Saudi Arabia & Jamal Khashoggi

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Saudi Arabia says five sentenced to death in killing of Jamal Khashoggi
(WaPo) Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor announced Monday that five people have been sentenced to death in connection with the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last year. But the two most senior officials implicated in the case were cleared of wrongdoing because of “insufficient evidence,” the prosecutor said.
Turkish officials insisted that the murder was preplanned. On Monday, Shalaan al-Shalaan, the spokesman for the Saudi public prosecutor, said an investigation showed “there was no prior intention to kill at the start of this mission.” The CIA concluded last year that the crown prince had ordered Khashoggi’s assassination, contradicting Saudi Arabia’s insistence that Mohammed had no knowledge of the plot.
The verdicts came after a trial in Riyadh’s criminal court that lasted nearly a year and was largely shrouded in secrecy, with court sessions closed to the general public. Diplomats from the United States, Turkey and several other countries were allowed to attend but told not to reveal details of the trial. Members of Khashoggi’s family also attended, Shalaan said.

24 June
Trump puts Saudi arms sales above inquiry into Khashoggi killing
(AP via PBS) — President Donald Trump brushed aside the grisly killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, saying his death has already been investigated and a Saudi pledge to spend billions of dollars on U.S. military equipment “means something to me.”
He spoke just days after an independent U.N. report revealed new details of the Saudi journalist’s death and apparent dismemberment at the hands of Saudi agents. It said there was “credible evidence” that warranted further investigation into the possible involvement of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and called for an FBI investigation.
Trump, in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said the subject of Khashoggi “didn’t come up” when he and Salman spoke on Thursday, the day after the report was released.

19 June
Khashoggi killing: ‘Credible evidence’ linking MBS to murder – UN
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be investigated over the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a UN rights expert has concluded, citing “credible evidence”.
In her long-anticipated report, which was released on Wednesday, UN extrajudicial executions investigator Agnes Callamard said Khashoggi’s death “constituted an extrajudicial killing for which the State of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible”.
Speaking to Al Jazeera just after the report was published, Callamard said based on the information made available to her, “there is little doubt in my mind that the killing was premeditated. It was planned.”
U.N. report firmly blames Saudi Arabia for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi
(Brookings) It’s long past time for the Trump administration to come clean about what it knows about the murder and the crown prince. King Salman should also get more scrutiny.
The report criticizes both the Saudi and Turkish governments for a botched investigation of the murder. The Saudis sent another team after the murder to remove the forensic evidence. The Turks should have done more to interrogate key players, including the consul general. The investigation will never be final without the recovery of the body’s remains. That would require the Saudis’ cooperation.
Like virtually all the investigations of the murder, the rapporteur does not ask the question: What did the king know, and when did he know it? Too many observers paint King Salman as a befuddled old man not in charge. The evidence does not support a simple explanation like that. In fact, the king travels abroad and functions effectively. He just hosted three important summits back-to-back in Mecca and was fully involved. He does delegate enormous power to his favorite son Muhammed bin Salman, but he is also a player especially on issues (like Jerusalem) close to his heart. The presumption of his non-involvement in at least the cover-up of the murder is silly.


8 December
The Wooing of Jared Kushner: How the Saudis Got a Friend in the White House
(NYT) Senior American officials were worried. Since the early months of the Trump administration, Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser, had been having private, informal conversations with Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the favorite son of Saudi Arabia’s king.
…  As the killing set off a firestorm around the world and American intelligence agencies concluded that it was ordered by Prince Mohammed, Mr. Kushner became the prince’s most important defender inside the White House, people familiar with its internal deliberations say. Mr. Kushner’s support for Prince Mohammed in the moment of crisis is a striking demonstration of a singular bond that has helped draw President Trump into an embrace of Saudi Arabia as one of his most important international allies.
A delegation of Saudis close to the prince visited the United States as early as the month Mr. Trump was elected, the documents show, and brought back a report identifying Mr. Kushner as a crucial focal point in the courtship of the new administration. He brought to the job scant knowledge about the region, a transactional mind-set and an intense focus on reaching a deal with the Palestinians that met Israel’s demands, the delegation noted.
Opinion | How a chilling Saudi cyberwar ensnared Jamal Khashoggi
By David Ignatius
This is a ghastly murder story, but as in any complicated case, we look for clues about how and why the killing took place. This killer’s motive was control of information.

