The G20 summit that took place in Argentina was the first time in two months, since the Khashoggi case, that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) left his country. Of course, if we don’t count his visit to Mohammed bin Zayed, his friend in the United Arab Emirates.
Every faction of society was curiously waiting for this moment since it would be a measure of MBS’s place in the international community following the Khashoggi murder and its effects. Because, the way things unfolded, ever since the first hours after the murder, pointed to him as the usual and the most possible suspect, MBS naturally entered a process in which he isolated himself.
As no one considered the possibility that this murder could be conducted without the knowledge of the crown prince and as the details about the case were slowly revealed, the opinions in this direction strengthened and people grew even more terrified.
According to the final information, Khashoggi was killed within seven-and-a-half minutes. But for those who killed him or who gave the order to kill him, a terrible nightmare has been continuing for two months.
See, since the Khashoggi murder was revealed, his murderers are dying every day as an unmitigated punishment. The isolation they are experiencing, the way people look at them, the way they hide from them wherever they go, the fact that even though they spent a hundred times more money than the billions of dollars they spent to create positive public opinion about themselves would not be enough to change the opinion people have about them is the first part of the punishment for this vicious murder. We have seen sufficiently for the last two months that those who carried out the Khashoggi murder and those who gave the order will not get away with it.
The most curious issue was revealed with the attitudes toward MBS before and after the summit in Argentina. Virtually, wherever MBS goes, Khashoggi’s soul follows him. Some people said that it was a shame of the whole world that MBS was able to go on such a trip while he is under the shadow of such a murder. To tell the truth, even though the world has many other things to be ashamed of, the stance taken regarding this matter is some way giving hope. Of course, the fact that MBS has the audacity to go on such a trip is another issue.
MBS probably pondered whether to make this trip or not and decided that isolating himself would mean accepting the role that was assigned to him. He would probably think that the most effective way to reject all the accusations would be going out in public and pretend as if nothing had happened, and in this way give the message that he has a clear conscience. That is why he started his visits with the places he trusts. He started with Sisi’s Egypt whose coup and inhumane actions he supported.
We say “Sisi’s Egypt,” because there is another Egypt, the real Egypt and they are very uncomfortable with this visit and reacted harshly against it. Of course, we don’t need to say that Sisi received MBS, whom he sees as his benefactor, very well, just like he expected. MBS tried to console himself with this scene and moved on to Tunisia. Although he received the welcome he expected from authorities here, the protests of the people carrying banners with “You are not welcome” written on them was the climax that marked his visit.
The G20 summit, the stage where no world leader wanted to say hello to him except for Putin, where they particularly tried not to be photographed with him and ignored him summarized his position. These scenes were recorded by the world media with great interest and in complete detail and disclosed to the press. What he encountered in Argentina, where he came with hopes of normalization and in search of establishing his legitimacy, probably made him regret going. In fact, the G20 leaders’ summit in a way declared that he is clearly guilty in the Khashoggi incident with this common reaction. Maybe there is no clear evidence that would show that he definitely gave the order for the murder, but the evidence we have now has left no room to consider the possibility that this murder was carried out without his knowledge. The fact that most of the leaders who were attending the G20 summit put a distance between themselves and MBS in a way showed that they believe this information. Even Trump was reluctant to be close to him in face of this situation.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, however, rejected the crown prince’s attempt to whitewash himself by stating that he doesn’t find MBS statements sufficient. Despite this, as always Erdoğan separated MBS and Saudi Arabia and he didn’t forget to state that even though the murder leads to MBS, this would not be against Saudi Arabia’s interests, on the contrary, it would be in its favor and Saudi Arabia can emerge much stronger.
MBS, who set off on his visits to Egypt, Tunisia, and Argentina in hopes of washing the blood off his hands and reestablishing his legitimacy, found the exact opposite of what he expected in these countries and announced that he will be visiting Algeria and Mauritania on his way back. Mauritania in particular was among the countries who sided with Saudi Arabia in the Qatar crisis and boycotted Qatar. MBS probably hoped for a fancy welcoming ceremony, however, the people of Mauritania have already taken to the streets saying that they don’t want MBS in their country. We clearly see the rift between the administration and the people.
In Algeria, the reactions against MBS’s visit is growing like a snowball and people especially remember the role of Saudi Arabia in the coup against democracy which took place in the early 1990s, causing the death of hundreds of thousands of people. Khashoggi is still following him.
It seems that the continuing punishment for the Khashoggi murder is going beyond the scale of a punishment for the murder of one person. The serial murders that have been committed in the Middle East and across the world, in addition to the murders that are still being carried out, the murderers of which everyone thinks are getting away, are coming out into the open.
As these cases come out into the open, so do the doors of change.