Reactions to Saudi Explanation for Khashoggi’s Death
The official kingdom cover story discussed in a same day article clearly was fabricated, insulting and unacceptable.
Khashoggi was a neocon/CIA-connected Washington Post columnist – murdered by Riyadh to punish and silence him for criticizing Saudi policies.
On Friday, WaPo editors headlined: “There can be no coverup of this act of pure evil,” strongly saying:
“The Saudi ‘investigation’ of the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which the Trump administration contends needs to be given more time to reach conclusions, does not exist.”
“The Saudi leadership under King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), like the Turkish government, knows very well what happened inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on the afternoon of Oct. 2.”
“Though they pretend otherwise, so do President Trump and his top aides, who have access to US intelligence reports that are being withheld from Congress.”
The NYT was just as blunt, saying “(e)vidence leaked by senior Turkish officials, and presumably shared with American intelligence agencies, overwhelmingly indicates that Mr. Khashoggi was the victim of an elaborate assassination” carried out by a kingdom dispatched hit squad.
“As soon as Mr. Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate on Oct. 2, they subjected him to torture and dismembered him…It’s hard to imagine that so fraught a mission would be approved by anyone less than Prince Mohammed.”
On virtually all geopolitical issues and most others, my views are polar opposite those of WaPo, the Times, and other major media.
The above remarks are an exception, reflecting my views on Khashoggi’s killing, clearly ordered by the kingdom’s de facto ruling authority – MBS.
There’s virtually no doubt about it. Initial coverup and denial followed by shifting blame to other kingdom officials can’t erase his culpability.
Reuters quoted Trump shamefully calling Riyadh’s explanation of Khashoggi’s death “credible.”
The broadsheet said “Republican and Democratic lawmakers responded with anger and disbelief.”
Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted: “To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement,” adding:
“First we were told Mr. Khashoggi supposedly left the consulate and there was blanket denial of any Saudi involvement. Now, (an alleged) fight breaks out and he’s killed in the consulate, all without knowledge of Crown Prince.”
It’s “hard to find this latest ‘explanation’ as credible.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal slammed Riyadh, saying its explanation of Khashoggi’s fate “def(ies) credibility and common sense.”
“No way should the world wait 30 days for a Saudi whitewash or cover up. The US must call for an international investigation that holds accountable all responsible – not just Crown Prince’s fall guys.”
Other GOP and undemocratic Dem House and Senate members made similar comments.
AP News quoted Turkey, calling Riyadh’s explanation of Khashoggi’s death “baseless.”
Turkish intelligence claims to have hard evidence that he was tortured, killed, and dismembered inside the Istanbul consulate.
RT said “(m)ultiple US lawmakers, journalists and pundits voiced their disbelief in the official Saudi account of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death, calling it spin and a cover-up. Some even blamed” Trump.
Sputnik News quoted Trump saying the Saudis are needed to “counterbalance” Iran.
The BBC said Riyadh hopes its “belated admission” about Khashoggi’s death, “coupled with a handful of sackings and arrests – will be enough to draw a line under this affair. It won’t.”
Either MBS “was to blame, or he had lost control of his inner circle, something most observers find hard to believe.”
London’s Guardian headlined: “Evidence suggests crown prince ordered Khashoggi killing, says ex-MI6 chief,” saying:
John Sawers said “his assessment was based on conversations with senior Whitehall sources and his knowledge of the Turkish intelligence services,” adding:
He “would only have acted if he believed he had license from the White House to behave as he wished.”
Trump and his geopolitical team “are waking up to just how dangerous it is to have people acting with a sense that they have impunity in their relationship with the United States.”
“If it is proven, and it looks very likely to be the case, that (MBS) ordered the killing of the journalist it is a step too far – one that the UK, the EU, and the US are going to have to respond to.”
The notion of rogue kingdom elements acting on their own “simply doesn’t hold water.” Accepting the fabricated explanation by Trump, Pompeo and Bolton “further undermines respect for America when it panders to such a blatant fiction.”
“The level of detail that is coming out from Turkish security sources is so clear that some form of tape must exist.”
“The level of detail is very damning of the hit squad…show(ing) how close are they are to the crown prince.”
The Guardian said “Sawers’ remarks are likely to be treated as incendiary in Washington.” He believes infighting in Riyadh by ruling family members, the Saudi business community, and Wahhabi clerics will try to undermine MBS.
Turkish authorities continue searching for Khashoggi’s remains, including in wooded areas outside Istanbul, as well as near the Sea of Mamara, 56 miles south of the city.
It’s unknown if Turkish intelligence has more damning evidence it hasn’t revealed. Erdogan is likely pressing Riyadh for his own self-interest, perhaps for trade or other concessions.
The Saudis have super-wealth to buy influence, likely using it with Washington and Ankara to try diffusing the furor over Khashoggi’s murder.
There’s little doubt about MBS’ dirty hands all over Khashoggi’s abduction and brutal murder.
Its phony cover story fell flat, more evidence of MBS’ incompetence.
Will eliminating Khashoggi be his undoing? Will his father king Salman decide he’s too inept to rule, choosing another crown prince to replace him to diffuse the international uproar?
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”