4 December
Republicans rage at ‘guilty’ Saudi crown prince
Senators are also angry with the Trump administration, despite a briefing with CIA Director Gina Haspel.
(Politico) The Senate voted last week to advance a resolution that would pull U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s efforts in the Yemeni civil war. There will be more procedural votes either late this week or early next that could force an open-ended debate not only on foreign policy but unrelated matters as well.
The resolution could allow unlimited amendments and become a major headache for Senate leaders unless all 100 senators can agree to limit the process. That would be difficult given the pent-up demand among senators in both parties to vote on items like protecting special counsel Robert Mueller, reforming the criminal justice system and building a wall on the border with Mexico.
Corker said he’d rather the administration respond to Saudi Arabia than force a “blunt” legislative response from Congress. But he seemed to hold out little hope that Trump would turn on MBS after the president repeatedly touted the billions of dollars in arms that the United States plans to sell to Saudi Arabia.
Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas weigh in on the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Belgium and the CIA briefing on Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.

23 November
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Accuses Trump Of Turning ‘Blind Eye’ To Khashoggi’s Murder
Trump has defended Saudi Arabia and its crown prince despite evidence directly linking them to the journalist’s death.

18-20 November
With Khashoggi decision, Trump places economic interests above human rights
(PBS Newshour) “Next week, senators will come back, will have to decide whether they want to put pressure on the president and put more pressure on Saudi Arabia than the president has. And one Republican aide did tell me today that this statement that the president released will likely encouraged senators to put more pressure on Saudi Arabia than the president did.”
In Extraordinary Statement, Trump Stands With Saudis Despite Khashoggi Killing
(NYT) President Trump declared his unswerving loyalty to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, on Tuesday, saying that the prince’s culpability in the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi might never be known.
“It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Mr. Trump said in a remarkable, eight-paragraph, exclamation-point laden statement that appeared calculated to end debate over the American response to Mr. Khashoggi’s killing.
Despite Evidence on Khashoggi, Trump Sticks With the Crown Prince. Why?
Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, cultivated Prince Mohammed, and views him as critical to his efforts to broker a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The prince did help by modulating Saudi Arabia’s response to Mr. Trump’s decision to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem last year.
But the prince’s father, King Salman, has since made clear that the Saudis will not force the Palestinians to accept a deal with Israel — and Mr. Kushner’s peacemaking efforts look stymied.
Given the passions generated by the Yemen war on Capitol Hill, the White House is likely to use the Khashoggi affair as leverage to force Prince Mohammed to wind down the conflict as quickly as possible. But Saudi experts warn that this will be difficult since an abrupt Saudi retreat would further tarnish the prince’s image inside the kingdom.
“It’s very clear that what the administration wants is to buy off Congress with Yemen,” Mr. Riedel said. “But it doesn’t solve the underlying problem, which is that Mohammed bin Salman is a destabilizing force in the region.”

16 November
C.I.A. Concludes That Saudi Crown Prince Ordered Khashoggi Killed
(NYT) The C.I.A. made the assessment based on the crown prince’s control of Saudi Arabia, which is such that the killing would not have taken place without his approval, and has buttressed its conclusion with two sets of crucial communications: intercepts of the crown prince’s calls in the days before the killing, and calls by the kill team to a senior aide to the crown prince.
The C.I.A. has believed for weeks that Prince Mohammed was culpable in Mr. Khashoggi’s killing but had been hesitant to definitively conclude that he directly ordered it. The agency has passed that assessment on to lawmakers and Trump administration officials.
The change in C.I.A. thinking came as new information emerged, officials said. The evidence included an intercept showing a member of the kill team calling an aide to Prince Mohammed and saying “tell your boss” that the mission was accomplished. Officials cautioned, however, that the new information is not direct evidence linking Prince Mohammed to the assassination, which was carried out in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
The C.I.A.’s assessment was first reported Friday by The Washington Post. A C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment.
The increasingly definitive assessment from the spy agency creates a problem for President Trump, who has tied his administration to Prince Mohammed and proclaimed him the future of Saudi Arabia, a longtime American ally.

