A Saudi 'Night of the Long Knives'? Prince Salman's crackdown

Ruth

The Living Force
Mon Oct 08, 2018 - Fugitive Prince Calls for Civil Disobedience to Change Saudi Regime
Farsnews

Saudi prince Khalid bin Farhan al-Saud, who has fled to Germany after the empowerment of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, called on people to overthrow the current rulers in Riyadh after the recent murder of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the Al-e Saud.

The assumption here is two fold. 1. That he has been murdered, (it is a possibility, especially if it achieves an aim of overthrowing a government) and 2. That is must have been by Al-e Saud. Perhaps these are meant to be MBS's representatives? For all we know he could be murdered by a person or people with an interest in resisting MBS's regime. This will be in order to blame MBS and incite rebellion against him. It's not a new concept.

"If the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi is proved, I invite all walks of life in Saudi Arabia to cooperate in a legal measure and change the political system through civil disobedience," Farhan al-Saud wrote on his twitter page on Monday.

He proposed the Saudi people pave the ground for transferring power to Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, the Saudi King Salman’s younger brother who is in exile in Britain, and form a new government based on the constitution.

The success or failure of this 'mission' will depend on which other countries are supporting it and how 'powerful' they are. We can already see Trump is luke warm about it and hoping that it will resolve. It seems that Trump and MBS have a good working relationship regardless of what comes out of Trump's mouth.

Thursday 4 October 2018 - Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance sets Saudi and Turkey up for a fight
Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance sets Saudi and Turkey up for a fight

And to ask the question, who benefits?

Saturday 6 October 2018 - MBS invites Turkey to search consulate for missing Saudi journalist
MBS invites Turkey to search consulate for missing Saudi journalist

What is really needed to solve this mystery is security footage. If he was kidnapped from the Saudi consulate, and maybe murdered and killed elsewhere, he won't be hiding in a cupboard in the consulate. It would benefit the Saudis to have a look at any potential double agents within their consulate. Surely they would not be so naive to completely trust their people?
 

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Khashoggi Killed on Order of Saudi Leadership, Turkish Officials Say - Tasnim News Agency

Top Turkish security officials have concluded that Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on orders from the highest levels of the royal court, a senior official said.

The official described a quick and complex operation in which Khashoggi was killed within two hours of his arrival at the consulate by a team of Saudi agents, who dismembered his body with a bone saw they brought for the purpose.

“It is like ‘Pulp Fiction,’” the official said on Tuesday, the New York Times reported.

Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have denied the allegations, insisting that Khashoggi left the consulate freely shortly after he arrived. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has demanded that the Saudis provide evidence proving their claim.

The security establishment concluded that Khashoggi’s killing was directed from the top because only the most senior Saudi leaders could order an operation of such scale and complexity, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to disclose confidential briefings.

Fifteen Saudi agents had arrived on two charter flights last Tuesday, the day Khashoggi disappeared, the official said.

All 15 left just a few hours later, and Turkey has now identified the roles that most or all of them held in the Saudi government or security services, the official said. One was an autopsy expert, presumably there to help dismember the body, the official said.

Erdogan was informed of the conclusions on Saturday, according to several people with knowledge of the briefings.

Another person briefed on the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity to disclose confidential details, told The Times on Saturday that Turkish intelligence had obtained a video of the killing, made by the Saudis to prove that it had occurred.

A commentator close to Erdogan’s government said so publicly on Tuesday.

“There is a video of the moment of him being killed,” Kemal Ozturk, a columnist in a pro-government newspaper and the former head of a semiofficial news agency, said in an interview on a pro-government television network, citing unnamed security officials.

Another senior Turkish official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss diplomatic strategy, said Ankara hoped that the international community would take the lead in challenging Saudi Arabia over the fate of Khashoggi.

The United Nations human rights office also called for Saudi Arabia and Turkey to conduct a thorough investigation and to make the results public.

“This is of serious concern, the apparent enforced disappearance of Khashoggi from the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul,” Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the human rights office, told reporters in Geneva.

Two other Turkish government officials confirmed the broad outlines of a report in Sabah detailing the movements of the Saudi team that arrived in Istanbul on the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance. Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly.

The newspaper said that two private Gulfstream IV planes belonging to a charter service that has often worked with the Saudi government, Sky Prime Aviation, took off from Riyadh on the morning of Oct. 2 carrying 15 passengers — all intelligence agents or government officials.

One plane landed at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport at 3:13 a.m. that day with nine passengers on board. They checked into two hotels near the consulate and booked rooms for three nights. But they collected their belongings later that day and took off in the same jet at 10:46 p.m., stopping in Dubai on the way back to Riyadh.

A second plane landed in Istanbul at 5:15 p.m. that day with six passengers. All went directly to the consulate and quickly returned to the airport; their plane took off barely an hour after it had arrived, at 6:20 p.m., the newspaper reported, stopping in Cairo as it returned to Riyadh.

Security camera footage showed Khashoggi entering the consulate shortly after 1 p.m. that day. Cengiz, his fiancée, waited outside, and she has said he never emerged.

Two and a half hours after he entered the facility, six vehicles with diplomatic license plates pulled out, carrying 15 Saudi officials and intelligence officers, Sabah reported.

Two other vehicles, including a black Mercedes Vito van with darkened windows, went from the consulate to the consul’s residence about 200 yards away. Turkish employees of the residence had unexpectedly been told not to report for work that day, the newspaper said.

