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Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi knew that the powerful people in Riyadh didn’t like him. He was also well aware of the fact that he would have to pay a heavy price for his rebel attitude and anti-establishment political views. Perhaps, he thought that Turkey would be a safe place for him, as Ankara doesn’t share friendly ties with Riyadh. Still, Khashoggi didn’t feel comfortable when he was asked to meet the concerned officials at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul earlier this month. Later, his fiancée Hatice Cengiz said that Khashoggi was little bit afraid. However, he thought that the Consulate of his ‘own’ country would not harm him on foreign soil.
Khashoggi was wrong. An experienced journalist, like Khashoggi, did not have any idea about the ghoulish side of authoritarianism! So, he had to pay the price! He entered the Saudi Consulate, but didn’t return. Interestingly, his ‘own’ country initially rejected the involvement of the Saudi government in his murder inside the Consulate. More than three weeks after Khashoggi’s death, Riyadh admitted that the journalist was killed inside the Consulate building and it was a well-planned and premeditated murder.

It’s still not clear whether the Saudi Royal family is involved in Khashoggi’s murder. The issue is not only controversial, but also irrelevant (from a different perspective). If such an incident takes place inside a Consulate, then the country takes the responsibility. Naturally, the death of Khashoggi triggered a controversy especially after Riyadh rejected the Royal family’s involvement in the murder. In recent times, West Asia has emerged as the most troublesome region in the world. And the murder of Khashoggi proves that Saudi Arabia has crossed the limit of audacity.
The UN has already given clear cut instructions regarding diplomatic immunities and privileges to its member states. Now, the world body would have to set new rules and regulations for nations, which misuse the diplomatic immunities and privileges, and commit gruesome crime. Otherwise, the murderers of Khashoggi can’t be brought to justice.

Aerial image of Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Riyadh is still trying hard to hide the facts. This continuous attempt to safeguard the perpetrators hints that Saudi Arabia will never punish those who brutally murdered a journalist. Then, who will investigate the incident and who will take the responsibility? Indeed, these are complex issues. Although there is no ready-made answer to these questions, the global community should consider these issues (closely related to international relations) seriously.
It seems that the murder of Khashoggi will have a great impact on the regional geopolitics, as Saudi has two major rivals – Iran and Israel – in West Asia. As it has already become difficult for Iran and Israel to trust Saudi Arabia, the killing of a liberal person, like Khashoggi, might intensify the ongoing crisis in the region and Islamic hardliners could utilise the opportunity in order to gain strength.

Experts believe that the US’ influence in West Asia may make the situation worse by triggering a fresh tension. President Donald Trump has made controversial comments on the Khashoggi murder case. It will become increasingly difficult for other West Asian countries to accept the US’ leadership in the region after the murder, keeping in mind that Washington maintains close ties with Riyadh.
It’s the right time for the global community to tell the US to seriously consider the issue of Human Rights. Or else, countries – like Saudi Arabia – will continue to show the audacity. Riyadh has tried to draw a line under the crisis by allowing Khashoggi’s eldest son Salah and his family to leave the country after lifting a travel ban. Still, the Kingdom faces mounting pressure from sceptical world powers, demanding answers and to know the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body. This pressure should be maintained!

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