Commentary: In post-Khashoggi Saudi, a chance to fill a moral void

As the Trump White House entertains Riyadh’s dubious explanation for the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, the global business community is filling a vital moral void. Dozens of Western executives have cancelled their attendance at the investor conference nicknamed “Davos in the Desert,” which began Tuesday in Riyadh.

The devastating tale of Khashoggi’s murder has an uncanny precursor in the region, one in which business exerted its influence, to great effect. In 1996, Faraj Sarkohi, then the editor-in-chief of Adineh, the Iranian equivalent of the New Yorker magazine, also went missing. He had, according to the customs records from Tehran’s airport, flown out of the country, but never landed in Frankfurt, Germany, where his family was awaiting him. Sarkohi’s disappearance gave a new meaning to the expression “vanishing into the thin air,” as Tehran emphatically denied any foul play. After 48 days of severe torture in captivity, Sarkohi magically materialized in Iran and appeared before a dumbfounded press.

Reuters, October 23, 2018