Sabah reported, without naming its sources, that police investigators suspected that Khashoggi was in the van.

Friends of Khashoggi had planned to hold a funeral prayer for him on Tuesday, which had been expected to turn into a demonstration against Saudi Arabia. But his friends canceled those plans, and they could not be reached to explain their decision.
 

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Media Release Footage of Saudis Reportedly Linked to Khashoggi Abduction (VIDEO)

The reports come a day after Ankara announced that Riyadh had granted official permission to search the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul in order to investigate the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

Turkish media on Wednesday published images of men who are believed to have captured Khashoggi while he was in the diplomatic facility.The Sabah newspaper released images of what it referred to as an "assassination squad" at a passport check in the airport, adding that they had checked into two different hotels in Istanbul on October 2 and left later in the day.

In the meantime, news channel 24 also broadcasted a video showing a black Mercedes-Benz Vito that was parked near the consulate on October 2 when Khashoggi entered the building. The media outlet suggested that the journalist was inside the van when it later drove to the Saudi consul's home and parked in a garage nearby.


Previously, sources with the Turkish police told reporters that the journalist might have been killed inside the consulate, while Saudi authorities have denied the allegations, stressing that they had nothing to do with his disappearance.

Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post and who was critical of the Saudi government, left the country last year and moved to the US. Last week, he went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to pick up necessary documents for his upcoming wedding, but never returned. According to the missing journalist’s fiancée, Saudi guards told her that he had already left the facility.
 

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PressTV-US asks Salman for 'details' on Khashoggi case

Top Trump administration officials have talked to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about the disappearance of a dissident Saudi journalist in Turkey.

National security adviser John Bolton and President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner initially talked to him about Jamal Khashoggi.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also had a follow-up call with the Saudi’s de facto leader.

"In both calls they asked for more details and for the Saudi government to be transparent in the investigation process," the White House said.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders added that the US would continue to inquire about the fate of the journalist.

Khashoggi was last seen late last week after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where Turkish officials insist that he was killed inside the facility, an allegation denied by Saudi officials.

The Turkish Daily Sabah has released the identities of the Saudi operatives, who had apparently travelled from Riyadh to Istanbul on two private jets and entered the Saudi mission on October 2 as Khashoggi entered the building.

Khashoggi’s mysterious disappearance has led to protests in front of the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC, where activists demanded justice for missing journalist.

Several US senators triggered an investigation and potential sanctions against Riyadh.

The lawmakers, Bob Corker, Bob Menendez, Lindsey Graham and Patrick Leahy wrote a letter to Trump demanding a probe under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

They urged Trump to consider any information in the investigation "including with respect to the highest ranking officials in the Government of Saudi Arabia."

"If this man was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, that would cross every line of normality in the international community," Graham said.


US senators demand Magnitsky Act probe, sanctions on Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi disappearance

A group of Republican and Democrat senators united to demand an investigation into the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a consulate in Turkey. This could lead to sanctions against Saudi Arabia within 120 days.

Senators Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) and Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), chairman and ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Wednesday demanding a probe of Khashoggi’s disappearance under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.


The law, enacted in 2016, requires the White House to launch an investigation into human rights violations anywhere on the planet if asked by the Senate Foreign Relations committee, with a 120-day deadline to submit a report and decide on imposing sanctions on “foreign person or persons” held responsible for “extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violation of internationally recognized human rights against an individual exercising freedom of expression,” according to the letter.

In making that determination, the senators hope Trump “will consider any relevant information, including with respect to the highest ranking officials in the Government of Saudi Arabia.”

Trump had already signaled he would look into the matter, telling reporters on Wednesday that he would meet with Khashoggi’s fiancee.

“His wife [sic] wrote us a letter. And addressed it to my wife and myself. And we're in contact with her now, and we want to bring her to the White House. It's a very sad situation. It's a very bad situation. And we want do get to the bottom of it,” the US president said.

"We cannot let this happen, to reporters, to anybody," Trump said. Asked if he thought Khashoggi was dead, he answered, “I hope he’s not.”

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and frequent critic of the Saudi government, was last seen walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last Tuesday. Turkey has accused Riyadh of murdering the journalist inside the consulate, even saying that a special team of assassins cut him up into pieces so his body could be removed in a van.

Saudi authorities have denied any foul play, calling the allegations “baseless.”

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told reporters last week that to the best of his understanding, Khashoggi visited the consulate and left within an hour. The Saudi foreign ministry was working to “see exactly what happened at that time,” he said.

The original Magnitsky Act of 2012 was designed to target Russia with sanctions over alleged human rights abuses, and was expanded in 2016 to place the rest of the world under US authority as well. Saudi Arabia, however, has been a major US ally in the Middle East since WWII, including serving as the launching pad for the 1991 Gulf War and, most recently, as the linchpin of regime change efforts directed against Iran and Syria.

Wednesday’s letter was signed by a total of 22 senators, including Marco Rubio (R-Florida.), Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), Todd Young (R-Indiana), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), Chris Coons (D-Delaware), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), and Tom Udall (D-New Mexico.


US Senators Slam Pompeo's Approval of Military Aid to Saudi Arabia, UAE

US Secretary of State Secretary Mike Pompeo must address concerns regarding his approval of military aid to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, seven senators said in a letter.

