Why was MBS so afraid of Jamal Khashoggi?

The yearning for public debate is shared by other Saudis. My friend Hussein Shobokshi was fired by the Jeddah newspaper Okaz in 2003 after he wrote a column dreaming about a more modern Saudi Arabia where his daughter could drive, a comprehensive annual budget was published and leaders were elected. All three have happened, if you count Saudi municipal elections, he told me Thursday. He’s still a journalist, now hosting a weekly show on Al Arabiya.

Those who truly want a modern and prosperous Saudi Arabia could start by building on Khashoggi’s legacy. A country that cannot tolerate criticism will never be, as one of the slogans at this week’s Riyadh conference put it, “a road map for the future of civilization.” That could be Khashoggi’s gift in death: a chance for Saudi modernizers to make a fresh start, without the brutal trappings of autocratic power.