It may sound cruel but there is a silver lining to Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal murder. As gory details of his murder have emerged, scrutiny of broader Saudi policies including the long festering war on Yemen has intensified.
This is particularly noticeable in the US where both the media and some members of Congress have raised concerns. There are even calls to suspend arm sales to the Saudi regime amid its atrocious human rights record. Donald Trump has so far refused to stop arm sales but the Saudis’ atrocious conduct has been exposed.
True, the Saudi regime has spent tens of million of dollars on lobbying firms to peddle its interests. In many instances, Congressional members have received large donations at the very time when their vote was needed to advance the Saudi geostrategic position.
The Khashoggi episode, however, has shined such a harsh light on Saudi misdemeanors that even some of the most diehard lobbyists have recoiled in horror and distanced themselves from the Bedouins of Najd. Calls in Congress about Saudi war crimes in Yemen have also grown louder amid concerns that it would affect American officials as well, making them complicit.
The United Nation’s latest estimate is that at least 8.4 million people in Yemen are on the verge of starvation. More than 50,000 children have died as a result of Saudi bombings as well as of the siege preventing desperately needed medicines and food from reaching the desperate people. It is finally being reported.