"We are skeptical a certification that the two Governments have undertaken demonstrable actions to reduce the harm to civilians is warranted when the Saudi coalition has failed to adopt some US recommendations while civilian deaths and casualties due to coalition airstrikes have increased dramatically in recent months," the letter said on Wednesday. The lawmakers called on Pompeo to hand over data on the increase in civilian casualties, among other requests, by October 31.

Last month, despite a UN report that accused the Saudi-led coalition of being responsible for some 16,000 deaths in Yemen, Pompeo certified to Congress that the coalition was limiting civilian casualties in the conflict, paving the way for more US military aid.

The letter was signed by Senators Chris Murphy, Todd Young, Jeanne Shaheen, Susan Collins, Chris Coons, Jerry Moran and Jeff Merkley.

Yemen has been gripped by a civil war with the government headed by Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi fighting the Houthi movement. The government is backed by the Saudi-led coalition, which has been carrying out airstrikes targeted at the areas controlled by the Houthis since March 2015.


Turkish opposition calls on Erdogan to expel Saudi diplomats from country

Leader of Turkey’s opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu has called on the government to expel Saudi Arabian diplomats in light of the recent disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

“Saudi diplomats… should be expelled from the country. They should be declared personae non-gratae. Turkey should not cover up for criminals,” Kilicdaroglu said while addressing the CHP parliamentary faction.

According to the Saudi Consulate General, Khashoggi disappeared after leaving the building. The Saudi diplomatic mission has said that it is cooperating with the Turkish authorities to determine the exact circumstances surrounding the journalist’s disappearance.

The Turkish NTV broadcaster reported on Wednesday that Saudi forensic expert Mohammed al-Tubaigy allegedly was in a group of 15 Saudi nationals who arrived in Turkey on the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance.

The broadcaster has published surveillance camera images showing cars with these Saudi nationals approaching the Saudi Consulate General in Istanbul, and al-Tubaigy entering the building approximately an hour before Khashoggi’s visit.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Saudi Arabia should prove that Khashoggi had, in fact, left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Khashoggi went missing last week. According to the journalist’s fiancee, Khashoggi was invited to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents needed for his upcoming marriage.

The journalist’s fiancee stayed outside waiting for Khashoggi for five hours before being told by one of the Consulate General’s employees that her fiance had already left. Media reports have said that Turkish investigators believe the journalist was murdered inside the consulate, but Saudi Arabia has denied the allegations.

Source: Sputnik


Arab Source: Khashoggi Murdered by Ex-Spokesman of Saudi-Led Coalition in War on Yemen

Farsnews

The Arabic-language al-Waqt news website quoted informed sources as saying that bin Salman had assigned the deputy head of Saudi Arabia's al-Mukhabarat al-A'amah and the former spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen Ahmed al-Asiri with the mission to execute Khashoggi.

The source added that the decision to kill Khashoggi was made while ago after efforts failed to return him home.

According to the report, al-Asiri was one of the two options to do the mission, and was assigned to the vitally sensitive mission because of his close ties with the Saudi crown prince. Another military officer who had lots of experience in dealing with dissidents was the second candidate for the mission.

Turkish officials said they had concrete evidence missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered, with a friend of the prominent writer saying they think he might have been dismembered.

A contributor to The Washington Post, Khashoggi has not been seen since Tuesday last week, when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to collect papers for his upcoming wedding.

Saudi officials said he left shortly afterwards but his fiancee, who was waiting outside, said he never came out.

Khashoggi, 59, who was once close to the Saudi royal family and has served as an adviser for senior Saudi officials, left the country last year to live in the US in self-imposed exile, saying he feared retribution for his criticism of Saudi policy in the Yemen war and its crackdown on dissent.

Turan Kislakci, a friend of Khashoggi and the head of the Turkish-Arab Media Association, said that Turkish officials said the journalist has been brutally murdered.

"What was explained to us is this: 'He was killed, make your funeral preparations'," Kislakci said.

"We called a few other places, these are lower officials, but they said: 'We have evidence he was killed in a barbaric way, we will announce it tomorrow or the day after'."

Kislakci also alleged, based on conversations with officials he did not name, that Khashoggi was made to "faint", then was dismembered.
 

Ocean

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Saudi Arabia says it will hit back at 'threats' over Jamal Khashoggi

A delegation of a dozen Saudi officials was in Turkey for talks on the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Riyadh slammed as 'baseless lies' Turkish accusations he was killed inside its Istanbul consulate. With the mystery of his fate unresolved 11 days after he walked into the consulate and failed to reappear, a pro-government Turkish daily said Khashoggi had recorded his own interrogation inside the mission on an Apple Watch.
 

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Saudi King Orders to Open Internal Investigation Into Khashoggi Case - Official

Earlier, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman declared that Turkish authorities could search the Consulate General building if necessary. Riyadh also affirmed "its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it", and promised to retaliate against any possible sanctions that might be imposed against the country.

"The King has ordered the Public Prosecutor to open an internal investigation into the Khashoggi matter based on the info from the joint team in Istanbul," a Saudi official, who is not authorized to speak publicly, said as quoted by Reuters.

Jamal Khashoggi, known for his criticism of Saudi Arabia's policies, vanished on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain a marriage document, as reported by Turkish media. The Saudi authorities said that the journalist left the consulate on the same day that he arrived.

