Skripal vs Khashoggi: Some countries are more equal than others

International politics and hypocrisy have always gone together like sewers and stink, but the contrast between the recent media and government reactions to the Skripal poisoning, on the one hand, and the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, on the other, reflects a new high water mark for duplicity and deceit by the New World Order and its satraps.  

 The blizzard of newsfeed and groupthink from the usual talking heads in the immediate aftermath of the “Skripal affair”, as it came to be known, called for serious sanctions against Russia even before any official investigation had been concluded.  Some went so far as to call the curious incident an “act of war”.  Yet even now, when it is fairly clear that Mohammad bin Salman himself ordered the hit on Khashoggi, no significant action has been taken to jeopardize our relationship with our “great ally” Saudi Arabia for its involvement in the journalist’s murder.  

I do not intend to argue the merits of the actual facts in both cases.  Plenty of excellent journalists have pointed out the obvious flaws in the official narrative surrounding the Skripal affair.  For those so interested, I would point them to this article.  Or this one.  Or this one.  As far as the Khashoggi killing, I don’t think anyone seriously disputes that authorities at the highest levels, and probably the crown prince himself, ordered a death squad to carry out the grisly orders.

No, what I want to do instead is to point out the gross imbalance between the way Russia has been penalized for its supposed role in the bungled poisoning of the obscure double-agent Skripal and the way the USA and the world have tiptoed around doing anything substantive against the kingdom of SA for ordering the gruesome murder of a US resident and internationally published news journalist on the soil of a NATO ally.  To help sharpen the focus of this analysis, I’ll use a timeline of events, focusing on a summary of New York Times accounts and opinions as well as the statements of various politicians presumably representing an official point of view.  Those who are not interested in that level of detail should just skip the timeline and go straight to the concluding “Summary”.  

As a side note, the reason I chose the Times (a paper that any right-thinking person should abhor) is because they represent the groupthink of the Neocon Deep State and the intelligentsia as well as anyone and are therefore fairly representative of the lapdog media as a whole.  All that said, here are the most important daily summaries for the respective articles from the NYT for both the Skripal and the Khashoggi affairs:

+2 days

Skripal (Mar 6): Page A-10.  First appearance in NY Times article.  Comparison already made to death of Litvinenko despite no police evidence of foul play.

Khashoggi (Oct 4): Page A-11.  “What happened to Jamal Khashoggi?”  He is reported missing while SA denies he was in embassy. 

+3 days

Skripal (Mar 7): Story moved up to page A-1.  The ongoing police investigation had so far determined no signs of terrorism, but that didn’t stop Tom Tugendhat, Chairman of the British Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, from stating that “This is a form of soft war that Russia is now waging against the West…”, and calling for the expulsion of the Russian news agency RT from British soil.

Khashoggi (Oct 5): Nothing.

+4 days

Skripal (Mar 8): Story on page A-6.  First police conclusion of “nerve agent” poisoning.

Khashoggi (Oct 6): Nothing.

+5 days

Skripal (Mar 9): Story on page A-7.  Police don’t know what kind of agent had been used, but lawmakers link the poisoning to Russia nonetheless, with one lawmaker referring to the incident as “a brazen act of war”.

Khashoggi (Oct 7):  Story on page A-9.  “Turkish investigators believe a well-known Saudi dissident was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul”.  No international condemnation or even remarks.  

+6 days

Skripal (Mar 10): Story on page A-5.  Police visiting graves of Skripal’s son and wife. Resources used to investigate the case included “…180 military personnel…the Royal Tank Regiment, Royal Marines, and chemical weapons specialists and bomb disposal units.”

Khashoggi (Oct 8): Story on page A-1.  The article treats his disappearance as a “mystery” in spite of the Turkish investigator’s certainty of his dismemberment at the SA embassy.  US Senator Tim Murphy says “If this is true — that the Saudis lured a U.S. resident into their consulate and murdered him — it should represent a fundamental break in our relationship with Saudi Arabia…”  Note the conditional “If this is true” and the lack of any specifics about what a “fundamental break” means.

