Arab Allies Support Saudi Arabia amid Khashoggi Crisis

King steps in as Riyadh defends itself in Khashoggi case
Saudi Royal Palace/AFP Bandar AL-JALOUD
JOHN HAYWARD

The diplomatic crisis over Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul does not appear to have damaged the Sunni Arab alliance led by Saudi Arabia.

On Sunday, the allied states issued separate but unanimous statements of support for Riyadh and promised to stand firmly behind the kingdom.

Arab News reported UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed stressed the need to “clarify” the details of Khashoggi’s disappearance but said political incitement against the Saudi monarchy is “unacceptable.”

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin al-Khalifa called Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz on the phone to reaffirm his support and offer his “categorical rejection of anyone who tries to undermine the policy and sovereignty of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain’s united stand with Saudi Arabia,” while the Egyptian Foreign Ministry denounced those who would “exploit this issue politically against Saudi Arabia on arbitrary charges.”

Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon, who has an interesting history with the Saudi royal family, stressed the importance of Saudi Arabia as a pillar of Arab society and guarantor of stability in the region.

Oman and Jordan both stressed the importance of conducting a thorough investigation and avoiding a rush to judgment. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas thanked the Saudis for their support and expressed his confidence in the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Yemen’s internationally recognized government said Saudi Arabia has been “subjected to malicious and prejudicial tendencies due to its honorable and honest positions with issues regarding the Arab and Islamic nation and its leading roles in regional and international stability.”

The Yemenis denounced “cheap media and political targeting of Saudi Arabia” as a ploy to disrupt Saudi support for the deposed government against Houthi tribal insurgents backed by Iran.

Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister Anas al-Saleh denounced “the unjust campaign against Saudi Arabia, which is represented by accusations and allegations directed at it,” and rejected what he described as a campaign to “harm the Kingdom and undermine its high status at the Arab, Islamic and international levels.”

The Arab League denounced the threat of sanctions against Saudi Arabia as “totally unacceptable,” a position also taken by the Muslim World League. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation took more of a wait-and-see attitude, praising the joint effort by Saudi Arabia and Turkey to investigate Khashoggi’s disappearance.

“The two countries are capable of presenting a model of bilateral cooperation in the most difficult circumstances, as well as the means to produce results that translate into their good intentions and the depth of good inherent in their leadership,” OIC Secretary-General Dr. Yousef al-Othaimeen said.

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