After Ankara claimed that Khashoggi could’ve been arrested or even killed while inside the diplomatic mission, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman replied that Turkish authorities could search the Consulate General building if necessary.

The King and the President Talk

According to the Saudi press agency, King Salman also discussed the Khashoggi case with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a telephone call.

The king thanked the Turkish president for welcoming the Saudi government's proposal to form a joint working group to probe the journalist's disappearance, and stressed that no one could undermine the relationship between Riyadh and Ankara.

Searching the Consulate

Earlier today, a Turkish diplomatic source has revealed that Turkey will search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul as part of the investigation into Khashoggi case.

"It is expected that a search will take place towards the evening," the source said, adding that the search will be conducted jointly with the Saudi authorities.

The Washington Post previously reported that Turkey informed US officials about audio and video recordings suggesting the journalist had been murdered in the Saudi consulate.

A Response to Threats

A number of states, including Germany, France and the United Kingdom, have expressed serious concerns over the journalist's disappearance. US President Donald Trump on Saturday threatened to "punish" Riyadh if it were proven to be behind the suspected killing.

However, a Saudi official source said in a statement distributed by Saudi Press Agency that Riyadh would retaliate to any sanctions imposed against it.

"The Kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures, or repeating false accusations. These will not undermine the Kingdom and its staunch positions and its stature at the Arab, Islamic and international level," the source said as quoted by Saudi Gazette.

The source also pointed out that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia "affirms that if it receives any action, it will respond with greater action."

"The Kingdom’s economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy and its economy is affected only by the impact of the global economy," the source added.


Cleaning Crew Enter Saudi Consulate before Turkish Inspection of Kashoggi Murdur (+Video) - Tasnim News Agency

Cameras caught the moment three cleaning personnel entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul hours before an expected Turkish inspection of the building.

Nurit Ben the anchor & editor at the i24NEWS_EN posted the video on her twitter account and wrote that the Reuters and AP cameras have caught what appears to be a cleaning crew entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul hours before an expected Turkish inspection of the building. All a full two weeks since Jamal Khashoggi disappeared.



Arab Analyst: Trump after Secret Deal with Bin Salman to Stop Investigations into Khashoggi's Death

Farsnews

Trump has said US investigators are looking into how Jamal Khashoggi vanished at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, but made clear that whatever the outcome, the US would not forgo lucrative arms deals with Riyadh, Atwan wrote on Friday.

“We’re being very tough. And we have investigators over there and we’re working with Turkey, and frankly we’re working with Saudi Arabia. We want to find out what happened,” Trump told Fox News on Thursday morning.

Atwan said that Trump's remarks came as Turkey later dismissed claims of joint investigation into the case by the US investigators.

The president’s announcement raised concerns of a cover-up of evidence implicating Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, in plans to silence the dissident journalist, he added.

According to Atwan, the most important part of the issue is that Trump's administration is now in a bottleneck and does not want to take any action against Saudi Arabia.

He added that the important point in Trump's remarks is that he is making strenuous attempts to make a deal on the mutilated corpse of Khashoggi and not to resolve the mystery, noting that an active contact channel has been established between bin Salman and three US officials, including US National Security Advisor John Bolton, Trump's son-in-law Jerad Kushner and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Atwan said that a secret contact channel has also been set up between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, adding that the Turkish government is not after confrontation against Riyadh in Khashoggi's case and the Turkish media's approach to the issue shows that unlike the US media, they have grown calmer over the case in the past two days.

Khashoggi has been missing since October 2 when he entered the consulate to obtain paperwork so he could remarry, and has not been seen since.

Since Saturday, Turkish officials have maintained that he was assassinated inside the building, but have not provided evidence or spoken on the record. Meanwhile, Saudi officials have stressed that the 59-year-old left the consulate soon after he arrived and were concerned about his whereabouts.

Turkish investigators heard testimony from a source who was inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul at the time of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance who claims to have heard sounds of a struggle, according to a report.

"I have learned earlier that, among the evidence with the investigation is testimony from inside the consulate at the time that Jamal (Khashoggi) was there, which includes hearing sounds of loud screams and shouting, as well as calls for help and the sound of a struggle and then sudden silence," Al-Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal said.

Turkish foreign ministry sources denied to Al-Jazeera that Saudis rescinded their authorization for Turkish authorities to search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The foreign ministry’s remarks came after some media outlets claimed that Saudi Arabia cancelled an offer to allow Turkish authorities onto the premises after Turkish state-owned media published a list of the 15 Saudi nationals who allegedly arrived in Istanbul on the same day Khashoggi disappeared.

Turkish investigators are also requesting to search a number of vehicles registered to the consulate, along with the home of the consul general, which is a few hundred meters from the consulate, after a van with tinted windows was seen leaving the consulate and driving to the home a couple of hours after Khashoggi entered.

The Washington Post reported that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman himself ordered an operation targeting Khashoggi.

Based on US intelligence intercepts, Saudi officials were heard discussing a plan to lure Khashoggi from the US state of Virginia, where he resides, back to Saudi Arabia where he would be detained, the newspaper noted, citing unnamed US officials.

It was not clear to the officials with knowledge of the intelligence whether the Saudis discussed harming Khashoggi as part of the plan to capture him, according to the report.


'Rogue killers' might have killed Saudi journalist - Trump

US President Donald Trump said he believes it is possible that “rogue killers” could be responsible for the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Speaking to journalists outside the White House on Monday about Khashoggi’s disappearance, Trump said: “It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. Who knows?”