+7 days

Skripal (Mar 11):  No news

Khashoggi (Oct 9):  Page A-1 and Op-ed.  “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the Saudi government “to support a thorough investigation of Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance and to be transparent about the results of that investigation.”  Sounds very polite compared to the outrage over Russia and Skripal.  The NYT still calls the circumstances as “unclear”, even though Turkey is quite certain he was murdered, noting that SA denied any involvement.  Note the benefits of the doubt given, which was entirely missing from the Russia/Skripal affair.  In the Op-ed, the same courtesies are extended, noting that everything is a mystery but that if SA is proven culpable, why, maybe the USA should cut back on arms sales a bit or consider “downgrading relations with it.”  

+8 days

Skripal (Mar 12):  Page A-6. “On Sunday, the chief medical officer for England, Sally Davies, told reporters that trace contamination had been found at the pub and in the restaurant, Zizzi.”  Apparently, this deadly “nerve agent” was dispensed rather liberally.

Khashoggi (Oct 10):  Front page.  The article lays out the large body of evidence, including an actual video of the murder, that Turkey had accumulated but not yet released publicly.  The only country it mentions asking for international pressure to investigate is Turkey.

+9 days

Skripal (Mar 13):  Page A-9.  The Prime Minister says “The government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal.”  This in spite of the fact that the police reported no such thing.  Further, sanctions and diplomatic expulsion were being called for.  First mention of Novichok nerve agent.

Khashoggi (Oct 11):  Front page and A-11.  “…if it becomes clear that the prince ordered the assassination of Mr. Khashoggi…it will provoke an outcry on Capitol Hill; embarrass American executives…and put Mr. Kushner…in an extremely awkward position.”  So if SA murdered the journalist, it would be “awkward” and embarrassing.  Got it.  The A-11article mentions that 15 SA nationals took part in a grisly murder of Khashoggi but provided no proof.  The silence from the usual suspects in the international community is deafening.

+10 days

Skripal (Mar 14): Page A-1, A-6.  The A-1 article was about the vast Russian spy network supposedly operating in London, while the second focused on Novichok.

Khashoggi (Oct 12):  A-1, A-9, Op-ed.  A Brookings Institute scholar said that if the Saudis “are willing to assassinate a journalist on foreign soil because he was mildly critical, these international partners are going to be much less likely to send their students, researchers and experts to the kingdom or to set up long-term partnerships with the kingdom.”  Oh, so students won’t be allowed to come to SA if MBS ordered the murder of a prominent journalist?  What about an act of war?  Sanctions?  Asset seizures?  No mention of that nor is a single official from any country quoted in the article.  The A-9 article mentions that Turkey says it has audio and video of the killings by SA.  No mention of international condemnation.  The Op-ed is more forceful, calling for a “serious reconsideration of our relations with the Kingdom, no matter the cost, while remaining very unclear on the details of what a “serious reconsideration entails, exactly.  It notes that a bipartisan group of Senators has called on Trump to put some pressure on SA and The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has “asked for an explanation” of the events that day.  How very cordial.  

Trump defends US relationship with SA when asked about Khashoggi-first public statement1

+11 days

Skripal (Mar 15): Front page, A-9 (two articles).  Teresa May expels 23 Russian diplomats, a post Cold War record, amid calls that her response was inadequate.  Neocon Nikki Haley condemns Russia in spite of the fact that no police report had yet assigned responsibility for the poisoning.  In the first A-9 piece, which is an op-ed piece camouflaged as an article, Russia is castigated as a rogue nation with no regard for law or even common decency, and is once again blamed for meddling in the US election.  In a separate article, Trump is vilified because he fails to immediately condemn Russia.

Khashoggi (Oct 13): A-1, A-9.  The A-1 piece contains some refreshing honesty.  In questioning whether museums and on-profits should continue taking SA money to fund their projects and exhibits in the wake of the apparent murder of Khashoggi, “Most of the organizations said that they intended to proceed with their plans…”  So much for integrity.  It’s no surprise that the Clinton foundation had previously managed to suck up $10M in Saudi money for their “non-profit”, begging the question, when there’s that much money to be had in these businesses, when do we start to call them “for profits”, but that’s another story.  The A-9 article reported that Turkey wanted Trump to pressure SA, given that they had video and audio of the killings, while some US Senators were starting to “express alarm”.  