15 November
Saudi Arabia After Khashoggi
The kingdom comes up with another story on the journalist’s murder. The Trump administration appears ready to buy it.
(NYT Editorial Board) In a one-two punch on Thursday, Saudi Arabia announced it would seek death sentences and the United States levied sanctions against some members of the team of Saudis suspected of murdering Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. So, a month and a half after the killing, all is clear: Attempt to repatriate a critic terribly botched, suspects identified, stern punishments meted, case closed.
And, oh, Mohammed bin Salman, the 33-year-old de facto ruler, exonerated. “Absolutely, his royal highness the crown prince has nothing to do with this issue,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir assured reporters in Riyadh on Thursday. The American sanctions do not rise to the prince’s level, nor to those closest to him.
Whether the latest version will put the Khashoggi issue to rest remains to be seen.

12 November
Saudi Arabia Is Misusing Mecca
In the aftermath of the Jamal Khashoggi murder, the kingdom has exploited the podium of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by using its imams to praise, sanctify and defend the rulers and their actions.
By Khaled M. Abou El Fadl
(NYT Opinion) … the Saudi monarchy has a long history of exploiting the podium of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by using its imams to praise, sanctify and defend the rulers and their actions.
In the aftermath of the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as the world’s accusatory gaze was transfixed on Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi monarchy has again used the Grand Mosque to defend and deify the crown prince in a manner that makes its legitimacy and control of Mecca and Medina morally troubling like never before.
On Oct. 19, Sheikh Abdulrahman al-Sudais, the officially appointed imam of the Grand Mosque and the highest religious authority in the kingdom, delivered his Friday sermon from a written script. Friday sermons at the Grand Mosque are broadcast live on cable networks and social media sites, watched with great reverence by millions of Muslims and carry a great deal of moral and religious authority.
Imam Sudais’s recent sermon put Muslims at an axial turning point: Accept the crown prince as the divinely inspired reformer of Islam and believe and accept his words and deeds or you are an enemy of Islam. Muslim scholars reacted to the sermon primarily on social media with disdain and outrage. Numerous Arabic language comedy shows and talk shows on YouTube reacted with mockery and condemnation.

10 November
Turkey’s President Says Recording of Khashoggi’s Killing Was Given to U.S
(NYT) Turkey said on Saturday that it had turned over an audio recording of the killing of a Saudi dissident to the United States and other Western countries, intensifying the pressure on President Trump to take stronger punitive measures against his allies in Saudi Arabia.
The White House declined to say whether it had a copy of the recording, which Mr. Erdogan said Turkey had also provided to Britain, France, Germany and Saudi Arabia. But Mr. Erdogan’s claim puts Mr. Trump in an awkward position, suggesting he possesses vivid evidence of Mr. Khashoggi’s premeditated killing, even as he has resisted tough sanctions against the Saudis and refused to say exactly who he believes was responsible for the crime.

