Questions for an 'Ambitious Reformer'? Why Bloomberg's Khashoggi Story Sucks

Published October 9th, 2018 - 09:03 GMT
Bloomberg's Twitter
Bloomberg's Twitter

Do you see the recent Bloomberg opinion about Mohammed bin Salman, and the supposed ‘test’ that the death of Jamal Khashoggi brings? Apparently, if you torture, murder and dismember a prominent critic of your authoritarian grip on power, you get called a ‘visionary reformer’ by Bloomberg. How fun.

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Khashoggi was last seen walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where some Turkish authorities believe a 15-man death squad sent by Riyadh apprehended him and killed him. Before that, he sentenced more than a dozen peaceful human rights activists to go to jail for criticizing him.

He has also ordered prominent Shia activists to die. He engineered the Saudi-led war in Yemen, including its medieval style besiegement of the entire country that has produced the worst humanitarian crisis on Earth. He arrested and extorted hundreds of members of the Saudi royal court under the guise of an ‘anti-corruption investigation,’ while he spent billions on art, mansions and yachts. He also had some of his rivals in the Saudi family killed.

But somehow, Bloomberg think he’s a pretty nice guy. Him likely ordering the brutal murder of a critic is a ‘test’ for him rather than a reason to believe he’s a tyrant who will stop at nothing to silence dissent.

 

Deep thoughts from Bloomberg (Bloomberg)

Bloomberg’s Bobby Ghosh also thinks that journalists simply focus too much of their attention on bin Salman’s reign of arrests, torture and mass murder rather than focusing on what really matters: privatizing parts of the Saudi economy.

While we’re at it, Mohammed bin Salman has a lot of friends in the U.S. and U.K. press. Thomas Friedman had a dinner with him and walked away convinced that bin Salman would bring about the Saudi Arab Spring. The Times of London loaded praise on the young prince in his visit to the U.K., complimenting his style and swagger.

Mohammed bin Salman’s ‘reforms’ are just boilerplate neoliberal economics that privatize key sectors of the economy to the detriment of the country’s poor and working class. One reason why Saudi’s economy needs to be reformed in the first place is because bin Salman bankrupted the country through funding the never-ending war in Yemen.

 

What’s so eerie about the coverage of Mohammed bin Salman is that whenever he promises economic or social reform, he is written as the leader in charge of the country directing a profound revolution that will take his country from the depths of antiquity and thrust it into the light of the modern world. But whenever he directs a war brutal war effort, mass-arrests or torture, he is written as passive and distant from these acts, as if he weren’t the one ordering them.

This misportrayes his actual power. Mohammed bin Salman is the one ordering these brutal acts. And as the country's de facto ruler, he is responsible for them. 

If he can murder dissidents and still be called an 'ambitious reformer,' what else can he get away with? When will the love affair with this man end? 

Read Bloomberg's piece on him if you want to subject yourself to it.


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