+12 days

Skripal (Mar 16): Page A-10.  The USA, UK, and Germany issue a “rare” joint statement condemning Russia’s role in the Skripal incident.  The UK considers “stripping assets” from Russian billionaires living in London.  Can you imagine?  Taking by force the assets of people not accused of a crime simply by virtue of their country of origin?

Khashoggi (Oct 14): Front page.  At “Davos in the Desert”, an ambitious SA business conference, some parties pull out in protest of the Khashoggi disappearance.  Most don’t.  Technically this article was really more about the conference than Khashoggi.

+13 days

Skripal (Mar 17):  Page A-8 and Op-ed.  British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says Putin is “likely” to be personally responsible for the crime without a shred of evidence to support his assertion.  The Op-ed goes so far as to say that Putin is so brazen that he actually wanted to get caught poisoning Skripal simply as a macho face slap: “…the attack wasn’t simply an act of revenge. It was a statement of dominance.”  

Khashoggi (Oct 15):  Front page, Op-ed.  The Front page headline says it all: “In Trump’s Saudi Bargain, The Bottom Line Proudly Wins Out”.  The Op-ed was by Khashoggi’s fiancé.  

+14 days

Skripal (Mar 18): Page A-9 and Op-ed.  Russia responds, expelling British diplomats.  

Op-ed,  “The poison Putin Spreads”.  ‘Nuff said? 

Khashoggi (Oct 16):  Front page, A-8, Op-ed.  “Saudis May Admit Khashoggi Was Killed In Interrogation By Mistake” reads the headline.  Trump is inclined to believe them.  Some Senators are calling for economic sanctions.  The A-8 piece is a summary of events.  The Op-ed is really just a coupe of letters to the editor about the case.

Trump’s first defiant defense of Saudi Arabia

+15 days

Skripal (Mar 19): Page A-4.  The British say they have proof that Russia has been stockpiling the lethal agent illegally (without offering any, well…proof).

Khashoggi (Oct 17): Front page, A-5, Op-ed: Trump defends the crown prince while Senators call for sanctions.  Associates of Mohammed bin Salman are identified as potential perpetrators of the crime.` The A-5 article mostly details the difficultly of sanctioning Iran when a key player like the Saudis are butchering journalists.  The Op-ed notes that while Trump “almost certainly” does know that Khasoggi’s killing was conducted at the SA embassy based on a Turkish-supplied audio recording of the event, a visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Riyadh was cordial and he and President Trump seemed to accept Saudi denials of involvement at face value.  This Op-ed is important for two reasons.  One, it underlines the hypocrisy of the US position: Can you imagine Mr. Pompeo visiting Moscow at this point and accepting Putin’s denial of involvement in the Skripal affair?  But two, it signals the first full-scale attack on Trump and essentially says he is lying to protect MBS.

+16 days

Skripal (Mar 20): Two Op-eds, one braying that the Brits must “Hit Putin where it hurts” for his dastardly role in the bungled assassination attempt, and the other, in a very rare moment, praising Trump weakly for “finally” having “something bad to say” about Russia.  Because yes, it’s in the best interest of the average American if we bait a nuclear superpower over the death of a dead British double agent.

Khashoggi (Oct 18):  Two Front page, two A-11 articles, Two Op-eds.  One front page article notes that though US spy agencies are “increasingly convinced” of MBS’ personal role in the murder of Khashoggi, the Trump administration notes that SA is an”important ally” who buys a lot of military hardware from the US.  The other once again references the audio Turkish officials say contains a recording of Khashoggi’s death.  One A-11 article is more or less an elegy for the deceased victim, while the other is an op-ed masquerading as an article about the mass psychology related to horrific killings.  One Op-ed takes on Trump for being an apologist for MBS, while another was essentially a couple of letters to the editor with the same message.  

+17 days

Skripal  (Mar 21): No news. 