2 November
In the Aftermath of Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder, Saudi Arabia Enters a Dangerous Period
(The New Yorker) M.B.S. and his cohorts in Riyadh seem utterly determined to bury the truth; they have lied repeatedly about Khashoggi’s murder and their government’s involvement in it. The Saudi government’s latest implausible story is that it doesn’t know where Khashoggi’s body is, even though Turkish officials say the killers dispatched a “local collaborator” to get rid of it. Otaibi might be able to shed light on that, too.
Why was the Saudi regime so determined to silence Khashoggi? Perhaps more than any other Saudi, Khashoggi was rooting out the truth about M.B.S.’s draconian ways and sharing it with the world
According to Human Rights Watch, in the past year, the Saudi government detained at least thirteen women’s-rights activists and at least sixty clerics. Remember the mass detention, in late 2017, of some two hundred and fifty prominent Saudis, including some of the richest people in the world, in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh? The operation, orchestrated by M.B.S. himself, was intended to force the detainees to surrender large parts of their fortunes. Details are sketchy, but it appears that some of the detainees were tortured. At least one man, Ali al-Qahtani, a retired general, died of a heart attack after being subjected to harsh interrogation. Most of those held inside were released, but more than fifty are still inside.
It seems increasingly clear that the Trump Administration, which placed M.B.S. at the center of its Middle East strategy, will do nothing to resist the Saudis’ stonewalling of the effort to find the truth about Jamal Khashoggi’s death. Recently, a senior member of the Trump Administration told me that, inside the government, M.B.S. is widely regarded as reckless—but that it was difficult to imagine that Trump would try to push him out. “Trump’s not going to budge,” the official told me.
That puts matters in the hands of the Saudis themselves. While there have been some hints of discontent within the royal family, there so far appears to be no serious consideration of removing M.B.S.—not yet, anyway.

31 October
Turkish prosecutor says Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered in Saudi Consulate
(WaPost) Turkey’s public prosecutor said Wednesday that Jamal Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered upon arrival at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul earlier this month as part of a premeditated plan to kill the prominent journalist and dispose of his body.
The statement came shortly after Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor, Saud al-Mojeb, departed for Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport. His three-day visit had been billed as a chance for the two nations to cooperate. But it appeared to have yielded few answers. A senior Turkish official said Mojeb did not give Fidan the location of Khashoggi’s body or the identity of a “local collaborator” who Saudi authorities have asserted helped dispose of the journalist’s remains.
It also intensified pressure on Saudi Arabia — now at the center of a global firestorm — to find its way out of a crisis that has elicited sharp criticism from Western allies and put the spotlight on the Trump administration’s close relationship with the kingdom.

25 October
Saudi Arabia, in latest reversal, says Khashoggi’s killing was premeditated
By Tamer El-Ghobashy and Kareem Fahim
(WaPost) Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said on Thursday that Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a planned operation, citing information it received from Turkish investigators in Istanbul, according to a statement from the kingdom’s Foreign Ministry.
It is the latest reversal by Saudi authorities, who last week said Khashoggi was killed accidentally in a fistfight at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul by “rogue” agents. President Trump had initially said that explanation was credible, but in recent days expressed doubts, calling it “the worst coverup ever.”
According to the statement, a joint Saudi-Turkish investigative team “indicates that the suspects in the incident had committed their act with a premeditated intention.”
The announcement underscored the rapidly mounting pressures on Saudi Arabia to fully illuminate Khashoggi’s killing, after its previous explanations were contradicted by Turkey and met with skepticism by the United States, a close Saudi ally.
Thursday’s announcement comes days after CIA Director Gina Haspel traveled to Turkey and listened to audio purportedly capturing the journalist’s murder, giving a key member of Trump’s Cabinet access to the central piece of evidence Turkey has used to assert that the killing was planned.
It also came two days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave a speech calling Khashoggi’s killing “brutal” and “planned” while demanding that the perpetrators be extradited to Turkey.
[How Turkey’s president pressured the Saudis to account for Khashoggi’s death]

