Shifting Blame for Khashoggi’s Saudi Regime Ordered Murder
Make no mistake. Eliminating Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent insider Saudi national/turned critic self-exiled to America, clearly was ordered by the regime’s de facto highest authority – crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) in charge of kingdom policymaking.
No one at a lower level would dare ordering it on their own without MBS authorization.
A previous article explained how he’d likely try avoiding responsibility for Khashoggi’s murder, saying:
Machiavelli explained how rulers should distance themselves from state-sponsored criminality – shift blame onto convenient patsies.
MBS followed the principle, admitting Khashoggi was killed inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, blaming others to try exonerating himself of culpability.
Step one was recalling and sacking the kingdom’s Istanbul consul general Mohammed al-Otaibi. It’s highly unlikely an official at his level would dare order Khashoggi’s disappearance and murder on his own – nor anyone else other than MBS or king Salman, an aging frail despot in fading health, why ruling authority was transferred to his favorite son, the crown prince.
On Saturday, the state-controlled Saudi press agency implausibly claimed Khashoggi died after a brawl occurred inside the consulate.
A clearly fabricated statement by kingdom attorney general Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said the following:
“Discussions that took place between him and the persons who met him…at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul led to a brawl and a fist fight with the citizen, Jamal Khashoggi, which led to his death. May his soul rest in peace,” adding:
“The investigations are still under way, and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested.”
MBS adviser Saud al-Qahtani, deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Asiri, and three other kingdom officials were sacked, 18 arrests made. No information was provided on the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s likely dismembered body.
Unsurprisingly, Trump accepted the falsified explanation, calling it “a very important first step,” adding punishment of the kingdom if ordered won’t cancel US arms sales to the kingdom.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the following:
“The United States acknowledges the announcement from the kingdom of Saudi Arabia that its investigation into the fate of Jamal Khashoggi is progressing and that it has taken action against the suspects it has identified so far,” adding:
The White House will continue following international investigations into his death, advocating “timely, transparent…justice.”
Center on National Security at Fordham Law director Karen Greenberg expressed surprise about the implausible kingdom explanation, saying:
“They knew they had to come up with a story, and this is what they think is the best story for their purposes. It’s at the very least insufficient, but it’s also insulting. It’s ‘here’s our story and we’re sticking to it,’ ” adding:
King Salman should have removed his son, the crown prince, from power for Khashoggi’s abduction and murder.
“This is a brutal, horrifying, pointed assassination of a journalist who had strong ties to the West and was a resident of the United States. Each one of those is a line that you wouldn’t have expected the king to allow to be crossed.”
Claiming MBS had nothing to do with Khashoggi’s brutal murder clearly is untrue.Turkish intelligence claims to have audio evidence of his assassination inside the Istanbul consulate.
The official cover story is implausible, insulting, and unacceptable, likely convincing no one other than top US and other Western officials, wanting relations with the kingdom remaining unchanged.
Given hard evidence it claims to have, it remains to be seen how Turkey intends responding to the Saudi explanation.
Ahead of the kingdom’s announcement, President Erdogan said Riyadh “has to shed light on this issue. It is not a case that just can be dismissed,” adding Ankara will reveal the truth.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”