Offering the rogue killer theory, Trump cited King Salman of Saudi Arabia’s “firm” denial that Riyadh had anything to do with the situation — despite the fact that Turkey claims to possess evidence proving the journalist was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
“[King Salman’s] denial to me could not have been stronger,” Trump told reporters.


Asked by journalists whether he believes King Salman's denial, Trump said all he could do was “report what [the king] told me - and he told me in a very firm way that they had no knowledge of it. He said it very strongly.”

Earlier, Trump said that he was sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Riyadh and “other places if necessary” to figure out what has happened to Khashoggi.


Turkish diplomatic sources said on Monday that a joint Turkish-Saudi team was put together to search for Khashoggi after his disappearance.

Shortly after that, a group of around a dozen people made their way into the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Al Jazeera reported. The broadcaster said it wasn’t immediately clear if those who arrived were Turkish or Saudi representatives.
 

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Turkish Police Discover Evidence of Khashoggi Murder in Saudi Consulate - Report

Riyadh has proposed letting Turkey inspect the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul amid an investigation into journalist Khashoggi's disappearance; the Saudi-born man vanished 2 weeks ago after entering the embassy. The Kingdom said that Khashoggi had left the building unharmed. The Saudi king has ordered an internal investigation into the Khashoggi case.

Turkish police found evidence during a probe in the Istanbul-based Saudi Consulate that Saudi reporter Jamal Khashoggi had been murdered, the Turkish television network NTV reported on Tuesday.

Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist known for his criticism of the government's policies, went missing on October 2. He was last seen when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain a marriage document. The Saudis insisted that he left the building later the same day and offered Turkish authorities the opportunity to search the Consulate General building if necessary.

Ankara has earlier claimed that Khashoggi could've been arrested or even killed while inside the diplomatic mission, which Riyadh has vehemently denied.

A previous inspection, conducted jointly by Saudi and Turkish investigators, reportedly obtained some evidence relevant to the Khashoggi case proving that the journalist had never left the building.

A number of countries have voiced concerns over the case; US President Trump threatened to impose "severe punishment" on Saudi Arabia if it turns out that Riyadh is behind the suspected killing.


Some materials at Saudi Consulate in Istanbul where journalist vanished were painted over – Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says some materials in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul were painted over. The statement comes after investigators into journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance searched the building.

Some substances Turkish police were looking for at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul seem to have vanished, Erdogan told reporters on Tuesday. He claimed that “the investigation is looking into many things such as toxic materials and those materials being removed by painting them over.”

Erdogan did not expand on that claim, only adding that “my hope is that we can reach conclusions that will give us a reasonable opinion as soon as possible.”

Previously, a Turkish forensic team spent nine hours looking for clues and DNA samples which could shed light on the mysterious vanishing of Khashoggi, who Ankara believes was assassinated at the diplomatic mission.

Meanwhile, a Turkish diplomatic source told Reuters the investigators are considering extending the search to the residence of the Saudi consul. Local TV channels have broadcast what they said was footage of a vehicle exiting the consulate premises and parking at the residence two hours after Khashoggi disappeared.

Speculation that the Saudis might have destroyed crucial evidence at the site were fueled by footage showing two women and a man bringing cleaning gear through the front door of the consulate. Coincidence or not, the “cleaners” entered the building on the day a joint team of Turkish and Saudi experts were to search the mission.

Ankara has accused Riyadh of murdering Khashoggi and smuggling his body out of the consulate in pieces. Saudi Arabia has denied the charges as “baseless.”

According to CNN, there is a yet-to-be-published Saudi report that will blame Khashoggi’s death on an attempted abduction and botched questioning, “carried out without clearance and transparency.” The unconfirmed report is based on two anonymous sources that reportedly spoke to CNN’s correspondents.

This comes as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Riyadh. He was urgently sent by President Donald Trump to meet with the Saudi monarch. Trump has threatened the kingdom with “severe punishment” if it is found to be involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance, but he later changed tune and said Saudi King Salman “denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened” to the journalist.

“It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. Who knows?” Trump said.


US thanks Saudis for ‘transparent’ probe as new evidence points to Khashoggi’s murder in consulate

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s praise on Tuesday of the Saudis’ “transparent” investigation into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is just the latest sign that Washington seems to be advocating for Riyadh.

Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2 and Turkey claims to have audio and video evidence proving that he was murdered there. A Turkish forensic team spent nine hours searching for clues in the building. Following that search, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that some “toxic materials” in the consulate had been “painted over” — and Turkish police claim to have found “certain evidence” which proves that the journalist died there.

Video footage of cleaners with mops and buckets entering the consulate on the day the team of investigators were due to search the building also provided more fuel to the fire of speculation surrounding a potential coverup.

But US officials have seemed somewhat indifferent to Turkey’s accusations and evidence. On Tuesday, after a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, which reportedly lasted a mere 15 minutes, the US State Department released a baffling statement saying that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had reiterated US “concern” over Khashoggi and thanked the Saudi king for committing to a “transparent” investigation of his disappearance — despite clear insinuations from Ankara that some kind of coverup was underway.

Pompeo’s friendly approach wasn’t all too surprising, given that US President Donald Trump has also seemed eager to believe the Saudi version of events. On Monday morning, after a short phone call with King Salman, Donald Trump approached a gaggle of journalists at the White House and proceeded to offer the new theory that perhaps “rogue killers” were responsible for Khashoggi’s disappearance.