Khashoggi (Oct 19): Front page, Op-ed.  Trump says for the first time that Khashoggi was probably murdered, but US intelligence is “divided” over the culpability of the crown prince’s involvement.  Trump says in the same breath that SA has been “a very good ally…which I appreciate”.  US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin withdraws from a conference in Riyadh over the killing.  The Op-ed piece calls for serious consequences against SA.

+18 days

Skripal (Mar 22): Page A-7 and Op-ed.  Russia is again accused of “stockpiling” biological weapons.  Op-ed hit piece accuses Trump of being Putin’s “lackey” and suggests he won’t openly criticize the Skripal poisoning because Russia “ has the goods” on him.  Isn’t that a “conspiracy theory”? 

Khashoggi (Oct 20): Front page, two articles on A-6, one op-ed. Saudis say that Khashoggi was killed after he started a brawl in the embassy.  Trump calls the idea “credible”.  One Senator finds it absurd.  One A-6 article focuses on the internal politics of the killing within the royal family, while the other one essentially regurgitates the front page.  The op-ed is simply letters to the editor.

+19 days

Skripal (Mar 23): No news.

Khashoggi (Oct 21): Front page, two articles.  One is full of allegations that SA trolled Khashoggi on his social media accounts.  The other calls into question SA claims that the journalist’s death was accidental or committed by rogue elements, and while it cites an “extraordinary backlash” against SA, it only reports that Germany temporarily halted arms sales to the kingdom and at least one Congressman called for sanctions.  However, Recipe Erdogan of Turkey still has not made any accusations publicly about the incident.

+20 days

Skripal (Mar 24): No news.

Khashoggi (Oct 22): Front page, A-7, op-ed.  Erdogan finally breaks silence, teases he will release details of Khashoggi killing within 48 hours.  In the A-7 article, Mnuchin decides to go to Riyadh to “preserve ties” and has no intention of “scolding” SA or MBS.  The Op-ed makes it clear that the paper doesn’t believe the MBS fantasy story of “rogue agents” killing Khashoggi, and recommends a suspension of arms sales.

+21 days

Skripal (Mar 25): No news. 

Khashoggi (Oct 23): Two articles on Page A-6.  One on A-7.  Two op-eds.  SA used a body double to simulate Khashoggi’s movements after he was actually already killed.  Germany, France, and Britain issued a joint statement saying they wanted assurances nothing similar would happen again.  Still only Germany had suspended arms sales.  The other article showed videos and stills of Khashoggi in his final hours.  The A-7 article summarizes regional reaction to the murder, with Israel bemoaning the fact that it slows down its plans against Iran.  One op-ed took Trump to task for not going harder on SA, the other promoting a more balanced approach of realpolitik.

+22 days

Skripal (Mar 26): No news.

Khashoggi (Oct 24): Front page, two A-8 articles, A-9, three (!) op-eds.  Trump revokes the passports of 21 Saudis, calls the aftermath of the killing a “cover-up”.  On A-8, more of the same from Edogan-accusations of a lies and a cover-up.  The A-9 article said that the Khashoggi affair didn’t stop thousands of guests from all over the world from making tens of billions of dollars worth of deals at the investment conference, and even though Mnuchin didn’t officially attend the event, he met with MBS privately.  One op-ed speculates on Erdogan’s end game relevant to the Khashoggi murder.  The other two op-eds compare MBS to Mussolini and/or Stalin.

last op-eds 

+23 days

Skripal  (Mar 27): Top of Front Page, two articles, plus an op-ed. In article one, US expels 60 Russian diplomats and closes Seattle Consulate, but that isn’t enough to prevent Neocons from saying Trump’s response was too weak.  And, in a second article, 22 nations, including most of the EU, agree to expel another 57 diplomats.  All this, and still no evidence submitted for public viewing.  The Op-ed calls out Trump for “pandering” to Putin, saying he should freeze the assets of Putin’s “cronies” and make sure no more meddling of US elections takes place (still waiting on a shred of evidence it ever did).

Khashoggi (Oct 25): A-1, A-8.  Gina Haspel, Director of the CIA, visits Turkey and is shown evidence of a premeditated killing by SA.  SA acknowledges that it was planned.  On A-8: The Times says that the Khashoggi killing “overshadows” Saudi grand business plans, but only mentions specifically a single cancellation: That of a $1B deal by Virgin’s Richard Branson.