23 October
Erdoğan’s Khashoggi speech poses tough questions for Bin Salman
Turkish leader appears to tread carefully when it comes to revealing evidence but clearly wants answers
(The Guardian) In the speech to members of his AK party on Tuesday, he pointedly said he would only cite evidence about which he was certain, and the tone was not as bloodcurdling as that often mustered by Erdoğan at party rallies. But the list of questions posed by Erdoğan, such as the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body and the identity of an alleged local cooperator who dumped it, was not designed for rhetorical effect. They are the exact questions the Turkish president expects King Salman to ask of his son, the crown prince. Similar questions are being asked in western capitals.
It was revealing that Erdoğan stressed his belief that King Salman was sincere and cooperating with the inquiry, but made no such reference to Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader.
Indeed the speech, read carefully, is a charge sheet being prepared to be laid at the feet of Bin Salman. “Intelligence and security institutions have evidence showing the murder was planned … Pinning such a case on a handful of security and intelligence members will not satisfy us or the international community,” Erdoğan said. “From the person who gave the order, to the person who carried it out, they must all be brought to account.”
The aim appears to be to persuade the king that the only way to save Saudi Arabia’s reputation is either by dislodging Bin Salman or at a minimum reining in his powers.
How the man behind Khashoggi murder ran the killing via Skype
(Reuters) – He ran social media for Saudi Arabia’s crown prince. He masterminded the arrest of hundreds of his country’s elite. He detained a Lebanese prime minister. And, according to two intelligence sources, he ran journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by giving orders over Skype.
Saud al-Qahtani, a top aide for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is one of the fall guys as Riyadh tries to stem international outrage at Khashoggi’s death. On Saturday, Saudi state media said King Salman had sacked Qahtani and four other officials over the killing carried out by a 15-man hit team.

22 October
The Economist sums the situation up neatly:
The fate of Jamal Khashoggi
A brazenly absurd cover-up
Saudi Arabia has finally admitted that Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who vanished after entering the consulate in Istanbul, is dead. Saudi officials claimed that Mr Khashoggi was killed after a brawl inside the consulate with unnamed men, adding that Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman, had nothing to do with it. Either they are lying or Prince Muhammad cannot control his aides

21 October
As Khashoggi crisis grows, Saudi king asserts authority, checks son’s power: sources
(Reuters) Initially the king, who has handed the day-to-day running of Saudi Arabia to his son, commonly known as MbS, was unaware of the extent of the crisis, according to two of the sources with knowledge of the Saudi royal court. That was partly because MbS aides had been directing the king to glowing news about the country on Saudi TV channels, the sources said. … several of the sources close to the royal family said that King Salman had grown increasingly detached from decisions taken by MbS.
“He has been living in an artificially-created bubble,” said one of the sources. Lately, though, the king’s advisers have grown frustrated and begun warning him of the risks of leaving the crown prince’s power unchecked.
“The people around him are starting to tell him to wake up to what’s happening,” the source said.
Saudi attempts to distance crown prince from Khashoggi killing haven’t quieted uproar
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister denied on Sunday that the nation’s powerful young crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s killing, but the attempt to distance Mohammed bin Salman from the journalist’s demise did little to blunt an international uproar that could test Saudi Arabia’s status as a regional ­power.
At the same time, Saudi officials have failed to answer questions about where Khashoggi’s remains are and have offered inconsistent narratives for how he was killed, undermining the government’s assertion that Khashoggi died after a fistfight broke out when he was confronted by agents seeking to bring him back to Riyadh while he was visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
That explanation will face a fresh challenge on Tuesday when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to reveal details of his government’s investigation into the killing of Khashoggi, a move that could directly contradict Saudi Arabia’s official account of what happened inside its consulate.

19-20 October

World reacts to Saudi confirmation of Jamal Khashoggi’s killing
Where does the Jamal Khashoggi case leave Saudi Arabia?
A round-up of international reaction following Saudi Arabia’s explanation for dissident journalist’s killing.
(Al Jazeera) “Each successive narrative put out by the Saudis to explain what happened to Khashoggi has strained credulity,” said Kristian Ulrichsen, a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute in the United States.
“Especially because the Saudis are still unable or unwilling to produce the one piece of evidence – a body – that could provide a definitive answer one way or the other.”

Saudi claims that Khashoggi died in a ‘brawl’ draw immediate skepticism
The Saudi findings, which all but absolved the heir to the throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, increased pressure on the Trump administration to mount an independent investigation into Khashoggi’s death.
(WaPost) CIA officials have listened to an audio recording that Turkish officials say proves the journalist was killed and dismembered by a team of Saudi agents inside the consulate, according to people familiar with the matter. If verified, the recording would make it difficult for the White House to accept the Saudi version that Khashoggi’s death was effectively an accident. A CIA spokeswoman declined to comment.

