The killing of the Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul resonates globally — and powerfully.
In the weeks since he disappeared, his case has become a major story; a focal point for outrage. There is no doubt that the killing of an unarmed writer in such brutal way is a heinous act of barbarism.
Yet, the most important question remains: Who ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi?
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has promised to bring forth clear evidence with videos and audios conerning the killing, however he has failed to provide such an evidence — as promised.
In addition, many in the media immediately jumped — absent clear and convincing evidence — to the conclusion that Mohammad bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, ordered the murder.
Jumping to the conclusion that the leader of the state ought to be the one who would order any crime committed by his government and/or officials constitutes irrational thinking.
For example, Islamic extremists who assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, on the anniversary of the Yom Kippur War on Oct. 6, 1981, were in the Egyptian army and were led by Khaled el Islambouli, a lieutenant in the Egyptian Military Intelligence back then!
It's hard to believe that President Sadat ordered his own assassination!
Sadly, in several countries in the Mideast, government officials can abuse their power and may thus be responsible for some terrible crimes.
The case of the Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi is a complex one. He was not a serious threat to Mohammed bin Salman who was enjoying great relations with the U.S., as well as many other western nations.
In other words, what would Mohammed bin Salman gain from the killing of Khashoggi?
In addition, if he was planning to do so, would he do it in the embassy of his country, leaving clear and convincing evidence of his involvement?
Furthermore, if Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the killing or he was the one who ordered it, would he send 18 people and make such "secretive issue" known to such a large number of persons, while two to three people were enough to do this heinous crime —without making it known to such a significant number of people, which carries a higher risk of releasing such a "destructive" secret.
Since there is no concrete evidence of who ordered the killing, the possibility that the powerful enemies of Mohammed bin Salman (including those who were working in his government during the killing) could have played a role in this assassination — cannot be totally excluded.
The promise of Mohammed bin Salman to "destroy" the radical teachings and his very active steps to move Saudi Arabia toward modernity has been opposed by many Islamic radicals who would not hesitate for a second to do anything — including the killing of Jamal Khashoggi — to damage the international image and reputation of Mohammed bin Salman, and also abort his attempts to fight their radical ideology.
This does not mean that things are now perfect regarding fighting radical beliefs in Saudi Arabia. However, it would be unfair to underestimate the very progressive changes that the young prince has led, in such a short period time, while fighting radical views in his country.
These steps include weakening the religious police ("Motawwa"), allowing Saudi women to drive, and above all, admitting that there is an ideological problem within religious teachings which must be addressed.
I am not in any way jumping to a conclusion of who ordered the killing of the Saudi journalist. However, in the absence of hard evidence to pinpoint these persons, it might be prudent to use logical calculations and analysis until such evidence appears.
Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad: How Radical Islam Works, Why It Should Terrify Us, How to Defeat It." Read more reports from Tawfik Hamid — Click Here Now.
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