Khashoggi's Murder Should Have Made Saudi Arabia A Pariah. 7 Men Made Sure That Didn't Happen.

Akbar Shahid Ahmed
From left to right: Joel Rosenberg, Mohammed Khalid Alyahya, Xi Jinping, John Flint, Mitch McConnell, Horacio Rozanski and Brad Klapper.

Illustration by Paul Ryding for HuffPost

Saudi government officials killed Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi and then cut up his body with a bone saw, leaving his remains in a still unknown location, a little over a year ago. Their boss, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will soon host some of the richest and most powerful people in the world to talk about how great his country is at an event dubbed “Davos in the Desert,” and he can still count President Donald Trump as a friend, even after the CIA concluded that he likely ordered the murder.

Despite global uproar last year, justice has been at best delayed in the Khashoggi case. “Though little progress has been made until now, it does not have to remain this way,” Khashoggi’s fiancée at the time of his death, Hatice Cengiz, wrote in the Post in late September. “I continue to hope the United States decides to stand for what is right. In the meantime, I will continue seeking justice for Jamal — and hope that people and governments the world over will join me in my quest.”

Saudi Arabia and its de facto ruler, the prince colloquially known as MBS, have used that borrowed time to shore up their image on the world stage. High-profile backing from Trump has helped. 

But it’s the less flashy work that has counted even more. It’s people like the ones below ― let’s call them the Saudi Seven ― who Cengiz and human rights groups will have to confront if there’s any hope for accountability. Khashoggi’s murder “goes beyond religion, language or geography,” she wrote. “It is a matter of humanity.” These are the people who have made it possible so far for Saudi Arabia to remain a member of the international community in relatively good standing — instead of a government shunned for the brutal murder, within another country’s borders, of a citizen who sought refuge abroad.

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