second is arms sales and other type of economic transactions where saudi arabia has invested in the us . as many others have written about, $110 billion deal is less than meets the eye.
most of that money is a wish list of things that are unlikely to come to pass and historically, saudi arabia has finalized 15 percent of its contracts that they did originally signed with the united states and the impact on jobs is likely to be fairly scant. it's not going to be a game changer for the us economy. it's not hundreds of thousands of jobs as president trump has suggested and it wouldn't be that easy for russian equipment, these systems need to communicate with each other and russia and china's equipment does not communicate with us equipment which means the saudi's would have to revamp their arsenal which would be costly or invest in idiosyncratic fixes to these problems which itself would be expensive so the threats that the saudi's would repress, seek comfort in the
russians or the chinese is probably more apparent than real. in terms of the economic investment and we shouldn't minimize this, it is significant especially in silicon valley but the saudi's are investing as a favor to the trumpet ministration. they're investing because they need to make money. they need to prop up their economy and they believe rightly orwrongly that they're going to get the best return from the united states . this is primarily an gop decision, it's an economic decision and those decisions will be driven by their analysis of what us thoughts are going to do, not the state of the relationship between the us and saudi arabia. another issue is concerned the saudi's would scale back in that regard. on that i would note saudi arabia has not done enough to address its own role in promoting extremism internationally and even if the saudi's are cooperating with the cia and other intelligence agencies, that may be drowned out by the effect they are having internationally in promoting radicalization. it's difficult to assess that
because it is clandestine but we what we seem to know is it's at the very least undercut by saudi practices regarding its religious curriculum regarding funding for mosques and madrasah's all around the world and finally there's oil . there's a concern the saudi's would fight the price of oil in response to some type of us retaliation for the khashoggi affair. since trump became president, the price of oil has increased from $54 a barrel to $80 a barrel so it doesn't appear the saudi's are responding to trump's desire to restrict the level or to keep the level of oil down, but more to the point, saudi arabia's control over the oil market is not what it was in 1973 x .. >> ..
pre-crisis level the percentage saudi fun at the price will have declined. society will actually lose revenue. the short-term disruption for the u.s. but a long-term strategic challenge for saudi arabia. so where does this leave us? or recommendations to be informed by two considerations. one is that justice for jamal is important here to support in itself, but also for the message it sends to other dissidents and exiles throughout the region as tom as mentioned. if we don't want saudis accountable for the accountable for this he could have a chilling effect on the ability of civil society to operate
within their own countries and in exile throughout the world. the second consideration is that the u.s. saudi relationship is badly in need of updating. this has been the case for a while but there's been some hesitance to move in that direction because the short-term costs could be somewhat significant, but not by any means unmanageable. the basic problem is the essential bargain underlying the relationship which has security for oil is no longer is compelling for either side and no longer adequate for u.s. interests as we become more interested in saudi regional behavior, saudi human rights and the saudi promoting extremism. what i would suggest in order to recalibrate the u.s. saudi relationship while at the same time insuring saudi arabia is held responsible for khashoggi's murder would be for things. first our bilateral relationship needs to expand the conversation. it can be about security and economics. human rights and extremism need to be a core part of a discussion we're having.
otherwise the relationship and conversation doesn't coincide with the full gamut of u.s. interests involved. second, we need to disentangle from the war in yemen. the risen concerning funding and supporting this war and now is the opportunity we can step back either through restrict in arms sales or other types of support including refueling and intelligence. third i think we need to avoid the temptation to expand what has been a guarantee, i.e. protect saudi arabia from external threats to an internal guarantee. the u.s. does not have an interest in protecting saudi arabia for nonviolent movements within his own country. the saudi's want that for reasons of ashamed security. we should avoid that at all costs. finally, we need to reassert control over the bilateral relationship. even after we get past the khashoggi affair, after having
resolved that an injustice for perpetrators, we need to have clear boundaries and next but patience for what we're going to do with saudi is or how were going to support them and i should inform our diplomatic supports for saudi arabia and our material support for saudi arabia. there should be clear guidelines for what types of activities the saudis can do with u.s. weapons. clear guidelines when the u.s. will support the saudis diplomatically not in the war in yemen, not in ensure euro crisis with the qataris, but coincide in support u.s. interests. unfortunately under the trump administration increasingly disjuncture between u.s. interest in the positions were supporting at the saudi's behest. if anything comes out of that that's remotely positive we need to seize the opportunity to recalibrate the relationship and put it on a stable footing that represents the real u.s. interests at play. thank you.