Oct 26…2 stories  Mar 28…1 article

Bibi goes to Oman to discuss back channel to Iran

 Oct 27…no news  Mar 29…one article   Oct 28…2 stories   Mar 30…2 stories

Oct 29…no news Mar 31…2 stories   Oct 30…no news  April 1…1 story   Oct 31…1 story  April 2…   Nov 1… no news  Nov 2… 1 story  Nov 3…1 story  Nov 4…no news   Nov 5…no news  Nov 6…1 story

Nov 6…Meanwhile the murder of a Ukrainian journalist under suspicious circumstances, just one of more than a dozen, merits exactly one story.  Some animals are more equal than others.

Nov 7…1 story but it’s really more about vilifying Erdogan   Nov 8…no news  Nov 9…no news  Nov 10…1 story, but fake news…says on one hand Trump to stop aerial refueling so SA can’t bomb Yemen as easily, OTOH says it has nothing to do with Khashoggi  Nov 11…no news  Nov 12…no news  Nov 13…1 story   Nov 14…no news  Nov 15…no news  Nov 16…US levies sanctions on some Saudis  Nov 17…CIA says MBS personally ordered the killing, yet it’s the only story in this issue-why the silence?  Nov 18…No news, in spite of recent CIA admission-what gives?  Nov 19…1 story  Nov 20…1 story.  Curiously, no op-eds anymore.  Nov 21…2 stories, one op-ed  Nov 22…1 story Erdogan stature rises  Nov 23…no news  Nov 24…no news   Nov 25…no news  Nov 26…no news  Nov 27…no news  Nov 28…2 stories, one which says Bolton didn’t listen to the tape of Khashoggi’s murder, and another saying Senators were saying the US needed to “reassess” the relationship with SA.  Nov 29…1 story, Senate brings to the floor a measure to limit Presidential war powers in Yemen, but it doesn’t mean it would ever actually pass the House and/or even a Senate vote, nor is it necessarily just about Khashoggi (even the NYT calls it a “symbolic step”)  Nov 30…1 story Macron seems to rebuke MBS (but hard to say exactly what was actually said) at the G20 meeting in Argentina  Dec1…no stories  Dec 2…no news   Dec 3…one story  Dec 4…no news  Dec 5…Senators now say they’re certain MBS directly ordered the assassination after hearing from the CIA director, who told them they knew MBS had conversations with the murderers at the time it would have been happening.  Nevertheless,  “Somebody should be punished, but the question is: ‘How do you separate the Saudi crown prince from the nation itself?’” Mr. Shelby said.  Not sure where that sentiment lay when punishing the entire country of Russia or Iran, for example.  Measures discussed including sanctions against MBS personally or stopping military aid to help SA bomb Yemen.  Lots of tough talk, “But privately, some Republicans on Capitol Hill who believe that Prince Mohammed ordered the killing have said that they support the administration’s decision not to impose significant consequences on Saudi Arabia, a key Middle East ally. They argue that the kingdom’s support is needed to confront threats from Iran.”  Oh. Iran, Israel’s enemy.  Got it.  Dec 6…no news  Dec 7…no news  Dec 8…No news  Dec 9…no news  Dec 10…no news  Dec 11…no news  Dec 12…Dec 13…no news  Dec 14…Front page: Senate votes to limit aid to SA in Yemen War.  The article notes that the move is “symbolic” and that it had been under consideration well before the Khashoggi killing.

Strange Coincidences in the Times Reporting

I want to get to a direct comparison of Khashoggi to Skripal, but first, if you will be patient with me, I want to address something else that bothered me about the news coverage specifically on Khashoggi…something quite odd.  If you take a look at the attached graph, you’ll notice a curious coincidence.  In the days immediately after the Khashoggi disappearance (and subsequent allegations of murder), the NYT  published very few stories about the incident.  The few articles that did appear covered only the bare-bones facts, and there were no op-eds written at all.  That is, until Trump began to publicly defend Khashoggi.  At that point, the articles came in waves of around 3 to 5, and even up to 7 at the peak, many of them highly critical of Trump’s friendly relations with MBS.   A skeptical observer might be led to conclude from such data that the paper didn’t take any serious stand on the case until an opportunity emerged to score political points to embarrass Trump.  I will admit that this is speculation, but it does explain the  timing of the “outrage” expressed by the NYT.  