Trump repeatedly told the journalists that King Salman had been “firm” and “strong” in his denial of any knowledge about what happened to Khashoggi — but Trump’s tone and repeated references to the denial made it sound more like a defense of the king than a simple relaying of his comments.

Not many people are buying the “rogue killers” theory, however. On Twitter, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy called it “ridiculous” and said it was “absolutely extraordinary” that the Saudis had managed to “enlist the President of the United States as their PR agent to float it.”


The theory was also met with ridicule by journalists and analysts. Former British military officer Charles Shoebridge said that despite “overwhelming evidence” that Riyadh did know what happened to Khashoggi, it was simply “convenient” for the West to pretend that some other explanation made more sense.

Reports on Monday evening suggested that Riyadh was preparing to admit that Khashoggi died at the Istanbul consulate after an interrogation “gone wrong” — in an operation supposedly carried out without clearance from Riyadh.


In other words, Saudi Arabia might be preparing to offer an explanation which cushions King Salman and insulates him from blame — and it’s more than likely that Trump will take any such explanation at face value. After all, he has already publicly admitted that even if Riyadh was responsible for the murder, weapons deals and the “massive amounts of money”the US receives from them are still more important. Losing money from Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi disappearance “would not be acceptable,” he told reporters last week.

In 2015, Trump commented that the Saudis "buy apartments from me. They spend $40M, $50M. Am I supposed to dislike them?” Room revenues in Trump’s hotels have also jumped significantly in recent years thanks to increasing numbers of Saudi visitors. In a tweet on Tuesday morning, however, Trump suddenly claimed he had “no financial interests” with Saudi Arabia.


Official Washington has grown increasingly skeptical of the US relationship with Saudi Arabia under Trump, though there is very little difference between Trump’s treatment of Riyadh and Barack Obama’s before him. Obama was a willing seller of US weapons to the Saudis, and Riyadh’s disastrous intervention in Yemen — which the UN warns could lead to the worst famine in 100 years — began while Obama was in office.

The news of Khashoggi’s disappearance — and the accusations of Saudi involvement — have been met with outrage from both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill.

Last week, Republican Senator Rand Paul, a long-time critic of Riyadh, said he would introduce a bill that would cut off military aid to Saudi Arabia until Khashoggi was found alive. Speaking on the Fox & Friends morning news show, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham boasted that he had been Saudi Arabia’s “biggest defender” on the Senate floor, but said that after Khashoggi’s disappearance, he would not be going back to the country and that he would “sanction the hell out of” Riyadh.

But bipartisan criticisms of Riyadh and calls to rethink the relationship have for now fallen on deaf ears in the White House.
 

sToRmR1dR

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Saudi consul general in Istanbul leaves for Riyadh amid investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance

The Saudi Arabia's consul general in Istanbul has left Turkey for Riyadh as investigation into the fate of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who went missing after visiting the kingdom’s consulate in Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul two week ago, widens.

Mohammad al-Otaibi left Turkey on a commercial flight on Tuesday, hours before his residence was expected to be searched by Turkish police in relation to the disappearance of the 59-year-old writer.

Earlier in the day, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country’s security forces would interrogate officials at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul if need be.

“It's the responsibility of the Chief Prosecutors' Office to decide whom to interrogate or the questions to be asked... The prosecutors may ask for the testimony of [any Saudi officials at the consulate] if needed,” he said at a news conference following a meeting with his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Kudret Ozersay in Ankara.​

Cavusoglu underlined the importance of a “transparent and result-oriented” approach, adding, “The situation needs to be clarified so that nobody has any question marks in their mind."

He also said the Saudi consul general was free to go to his country if he wants.

"If any Saudi diplomat wants to go to their country, they can go. There is no restriction,” Cavusoglu commented.​

The top Turkish diplomat noted that the investigation at the Saudi consulate aims was to shed light on the fate of Khashoggi.
 

sToRmR1dR

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Saudi suspect in Khashoggi case ‘dies in car accident’: Report

A Turkish newspaper reported on Oct. 18 that one of the suspects involved in the disappearance of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi died in a “suspicious car accident” in Riyadh.

Mashal Saad al-Bostani, a 31-year-old lieutenant of the Saudi Royal Air Forces, was among the 15 suspects who arrived and left Turkey on Oct. 2 after going to Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate when Khashoggivisited there, according to daily Yeni Şafak.

The newspaper said sources did not release any details about the traffic accident in Riyadh and Bostani’s role in the “murder” was not yet clear.

Daily Hürriyet columnist Abdulkadir Selvi claimed on Oct. 18 that Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consul Mohammad al-Otaibi could be “the next execution” as Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman “would do anything to get rid of evidence.”

Turkish daily Yeni Şafak reported Oct. 17 that Al-Otaibi’s voice could be heard in one of the recordings, which Turkish authorities are believed to have, of Khashoggi’s “interrogation” at the consulate.

According to the report, after Al-Otaibi told the interrogators to “do it somewhere else outside or I will be in trouble,” he was told to “shut up if you want to live when you are back in Saudi Arabia.”

Al-Otaibi returned to Saudi Arabia on Oct. 16 before his residence in Istanbul was searched by police for more than eight hours on Oct. 17 and Oct. 18.

