The limits of punishment: Transitional justice and violent extremism
Autonomous weapons and international law
U.S. policy toward North Korea: The human rights and security linkage
Both Egypt and the UAE have come out defending the Saudis. Perhaps they also played some role in the operation. There is no evidence of that aside from the suspicious stops in Cairo and Dubai.
Mohammed bin Salman tried very hard over more than three and a half years to fashion an image of himself as a reformer and even a revolutionary. Now that veil has been torn apart.
[The Saudis are in no position to retaliate to an arms sales ban by reducing oil exports. The Saudis] have serious cash flow problems with a war that costs them $50 billion a year. [The crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman,] is shaking down his own businessmen because he needs the money.
I’m sure the demise of a Washington Post journalist is not a priority for a ‘fake news’ president. I don’t think the Trump administration is going to do anything about Khashoggi... Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, but that said, it has behaved within international norms for the most part. It did not used to kidnap and murder critics in such an egregious way. It didn’t round up hundreds of its own citizens and shake them down in a Ritz-Carlton [as Mohammed bin Salman did last fall]. It has not put a former crown prince under house arrest. This … reflects the somewhat precarious nature of bin Salman’s position. His legitimacy is open, and his judgment is reckless. Saudi royal family members have gone out of their way to say [the war in Yemen] was not a family decision... [bin Salman] continues to enjoy the protection of his father, and that’s what’s crucial. But I would not be surprised if he were moved out of the line of succession or there was an assassination attempt.
The crocodile tears of the crown prince and other Saudi officials are probably for deception and prevarication. The disappearance of Jamal [Khashoggi] fits with a pattern of crude intimidation and the silencing of criticism and dissent.
It’s also worth remembering that North Korea’s practice of seizing, imprisoning and, in one case, probably torturing Americans represents reprehensible behavior that says something about the nature of the regime. I would not give Pyongyang too much credit for undoing something it shouldn’t have been doing in the first place.