>> thank you all four panelists for your great presentation. one question that hasn't been covered a lot since the beginning of this crisis and we probably didn't give it justice today either is the question that people keep asking but never really answering, what killed jamal. did he have any specific views? what made him a target if you will. i don't have the answer personally, but what i would like to do is invite you to go to our website at arab center washington.org and take a look at the interview or the presentation is see really address that in a somewhat organized the platform with regard to that. that is the november 17, 2017
date when he, like i said, spoke for a group like some of you probably were just next-door here and dealt with this issue. let's go ahead and respond to your question that you have submitted. the first one is addressed to both dokhi asking what do you think will be the future of women's entrepreneurship in government careers in saudi arabia in line to reforms that might be continuing. >> i hope the reforms that have been introduced support more women's entrepreneurship in saudi arabia. i'm not following that issue very carefully, without the
freedoms and have been connected primarily to families to enter the business sector in more women be able to do it. i'm not following as closely. >> i would just say i have no reason to doubt that ahmed bin salman is insincere about his economic and social reforms. it's certainly a populist edge to him, but also certainly popular. but my question is, you know,
how deep, how profound can those reforms really go as far as saudi arabia remains politically repressive because as is well known from other countries as long as there is no freedom of expression, no press freedom, can only go so far. >> i might add just a little footnote to that. i would probably guess that economic reforms would be easier for him. the legal and political and i would like to resist naming names but with todd a few more colleagues in jail in saudi arabia for asking of rights and
they have not been tolerated dose star, so they want to be tolerated in the future. >> i alluded to this, but i think for women to become economically independent, i think a male guardianship system needs to add in many women have been calling for that. those women as i've mentioned to have opportunities in saudi arabia are among families who are generally more open and wish that their daughters and sisters have opportunities. even with the driving ban, as the way i understand it, those women to don't have the support of men and their families still can't drive. so the key is to list them and the guardianship system. >> you know with all the coverage, the coverage with
regard to this crisis were discussing today is worthwhile. but every coverage of saudi arabia i haven't seen any reports actually since salman gave women the right to drive. how many women get their licenses? i hear it's minimal, very, very minimal from saudi sources. it could be worthwhile for our media to kind of focus on this issue. our next question is from stanley. i would like to direct it for the both of you who have kind of answered it partially in case you want to add more to it. how will the murder of khashoggi and the effort to cover up the crime impact or affect u.s. policy to forage iran coalition in the region.
i alluded to it a little while ago. >> i don't think saudi arabia was ever ready to be in a confrontation in iran with the united states before or after the khashoggi murder. the trump administration may be just wishing that saudi arabia can really be the stalwart fortress of facing iran, but i think saudi arabia was before khashoggi's murder was way, way too occupied, even militarily occupied to be able to be a partner in facing iran. i don't think that necessarily was come as far as the saudis are concerned i don't and they really believed they could be a
good front against iran, but yet at the same time they had a fear of iran so they were trying the extremities. you know, yemen, that went on a little bit with hezbollah. but i really don't see the current situation of jamal khashoggi's affair as something boosting saudi american cooperation facing iran. >> and i would just add that even prior to khashoggi's murder, the saudis were arguably a liability in the u.s. anti-iran campaign, they obviously were involved in initiating an instigating the gcc dispute, which divided the arab world. a united arab front would be essential for the regional counterbalancing against iran.
it drove qataris closer to the iranians and invited the turks to play a bigger role and had a more complicated relationship in a more ambivalent relationship with iranians, not uniformly negative. and the continued saudi role in yemen is a real loser in that the saudis are spending $50 billion a year to wage this campaign and the iranians are investing a small fraction of that to keep the saudi side down. that is a strategic weakness, a strategic trap for the saudi's. their inability to recognize the liability that it is in the unwillingness to the united states to try to reach some type of diplomatic settlement that would extricate the saudi's and allow them to focus elsewhere in the region i think has served to the dutch are meant in any campaign to push back against iran. i think this is the kind, the khashoggi affair. does it distract from it? yes. i was a distraction from it.
this is not a game changer. it simply confirms the trend that saudi arabia wasn't going to be this pillar in the anti-iran alliance. at least that's what the trump administration would like your >> apparently i made a boo-boo a little while ago in giving the address website of the arab center. i should know better than that. so my staff sent me a threat. they'll come to the office and lets you correct that. it is arab center d.c..org. arab center d.c..org. for all of those who are viewing this on c-span, we welcome you joining us on the website. this question is addressed to dokhi. could you shed some light on your assessment of the turkish government handling of this affair? >> it's been extremely team.