Meanwhile, Sabah newspaper released stills from security camera footage of another suspect on Oct. 18.

According to the report, 47-year-old Maher Abdulaziz M. Mutreb, an intelligence officer who previously served at Saudi Arabia’s London embassy, landed in Istanbul at 3:38 a.m. on Oct. 2 and went to his country’s Istanbul consulate at 9:55 a.m.

Hours after Khashoggi’s arrival and disappearance, Mutreb left the consulate and visited the consul’s residence at 4:53 p.m., left his hotel at 5:15 p.m. and arrived at the Atatürk Airport for his return trip on a private jet at 5:58 p.m.

The New York Times had reported on Oct. 16 that Mutreb had travelled extensively with the crown prince, perhaps as a bodyguard.
 

sToRmR1dR

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Saudi looking for bin Salman replacement: Report

Having found Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s antics too costly for its already stained reputation, Saudi Arabia’s ruling family is looking to replace the young prince with his less ambitious brother, Khalid, a new report suggests.

The report by the French paper Le Figaro on Thursday cited a diplomatic source in Paris as saying that the Saudi Allegiance Council had secretly met to discuss the disappearance of anti-Riyadh journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who is believed to have been killed at the Saudi consulate in Turkey’s Istanbul upon an order from MBS.

Khashoggi entered the consulate on October 2 and has never been spotted since. Turkish and American intelligence reports say he was tortured and murdered before his dismembered body was sent back to Riyadh.

US President Donald Trump confirmed Thursday that intelligence led him to believe Khashoggi was killed “unless the miracle of all miracles happens.”

The council, which appointed bin Salman as the new crown prince last year by breaking the customary rules of succession, is now planning to appoint Khalid bin Salman, the current Saudi envoy to the US, as deputy crown price.

One Saudi source explained to Le Figaro that if Khalid was appointed, it would mean that MBS will leave his position in the coming years. This way power stays in the Salman family, the report added.

According to the report, Khalid, who is popular both at home and abroad, would gradually take over from his brother and replace him down the road.

Khalid, 28, flew to Riyadh last week, The New York Times reported Monday, adding he will not return to the US as the Saudi envoy. It is not yet clear who would replace KBS.

Le Figaro noted that MBS had already made himself big enemies in the Allegiance Council by breaking an agreement among first-class princes from various branches of the royal family to hand the power to the last king’s son.

MBS has also created a great deal of animosity towards himself from inside the Al Saud family, many of whose members he has arrested as part of his crackdown on corruption.

The Saudi National Guard, whose commander, Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah, was fired last year, is not so loyal to the crown prince either.

The young prince also faces strong opposition at home for his bombing of Yemen, siege on Qatar and his closeness with Israel.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
Pure speculation on my part - I suspect Khashoggi was used as "a Sacrificial Lamb" - under Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's orders and it was Talal's loyal goons, that arrived at the airport that day and went to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul?

In the video below, it notes that Khashoggi had close ties with both, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Bin Laden Group. King Salman demoted the Muslim Brotherhood, while the Bin Laden's were part of the Royalty that were arrested/detained in the MBS round up. The one who had the most to lose "financially" was Alwaleed bin Talal. He was made to sign over most of his assets, to the tune of Billion's of dollars and then reduced to house arrest.

I also suspect, Alwaleed bin Talal was behind "a botched assassination attempt on MBS" which resulted in the Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas shootings, as a cover up? Probably why, MBS stripped him of everything and rounded up those who were loyal to Alwaleed bin Talal?

With Khashoggi, first seeking refuge in Turkey and then in the U.S., he was the perfect "patsy" to set up "to disappear" from a Saudi Consulate in Turkey - casting shadows over MBS and King Salman? The fact that this Khashoggi situation developed just before a major business conference in Riyadh, scheduled for Oct. 23-25, giving many high profile businesses and major investment firms, time to pull out of the Conference, is also suspicious in it's timing?

Personally, I don't feel that MBS or King Salman are involved "in anyway" with Khashoggi's "disappearance" and that this incident is being used - by unknown actors, (Alwaleed bin Talal?) as a Coup, to oust MBS and his Father, King Salman from power? With MBS and King Salman out of the way, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal can try to recover his Billion's in assets, along with his Royal status?

Trump may be right - that it was “rogue killers” that may have been responsible?

Cross-Post from here:
July 2016 Military Coup in Turkey

Webb noted that the Muslim Brotherhood only came under attack in Saudi Arabia under King Salman, citing its "fall from grace" as originating in the split between Faisal al-Saud and King Abdullah, which is also why Khashoggi sought refuge in Turkey, "because Turkey — Erdogan — supports the Muslim Brotherhood."

This is one of the better video's I've come across, that gives some vital background on Khashoggi, from a University of California Professor. At the (3:26 min. mark) an old newspaper clipping shows Khashoggi with a group of Mujahedeen soldiers. Khashoggi was also close to Bin Laden's inner circle and the Muslim Brotherhood. Professor Abukhalil states that Khashoggi was more selective of what he said in the Washington Post but in Arabic publications, he was more verbal and outspoken on many subjects. In Saudi Arabia, Khashiggi was more aligned with the ruling Royalty that Prince Salman arrested.

Khashoggi Picked the Wrong Prince
Published on Oct 15, 2018 (16:56 min.)

