Jamal Khashoggi’s severed fingers were returned to Saudi Arabian authorities as evidence that he had been tortured and murdered. This is just one of the more gruesome allegations surrounding the assassination of the journalist and high-profile critic of the Saudi government.
He was lured to the Saudi consulate in Turkey to obtain papers for his upcoming wedding. There he was ambushed and murdered by agents of the Riyadh government. Then his body was dismembered.
Given that Khashoggi had lived in America, the murder sent shockwaves through US political circles. American intelligence claimed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and his close advisers ordered the killing.
The prince has vehemently denied these allegations, insisting that “rogue elements” acting on their own initiative committed the murder.
Despite such an extreme example of state-sponsored terror, US President Joe Biden chose, as one of his critics put it, to “dine with the devil” because it might aid his political survival.
Biden, grappling with dismal poll numbers, a struggling economy and a grueling war in Ukraine, accepts that like many of his predecessors, he cannot afford a long-term rift with the Saudis.
The reason, of course, is black gold. This vast oil reservoir in the Arabian Desert helps boost the economies of many Western countries, including the United States. History shows that “the price of gas” is one of the key tests of American political survival.
As the developed world grapples with a deepening energy crisis, Biden had no choice but to put aside the morality of Khashoggi’s murder and attempt to do business with the Saudis.
But there were agonizing moments for him when Air Force One landed in the Saudi capital – that fist bump he exchanged with the prince will haunt the rest of his days.
The president later insisted that he raise the Khashoggi assassination with the all-powerful Saudi ruler, but this was later denied by the country’s foreign minister.
Biden’s stopover in Israel was superficial; it was a reminder that his presidency lacked conviction in several areas of foreign policy.
Washington insiders, however, insist his thinking on international relations is dominated by the rise of China.
Biden offered some words of comfort to the Palestinians, but it is clear that there will be no real American initiative to try to bring about the two-state solution.
He suggested some parallels between the history of Palestinian dispossession and Ireland’s experiences over the centuries.
Biden is the most emotional Irish White House resident in history, unlike the Anglophile John F. Kennedy, but for now we have to worry about his ability to win a second term.
Overall, his visit to the Middle East showed that his government has no new ideas on the never-ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This means that younger Palestinians are left with a terrible hopelessness about the future.
On the other side of the Israeli-Arab riddle, a memorial service in Paris on Sunday marked the 80th anniversary of the mass arrests of Jewish men, women and children who were sent to the gas chambers.
The meaning is that the arrests were made by the French police. This was one of the most blatant examples of collaboration between the French authorities and the Nazis during the German occupation.
It was not until 1995 that President Jacques Chirac refuted earlier denials by Charles de Gaulle and others that France helped the Nazis send innocent Jews to the death camps
“The criminal madness of the occupiers was supported by the French, by the French state,” he said in expiatory words.
And so, from the perspective of the White House, the wheel continues to turn. Biden’s desire to “do the right thing” is crumbling into a mix of the most nasty murder and the need for oil.
When it comes to that old hopeless squabble between Jews and Palestinians, things just go haywire.
Our man in the White House looks like someone who is meeting the challenges of the past few years.
His age tells us he’s in his sunset phase. Hopes of its bright new dawn are fading.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/biden-bumps-fists-with-saudi-crown-prince-but-sups-with-the-devil-41861316.html Biden bangs fists with Saudi crown prince but dines with the devil