New York: In an interview with Roee Ruttenberg on CGTN-America, Ahmed Fathi the Managing Editor of ATN-American Television News shared his insights over the implication of Saudi about-face regarding the killing of Khashoggi - and the incident's implications for the Middle East's geopolitical landscape.
What is the regional perception of Saudi reversal on Khashoggi’s Killing?
Fathi highlighted that the Saudi position about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi has been shifting 180° every other day from total denial that he was still in the Consulate, to maybe a rogue killers, to acknowledging that the crime might have been premeditated. He added that the Saudi’s have immense resources both economically and financially that it can easily buy nodding by other Arabic and Islamic states, we have seen during the conference in Riyadh which was boycotted by the major international corporate leaders and was attended by King Abdallah II of Jordan, the Lebanese Prime Minister who was reputed to be a previous hostage of the Crown Prince, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, high dignitaries from Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries.
Are the deals that worth billions reported that was signed at Economic Forum in Riyadh despite backlash is just talk?
Ahmed Fathi doubted the nature of these alleged deals and said that when president Trump visited Saudi Arabia as his first stop in a foreign country, he claimed that he had signed deals worth 480 Billion dollars, factchecking this it turned out to be just letters of intent. I am not sure if the so announced deals that different countries have signed in Riyadh in the past 48 hours are true or just letters of intent. That have to be fact checked.
Is Khashoggi’s son and family arrival in the U.S. is a game changer?
Fathi revealed that “Khashoggi’s son is a U.S. citizen by birth, I didn’t think that the U.S. government would have left him behind more than that especially after the brutal murder of his father inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Rumors say that Gina Haspel the Director of CIA has intervened personally to ensure his release. The picture that was released for him shaking hand and his icy look with the crown prince, whom I am sure that the news reached to him that he is the prime suspect in authorizing the killing of his father in that manner, just speaks volumes. I don’t know how much he endured to stand up for this moment!! This is something beyond our comprehension in a civilized manner.”
What are the implications for the Saudi influence and the region geopolitical landscape?
Fathi explained “With regard to the U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia as a state to state, I am not seeing any major shift, there might be pulling out from supporting the current crown prince MOHAMMED bin Salman in favor of another more sane, more moderate Saudi Royal. “
As far of the House of Saud, the news is the that they are in shambles, remember few months ago when they had purged all the high level princes including Prince Metaab who was the head of the National Guard with a huge access to weaponry including an Air Force, and he was the head of that National Guard for decades and his father King Abdallah before he became the king he was also the head of it, so it was a hereditary post yet and within 48 hours all the powers were stripped from the influential royals and sidelined.
I don’t think that the high level princes who are available now even have access to King Salman, whom his entourage and the secretariat are all appointees and associates of the crown prince.”