NYT Editorial Board: A Saudi Prince’s Fairy Tale
The crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, issues another incredible explanation for the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
The question now is not whether the Saudis’ latest explanation for Jamal Khashoggi’s death is credible, but whom do they think they’re fooling. In the autocratic world of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, what common people think is irrelevant; what matters is whether throwing his hit men under the bus is enough to satisfy President Trump. … The Saudi story has been widely dismissed as a pathetic attempt to acknowledge what has become undeniable — that a band of 15 Saudi agents flew in to Istanbul on the day Mr. Khashoggi was expected at the Saudi Consulate and killed him there. It also insulates Prince Mohammed, the wielder of real power in Saudi Arabia, from any responsibility.
So now the 15 agents, plus a driver and two consular staff — essentially all the witnesses minus the consul general, who returned to Saudi Arabia and has not been heard from since — have been arrested, while General Assiri and a close aide to the crown prince, Saud al-Qahtani, and a few other intelligence officials, have been fired. Misdeed acknowledged, culprits punished, crown prince cleared, Mr. Trump satisfied.
Uh-huh. Among the many problems with this story is that nobody will seriously accept that a mild, 60-year-old journalist put up such a fight that he had to be killed, and it does not explain why one of the agents sent to Istanbul was carrying a bone saw, or why the Turks said they had evidence that Mr. Khashoggi was tortured and dismembered. Nor does it explain why it took the Saudis more than two weeks to acknowledge even that Mr. Khashoggi was dead.

Evidence suggests crown prince ordered Khashoggi killing, says ex-MI6 chief
Sir John Sawers says theory that rogue Saudi military officers were responsible is ‘blatant fiction’
(The Guardian) Sawers said he respected the thoroughness and professionalism of the Turkish intelligence services: “The level of detail that is coming out from Turkish security sources is so clear that some form of tape must exist.”
He suggested the tensions between Turkey and Saudi Arabia over the past decade would mean Turkey “will be monitoring very closely what goes on inside Saudi offices. They may well have had the consulate general bugged in some way, or there may have been other devices carried out by the squad that carried out the assassination that they were able to intercept.

17 October
Jamal Khashoggi on Sept. 29. Photographer: Jehan Alfarra/Middle East Monitor
Khashoggi’s Name Runs Through Middle East History
(Bloomberg) From the Ottoman Empire to interviewing Osama bin Laden, the family’s ties are a tapestry of intrigue.
The Khashoggi family served the Ottoman Empire in Islam’s holy lands for centuries after leaving Anatolia, the heartland of current-day Turkey. A grandfather became personal physician to modern Saudi Arabia’s first ruler, King Abdulaziz Al Saud, after the Ottomans left in the early 20th century. One of the doctor’s sons, the late arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, gained notoriety for his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal that rocked Ronald Reagan’s administration. … A grandson of the king’s doctor was Princess Diana’s lover Dodi Fayed, who met his death in the same car crash that took her life in a Paris tunnel in 1997. Jamal Khashoggi himself was catapulted to prominence at home with an early interview of Osama bin Laden, who had gone to Afghanistan to fight Soviet invaders. Like Adnan and his father Mohammad, Jamal Khashoggi was courted by the House of Saud for his intellect and influence. He was the editor of a major newspaper, Al Watan, and a trusted adviser in both official and unofficial roles.

Secret recordings give insight into Saudi attempt to silence critics
(WaPost) Abdulaziz, who has asylum in Canada, said he had been working on several projects with Khashoggi that may have given the Saudi leadership more reason to want him out of the way. Khashoggi had sent him $5,000 for a project they called “the bees” — an initiative to build an online “army” inside Saudi Arabia to challenge pro-government trolls on the Internet. The pair were also working on a short film, a website tracking human rights and a pro-democracy project, Abdulaziz said.
This work was supposed to be secret. But Abdulaziz said he was targeted by Saudi spyware this summer. “They had everything,” he said. “They saw the messages between us. They listened to the calls.”
In the recording made by Abdulaziz, the two visitors say repeatedly that they come personally from the crown prince. They also mention that they were working on orders from Saud al-Qahtani, a top strategist and enforcer for Mohammed.

