Posted by on January 6, 2019 4:00 am
Categories: News µ Newsjones

The fall of the Saudi crown prince after the Khashoggi affair is a cautionary tale for all authoritarian rulers

The trial of 11 people charged with the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi opened and was quickly adjourned in Riyadh last week. It may be that the outcome is fixed in advance. Yet that the hearing took place at all could be seen as progress of a kind. It suggests even a state as autocratic, inward-looking and undemocratic as Saudi Arabia is not immune to international opinion and can be forced, in extremis, to respect the human right to justice.

The Khashoggi affair has provided a chastening lesson for Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, who is widely believed to have ordered the journalist’s slaying in Istanbul in October. Until then, Salman was riding high, courted by Donald Trump, lauded at home for modest social reform and feared, if not respected, across the Arab Middle East for his war of attrition in Yemen and determination to face down Iran.

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