By DR. GLENN MOLLETTE
To The Desert Independent
October 20, 2018
If you have to choose between Hotel California and the Ritz Carlton, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia you would be happier at the hotel from the famous song. Dozens of persons were held as prisoners at the palatial hotel in 2017 by the Saudi government.
All those who were held were accused of criminal behavior and this apparently included several Saudi "princes" and others whose bank accounts are beyond most Americans' imaginations. The government got billions of dollars out of those individuals before they were released from the hotel.
The Saudis know how to make people pay. If you are found guilty of numerous crimes in this nation they will publicly behead you and then hang your headless body in a public square. Your crime doesn't have to be murder. You can be beheaded for a much less offense. Don't think about adultery because at a minimum you'll get a hundred lashes and if you are a married adulterer you may be stoned to death.
Recently women have been allowed to obtain drivers' licenses and attend some major sporting events. I would never willfully allow a daughter to travel to this country.
The torture and barbaric death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is shocking but not by Saudi Arabia's standards. This is how they do business. Thinking he was safely obtaining a legal document attesting to a divorce resulted in a shocking murder that we hear about daily on the news. Khashoggi had been to the Consulate on September 28 but had been told he would have to return on October 2 to pick up the document. Obviously, the date and time allowed for the Saudi's to prepare for his murder.
M.B.S., or Mohammad bin Salman is the Crown Prince or deputy prime minister of this nation of oil tycoons. M.B.S. did not like the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Khashoggi, once was once very involved in the media of Saudi Arabia but left the country for America. He had become a columnist for The Washington Post and had some serious concerns about the inhumane treatment of his fellow citizens. He wrote about his concerns in his columns.
M.B.S. has been described as the power behind the throne of his father, King Salman, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. He was appointed Crown Prince in June 2017 following King Salman's decision to remove Huhammed bin Nayef from all positions, making M.B.S. the apparent heir to the throne. It has been reported that the Crown Prince has denied any knowledge of the murder of Khashoggi.
M.B.S. has received a lot of credit for advancing women's rights in Saudi Arabia. He has also been praised for his strides toward social and economic advancements to include promoting tourism and expanding technology in the country. However, any international positive accolades toward him are now on a downhill slide.
The arrest by Saudi security services of scores of prominent businessmen who were imprisoned inside the Ritz Carlton under the guise of an anti-corruption crackdown was a crock. Khashoggi heard from friends in Saudi Arabia that prisoners were coerced, in some cases tortured, into turning over billions of dollars to the government. Khashoggi became convinced that M.B.S. who had sold himself as a reformer was a brutal authoritarian.
Khashoggi used his column to expose M.B.S. for arresting people who were not radicals but were reformers for women's rights and an open society. People were arrested to spread fear.
It has been widely reported that In March 2018, M.B.S., ordered Khashoggi to be silent. Allegedly, Khashoggi received a phone call from a media adviser to the kingdom's ascendant deputy Crown Prince, M.B.S. and said to him, "You're not allowed to tweet or write your column or give comments to foreign journalists."
Khashoggi continued on with his freedom of speech provided to all in this great country. Unfortunately, he made one miscalculation and that was going back to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he met his barbaric fate. He thought he was safe because he was on Turkish soil. He guessed wrongly. His gruesome death will only further propel the truth of his columns about Saudi Arabia's brutal authoritarianism royalty.