While the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi can be laid at the feet of Saudi intelligence operatives, there really do appear to be some “rogue killers” jetting around the Middle East carrying out international assassinations. They are mercenaries provided by private “security firms” inside the United States who send out agents to conduct murder for hire in violation of international law.
As Buzzfeed reports, these mercenaries have been used as a hit squad, working for the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states operating inside Yemen to take out resistance leaders.
“There was a targeted assassination program in Yemen,” [Spear Operations Group founder Abraham Golan] told BuzzFeed News. “I was running it. We did it. It was sanctioned by the UAE within the coalition.”
With Mike Pompeo currently chatting with Mohammed bin Salman, and first reports indicating that Turkish officials finally allowed into the Saudi consulate have found evidence of Khashoggi’s murder, it’s clear that the US is attached to the Saudi regime more firmly than ever. Donald Trump may be lying about the size of the US arms deal with Saudi Arabia, but the Saudis are the number one recipient of US weapons. And the number one use of those weapons is in the proxy war that the Saudis and Iranians are currently fighting across the homes and bodies of people in Yemen.
The anti-Iranian forces headed up by the Saudis and the UAE aren’t just using surplus American bombs to blast Yemenis. They’re using surplus American soldiers. And in arguing that dropping former Green Berets and Seals into a foreign country to carry out an assassination in violation of every conceivable international law, the Pittsburgh-based Golan strikes a staggeringly Trumpian note.
Golan said that during his company’s months-long engagement in Yemen, his team was responsible for a number of the war’s high-profile assassinations, though he declined to specify which ones. He argued that the US needs an assassination program similar to the model he deployed. “I just want there to be a debate,” he said. “Maybe I’m a monster. Maybe I should be in jail. Maybe I’m a bad guy. But I’m right.”
US support for the determinately un-Democratic, rights-free monarchies in the Middle East have long been more than problematic. The ugly result of realpolitik merged with domino theory, the US has defended these relationships even as their supposed partners supported mass murder and brutal suppression of calls for human rights. Under Trump, the frankness of US policy surrounding these monarchies has been genuinely clarified—he supports them because they buy apartments from him. And so long as Jared Kushner can crash at bin Salman’s digs outside Riyadh, Trump doesn’t care if they borrow some assassins.
After all, Trump and Trump’s team have made it very, very clear that the US doesn’t care one whit about international law or the international criminal court.
Yesterday, US national security advisor John Bolton denounced the International Criminal Court (ICC), announcing in a speech that the Trump administration would no longer cooperate with the court and rattling off a number of threats should ICC investigations reach US, Israeli or other allied country citizens.
Assassination, after all, is a growing industry, providing high-paying jobs to highly skilled Americans. The men holding the leash of the assassins, including Erik Prince, brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, have been involved in the Trump campaign from day one.
Trump is really just helping with the export of a vital American product—death.
Experts said it is almost inconceivable that the United States would not have known that the UAE — whose military the US has trained and armed at virtually every level — had hired an American company staffed by American veterans to conduct an assassination program in a war it closely monitors.
Trump and company certainly knew. The only surprise will be if they aren’t profiting from these murders for hire.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.