Fintan O’Toole: Khashoggi’s murder reveals a reality the West wants to hide
The deal with Saudi Arabia has always been: everything’s fine as long as the oil flows
In June 1921 the British colonial secretary, Winston Churchill, addressed the House of Commons. He explained the situation on the Arabian peninsula – and by extension the truth of the current crisis precipitated by the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
During the recently ended first World War, Britain had encouraged, most famously through TE Lawrence (“of Arabia”), an Arab revolt against the Turks, blessed by the ruler of the holy city of Mecca, King Hussein. The British had sworn eternal friendship to Hussein but now, Churchill noted, there was a new force on the peninsula: “powerful nomadic tribes, at the head of whom the remarkable chief Bin Saud maintains himself”.