6-15 October
Saudi Arabia will reportedly admit to killing Jamal Khashoggi
(NY Post) Saudi Arabia is prepared to admit that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed during an interrogation that went wrong, according to reports on Monday.
The kingdom is readying a report that will say Khashoggi’s death happened during an interrogation before being removed from Turkey, CNN reported.
The report will conclude that the operation was carried out “without clearance” and that those involved will be held responsible, the network said, but cautioned that it could still change.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that Khashoggi was killed during a botched interrogation.
Separately, the New York Times reported that Saudi Arabian officials were developing a scenario that would shield Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman from any involvement

Crown prince sought to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him, U.S. intercepts show
(WaPost) The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered an operation to lure Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia from his home in Virginia and then detain him, according to U.S. intelligence intercepts of Saudi officials discussing the plan.
The intelligence poses a political problem for the Trump administration because it implicates Mohammed, who is particularly close to Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. On Wednesday, Kushner and national security adviser John Bolton spoke by phone with the crown prince, but White House officials said the Saudis provided little information.

Khashoggi case: CCTV disappears from Saudi consulate in Turkey
Security footage removed and Turkish staff told to go home on day missing journalist visit
(The Guardian) Investigators believe the squad responsible for his disappearance from the Saudi consulate spent several hours at the nearby consul general’s house before leaving for the airport in a convoy of six cars, one of which is thought to have carried the missing dissident or his body.
Details of the planes used to fly 15 Saudi officials from Riyadh to Istanbul have also been confirmed. Two corporate jets rented from a company frequently used by the Saudi government arrived in Istanbul on 2 October and left separately the same evening. Flight tracking records show they both later continued to Riyadh. Turkish investigators believe the CCTV footage from inside the consulate was onboard.
Saudi government planned Jamal Khashoggi hit: NY Times
Saudi writer was killed and dismembered in Istanbul consulate by hit squad deployed by Saudi leadership, report says.
Turkey to search Saudi consulate for Jamal Khashoggi
Riyadh open to examination of consulate, Turkey’s foreign ministry says, a week after disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.
(Al Jazeera) Anonymous Turkish sources told the Reuters news agency on Saturday there was evidence he was killed inside the building in what they called a “premeditated murder”.
UN voices ‘serious concern’ over disappearance of Khashoggi
Comments by the UN human rights body comes amid the growing chorus of concern over the fate of the Saudi journalist.
US officials voice concern over missing Saudi journalist
Chorus of comments by US indicates level of anxiety over Jamal Khashoggi’s fate and effect on Saudi American relations.
Al Arabiya, as would be expected, has a different take on the story:
Saudi ambassador to US: All reports on Khashoggi’s disappearance, killing false
Thomas Friedman: Praying for Jamal Khashoggi
Saudi Arabia stands accused of killing him. If it did, it will be a disaster for the regime of Mohammed bin Salman.
My views on Saudi Arabia are my own, but Jamal had a big impact on them. He had been inside the government. He understood that perfect was never on the menu there; you had to work with what you had. He loved his country and wanted to see it succeed, and believed that M.B.S. could shake things up and make the needed radical reforms — but also believed that M.B.S. needed a lot of coaching, because he had a dark side and was too isolated inside a small ruling circle.
As the year went on, Jamal came to believe that M.B.S.’s dark side was completely taking over.

Saudi journalist ‘killed inside consulate’ – Turkish sources
Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of Riyadh, had gone to the building in Istanbul seeking documents for his marriage
(The Guardian) Turkish officials believe that missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and his body later driven from the compound.
Turkish police believe Khashoggi killed inside Saudi consulate
(Al Jazeera)  Khashoggi, who had been living in self-imposed exile in the US for over a year, was one of the best-known critics of the Saudi government’s reform programme under the stewardship of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In his writings for the Washington Post, the Saudi commentator had slammed Saudi policies towards Qatar and Canada, the war in Yemen, and a crackdown on dissent and the media in the kingdom.


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