i was really happy to see this morning that erdogan came out and took a strong stand that this was a premeditated murder and it made me believe that they redness relief for the truth to come out and for there to be accountability. before that i really wasn't sure. but turkey has to be very careful. obviously it has its own role in relationships with the saudi's and with the united states in the situation to take and consideration. our view is that we would like to have international investigation and we would like the turks to bring in international investigators to work with them so that in this confidence around the world that we know everything that's happened. it has been very interesting the way it initially started, the leaks in the media, but i think
at this stage, i think were in a better place to think that the turkish government is in fact in the long haul. >> i think it's worth bearing in mind turkey is the leading journalist in the world. secondly. secondly, its judiciary has been viciously purged of all pundits of president erdogan in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt. so, turkey's record on independent investigations is not great. his record on freedom of expression and press freedom is terrible. however, it speaks to the heinousness of this crime that turkey is looking really good at the moment compared to saudi arabia. but the reason why human rights
watch and others have called for an international u.n. led independent investigation is precisely because as we've seen, turkey, although it has been making a lot of interesting information cannot be relied upon to conduct a non-politicized investigation. and that is why it is essential that there is an international independent investigation at this point. >> the next question is addressed to the whole panel. if you want to take a job added, and this one is from john andersen regarding the muslim brotherhood. he indicated that the muslim brotherhood is divisible and quite active politically and quite a few countries in the arab world. the way jordan, morocco and so on. there has been some reaction recently, regionally and
internationally and even here domestically in the united states with the sense in congress to kind of outlaw it if you will the brotherhood in this country or pause to put it on a terrorist list and so on. either internal or international layer is pushing line for this policy? >> sure. i mean, imadkhashoggi's death is pushed into the cold where within the orb world regarding the muslim brotherhood. on one side you have the qataris and other countries that have a muslim brotherhood president in kuwait, jordan, morocco and on the other side you have the saudis, egyptians and in varieties were brilliantly
anti-muslim brotherhood. we've seen news reports suggesting that this is a muslim brotherhood plot and used in the intersection of reactors the qataris, turks and muslim brotherhood is used as an absurd to discredit the information that exists on the muslim brotherhood plot. it does have some traction within certain circles of the united states. certainly within the democratic party, but within a party that is very anti-and the suspicious of islamists. including the trump administration. having served in the u.s. government, the challenge of the obstacle to decimate the muslim brotherhood is that the lawyers could make the case. the united states and the rule of law twice and there needs to be sufficient evidence in order
to support it. that's not to say the trump administration so couldn't go ahead. the trump administration in the muslim brotherhood, but that would open up the possibility in the absence of evidence that could be overturned subsequently. international players advocating on one side of the muslim brotherhood debate further on narrow selfish reasons, but you also have interacted and reverberating within what is still in the united tape the rule of law to jealously guards the truth and evidence. fortunately it still exists as a case, but i think the right position is for american audiences to follow the law and to honor those -- honor those precepts because of this process becomes politicized for you have groups been designated because you don't like them, not because there's clear evidence of terrorism or violence, that
opens up the way to really pernicious abuses that could be destabilizing for u.s. society. >> go ahead. quickly. >> just a little addition here. i agree with everything andrew said. there is pressure from summer shames in the middle east on the united states to consider the muslim brotherhood to be a terrorist organization. it would be one less then you and whoever is associated with the brotherhood to live or be active. >> okay, we are approaching the end of our time unfortunately and we do have a lot of questions left. but let me ask for maybe one-liners, short answers for the following questions. what are the prospects for a palace coup in riyadh to demand
demand -- which would have you doesn't have any business interest in traveling to the region soon? any takers? >> i thought there was an attempt several months ago, but you know, with some fire and shootings that we heard, but i don't -- i wouldn't -- i think there could be an effort. >> there are rumors on the internet most laid from the saudi opposition sources about some movements both within the opposition and some even within the royal family complaining about the situation, including some senior princes of our currently quote, unquote on vacation in europe and they have been raising this issue. the next question is from nick
bonneau about the effectiveness of the saudi business, the farm online. it has been dismissed from his position. how important is that factor or is it significant at all? anybody. >> we've seen the role of disinformation on social media play another context as we in the united states know as well. khatami was a unique leader of this movement and there could be something lost if he indeed a sidewalk. because it's apparently not one of those being investigated on criminal charges and i think some of this social media count suggests he is affiliated with the royal court in another way. these actions are going to to continue to take place in social
media platforms to counter it and this will continue to be a challenge for discourse in a democracy rather political context because it so easy to fabricate information and so easy to cast doubt on truth than hard facts when the information is open up and what people have to be a democratic fashion but it's been used up for democracy in many instances. >> she works for pepperdine. they're accused of discriminating this question. what makes the khashoggi murdered different from the persecution of other journalists by the saudi regime. it's not different at all. the only distinction is the fact that jamal is a well-known currency. he's a well-known person
worldwide. he has established extensive networks with people over the years in the different capacities that, you know, where he worked and people appreciated that and like his personality. the fact that he's also writing now where was writing for the "washington post" and i think his colleagues at the "washington post" and his colleagues in general, journalists are not going to let this go. that is i think reflected in the nature and volume of the reaction. ladies and gentlemen. >> just arrived, people are transfixed by the horror of the story and the way it being driven out the information on the turkish intelligence sources. that's a very important part of keeping the story alive. it is an absolutely horrific story. >> please join me in thanking the panel for their great presentations. [applause] thank you all very much for your
impeachment. i think he knew members of congress are looking for him to make mistakes and then when he made those tags and later testified under oath in a way that was false in which he was held in contempt for perjury, bill clinton made his impeachment almost inevitable. >> now, mexico's ambassador -- saturday at noon eastern. the southern festival of books from nashville with author adam parker and his book outside agitator come in the civil rights struggle of cleveland sellers junior followed by a discussion on the political divide with jennifer kavanaugh and michael rich, authors of truth decay. on sunday, coverage continues at 1:00 p.m. eastern with elliott born in his book, let the people see. the story of emmett