The disappearance of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi from his country’s consulate in Istanbul, which comes only a week after a German court ordered the extradition of an Iranian diplomat to France accused of involvement in a planned terrorist bombing, reminds us that Russia is far from the only state that is a major danger to peace and Western interests.
That the president of Turkey has accused the Saudi government of sending a team of 15 agents to torture and murder Mr Khashoggi in the consulate is remarkable. That both states are western allies in the world’s most dangerous region makes this especially worrying.
We obsess about Russian espionage, while we have for decades ignored the deeply malign influence of Saudi Arabia, which has spent vast sums of money spreading the least tolerant interpretations of Islam, and this has inevitably led to the terrorist atrocities across the west since 9/11.
Similarly, we ignore the malign influence of Iran, which makes any progress towards Israeli/Palestinian peace impossible by sponsoring the terrorist movements Hamas and Hezbollah.
We need a more realistic view of the threats facing us in an increasingly chaotic and dangerous world, and we need to spend a great deal more money on countering them.