True, it is possible that they had scant coverage of the story, at least in the beginning, because the facts trickled in so slowly that there was little to report.  That doesn’t exactly fit the time line, but still, if I were to be charitable, I’d give the Times the benefit of the doubt.  However, given the proclivity of this rag to lie and politicize about nearly every important news story they publish, it would be completely in character for them to use the news as an opportunity to destroy an ideological opponent in the Khashoggi case as well.  

But there is yet another fluke in the data which centers around Israel.  If you once again take a look at the chart, you’ll note that coverage of the Khashoggi killing dropped off dramatically around October 25-26.  After that date, and as of the moment of this writing (Dec 15), the Times radically reduced coverage of the story, even after the Senate voted to condemn MBS for his personal role in the slaying.  Why would that be, when up until then nearly every issue of the paper contained an op-ed that was highly critical of MBS and called for serious sanctions against SA?  Could it have anything to do with the fact that the first visit by Bibi Netanyahu to Oman in 22 years occurred on October 26, and that the visit was to open a “back channel” to Iran?  A cynic might suggest that Bibi’s trip was a desperate measure to construct a new strategy vis-a-vis their arch-foe Iran in recognition of the reality that Saudi Arabia, who had been an important ally to Israel in their marginalization of the Persian nation, was suddenly struggling.  It would not be surprising if they had concurrently asked the Jewish-owned (and openly Zionist) NYT to lay off of negative reportage of the Kingdom until such time as they had in fact found the work-around Israel needed. Conspiracy theory?  Yes, but so is the official version of 9/11, and what other paper would have the temerity to publish such an idiotic puff piece as this, unless they were more concerned about imaginary phobias than real news?

Could it be simply that other, more compelling stories were hitting the news at that time, pushing the Khashoggi incident out of the limelight?  Perhaps; there certainly were some big stories/false flags breaking about that then, and as I said before, if it weren’t the NYT, I might give them the benefit of the doubt.  But it is the NYT.

That said, I must admit that the Times did write far more articles about Khashoggi than Skripal.  Whether this is because of the fact that Khashoggi was a US resident, or because he was a journalist at the Washington Post, or because, as mentioned before, it represented a chance to gratuitously take a swipe at Trump, I cannot say for sure.  Perhaps, in tabloid journalism fashion, they were simply drawn to the grisly nature of the crime.  I am mostly inclined to believe that the murder of a journalist cuts a little to close to home for the editorial staff at the Times.  They enjoy writing about death and misery…so long as it isn’t one of their own.  The death of a journalist at the hands of the Saudis is a tragedy for the ages, in their eyes.  The cruel slaughter and starvation of innocent Yemenis by the same people, not so much.  Some holocausts, you see, like some animals and some countries, are more equal than others.  

Summary

The hysteric reaction against Russia in the Skripal affair was immediate, universal, and carried with it real diplomatic and trade repercussions.  The relatively subdued reaction to the Khashoggi murder was muted, confined to fewer countries, long delayed, and carried no impactful penalties or sanctions for Saudi Arabia. 

Here are the major differences in the actual facts of the “crimes”:

  • Khashoggi was cut to pieces while he was still alive.  Both of the Skripals survived.
  • Khashoggi was a US resident.  Skripal was a dual UK-Russia citizen.
  • Khashoggi was a journalist critical of an autocratic kingdom.  Skripal was a double agent.
  • The evidence that Khashoggi was murdered on the direct orders of MBS is overwhelming.  The evidence that Putin personally ordered the poisoning of the Skripals has never been presented.  Indeed, there is some possibility that they were not poisoned at all.

From those facts, one would normally conclude that in fairness, Russia should at most be the target of a diplomatic “slap on the wrist” compared to Saudi Arabia, yet that is not the case at all.  Here is a quick rundown of the punishment meted out to each country in the aftermath of the two incidents:

  • The USA closed a Russian Consulate and expelled 60 diplomats as repercussions for the  Skripal matter.  This was the most severe action that the USA had taken since the Cold War.  The USA did not expel any Saudi diplomats for Khashoggi’s execution.
  • The UK and EU expelled a combined 80 Russian diplomats, the most in history, vs. zero Saudi diplomats.
  • The EU issued a joint statement strongly condemning Russia for international violations of law while there was no blanket condemnation of SA for the Khashoggi murder (however, individual countries did make stronger statements against the kingdom and many more called for an investigation).
  • The USA placed a “first tranche” of sanctions on Russia for the Skripal poisoning in August, with a second tranche pending further Congressional action.  No sanctions were applied by the USA to Saudi Arabia that were directly related to the case (there was some diminishment of military aid for the Yemen atrocity war, but that was more due to humanitarian crisis than Khashoggi).  Yes, some individual Saudis were penalized over the imbroglio just as some Russian individuals were, but only Russia was subjected to national trade sanctions.

The level of invective hurled at Russia was also far more hostile than what SA was subjected to:

  • British lawmakers immediately called the Skripal event an “act of war” by a “rogue nation” and that “…the attack wasn’t simply an act of revenge. It was a statement of dominance” by Putin personally.  As if international affairs were a pissing contest between alpha dogs.  But come to think of it, yes, that’s the level this farce has stooped to, thanks to the hubris and faux outrage of the Western political class and the shamelessly biased reporting of the media.  
  • Reaction to the Khashoggi murder was almost polite in comparison. Stories said that the whole affair was “embarrassing” and “awkward”, as if the dismemberment of a journalist inside of an embassy was the diplomatic equivalent of forgetting someone’s name.   Relations between the USA and SA remained “cordial” long after it was well known that SA had killed Khashoggi.
  • Any talk of sanctions against SA was couched in conditional terms.  “Somebody should be punished, but the question is: ‘How do you separate the Saudi crown prince from the nation itself?”, the Times cried in anguish, even while fully supporting extreme sanctions against Iran and Russia.
  • “Requests” were made of SA for a quick investigation of the Khashoggi murder, while Russia was never allowed to examine any of the evidence from the Skripal poisoning despite repeated requests.  
  • The most absurd stories concocted by SA in an attempt to cover-up their responsibility for the Khashoggi killing were described as “credible” by the Trump administration, while any protests from Russia regarding their innocence in the Skripal affair were immediately dismissed.  

It is obvious from these reactions that there was a hugely disproportionate response against Russia based on a weaker case and a lesser “crime”.  The question, then, becomes “Why”?, and most of the answers seem obvious:

  • Russia is not willing to bend to US unipolar rule.
  • Russia is needed as a foil to support US MIC spending.
  • Russia is the only country capable of destroying the USA in a nuclear war.
  • Russia has thwarted USA plans in the ME and Ukraine, among other places.
  • Russia remains defiantly Russian and is not eager to open up to Western influence. 
  • Saudi Arabia has powerful allies in the US Congress.
  • Saudi Arabia is willing to manipulate oil prices at the bidding of Washington.
  • Saudi Arabia has allied with Israel to destroy Iran.
  • Saudi Arabia is rich enough to buy friends.
  • Saudi Arabia buys our weapons.  Lots of them.

So, in spite of the fact that Saudi Arabia is an autocratic regime that murders journalists, bombs civilians, jails dissidents, oppresses women, and shakes down its elites to pay the bills, the USA will play ball with them because they buy our weapons and they are on Israel’s side.  Russia, on the other hand, doesn’t need our weapons and plays its own geopolitical game consistent with their vision of a multipolar world.  Too bad the USA isn’t interested in anything except full spectrum dominance on a global scale.  The overt hypocrisy of US foreign policy is evident not only in the Khashoggi murder but in every part of the globe… as an example, that poor journalist in Ukraine, dead from an acid-to-the-face attack?  Just collateral damage, I guess, in our war to make Ukraine safe for satrap Porky and his Neo-Nazi pals.  Some animals are more equal than others, and some are amoral pigs.  What a world we live in.  

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