Saudi Arabia to build five royal palaces in 'city of future' Friday 9 February 2018
Saudi Arabia to build five royal palaces in 'city of future'

The Saudi government has begun to award contracts for the development of a huge business zone in the northwest of the country, asking local construction companies to build five palaces for members of the royal family there, sources close to the matter told Reuters.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans for the 26,500sq km zone, known as NEOM and dubbed a city of the future, at an international investment conference in Riyadh last October. Officials said public and private investment in the area was eventually expected to total $500bn.

The palaces for the king, crown prince and other senior royals, to be located on the Red Sea coast about 150 km west of the city of Tabuk, are among the first contracts awarded for NEOM, said the sources who declined to be identified as an official announcement has not yet been made.

Saudi Binladin Group, the country's biggest construction firm, has been mandated to build one of the palaces in a sign that it retains the government's support despite the recent detention of some of its owners in a supposed crackdown on corruption, the sources said.

Binladin chairman Bakr Bin Laden and several family members were held alongside scores of princes, senior officials and businessmen in the purge, announced in November.

Last month, Binladin said some owners of the firm might transfer part of their stakes to the state in a financial settlement of allegations against them, and most or all of the family members have now been released.

MEE reported in November that Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was arrested in the purge and released last month, had refused to invest in NEOM before his detention.


Fri. Oct. 19, 2018 - As Khashoggi crisis grows, Saudi King asserts Authority, checks Son's Power: sources
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-politics-king-insight/as-khashoggi-crisis-grows-saudi-king-asserts-authority-checks-sons-power-sources-idUSKCN1MT1LF

So grave is the fallout from the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi that King Salman has felt compelled to intervene, five sources with links to the Saudi royal family said.

Last Thursday, Oct. 11, the king dispatched his most trusted aide, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, governor of Mecca, to Istanbul to try to defuse the crisis.

World leaders were demanding an explanation and concern was growing in parts of the royal court that the king’s son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to whom he has delegated vast powers, was struggling to contain the fallout, the sources said.

During Prince Khaled’s visit, Turkey and Saudi Arabia agreed to form a joint working group to investigate Khashoggi’s disappearance. The king subsequently ordered the Saudi public prosecutor to open an inquiry based on its findings.

“The selection of Khaled, a senior royal with high status, is telling as he is the king’s personal adviser, his right hand man and has had very strong ties and a friendship with (Turkish President) Erdogan,” said a Saudi source with links to government circles.

Since the meeting between Prince Khaled and Erdogan, King Salman has been “asserting himself” in managing the affair,
according to a different source, a Saudi businessman who lives abroad but is close to royal circles.

Saudi officials did not immediately respond to Reuters questions about the king’s involvement in helping to supervise the crisis. A spokesman for Prince Khaled referred Reuters to government representatives in Riyadh.

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and leading critic of Prince Mohammed, vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Turkish officials say they believe the Saudi journalist was murdered there and his body removed, allegations which Saudi Arabia has strongly denied.

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.

That changed as the crisis grew.

“Even if MbS wanted to keep this away from the king he couldn’t because the story about Khashoggi’s disappearance was on all the Arab and Saudi TV channels watched by the king,” one of the five sources said.

“The king started asking aides and MbS about it. MbS had to tell him and asked him to intervene when Khashoggi’s case became a global crisis,” this source said.

Since he acceded to the throne in January 2015, the king has given MbS, his favorite son, increasing authority to run Saudi Arabia. But the king’s latest intervention reflects growing disquiet among some members of the royal court about MbS’s fitness to govern, the five sources said.

MbS, 33, has implemented a series of high-profile social and economic reforms since his father’s accession, including ending a ban on women driving and opening cinemas in the conservative kingdom.

But he has also marginalized senior members of the royal family and consolidated control over Saudi’s security and intelligence agencies.

His reforms have been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent, a purge of top royals and businessmen on corruption charges, and a costly war in Yemen.

Khashoggi’s disappearance has further tarnished the crown prince’s reputation, deepening questions among Western allies and some Saudis about his leadership.

Even if he is his favorite son, the king needs to have a comprehensive view for his survival and the survival of the royal family,” said a fourth Saudi source with links to the royal court. “In the end it will snowball on all of them.”

Saudi officials did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

MISCALCULATION
Saudi Arabia has repeatedly denied any role in Khashoggi’s disappearance. But the sources familiar with the royal court said the reaction from the United States, an ally for decades, had contributed to the king’s intervention.

“When the situation got out of control and there was an uproar in the United States, MbS informed his father that there was a problem and that they have to face it,” another source with knowledge of the royal court said.

The crown prince and his aides had initially thought the crisis would pass but they “miscalculated its repercussions”, this source said.

Turkish officials have made clear they believe Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate, and two Turkish sources have told Reuters police have audio recordings to back up that assertion.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican close to President Donald Trump, on Tuesday accused MbS of ordering Khashoggi’s murder and called him a “wrecking ball” who is jeopardizing relations with the United States. He did not say what evidence he was basing the allegation on.

Trump said on Thursday he presumed Khashoggi was dead but that he still wanted to get to the bottom of what exactly happened. Asked what would be the consequences for Saudi Arabia, Trump said: “Well, it’ll have to be very severe. I mean, it’s bad, bad stuff. But we’ll see what happens.”

Trump has previously said “rogue killers” may have been responsible and has ruled out cancelling arms deals worth tens of billions of dollars. On Tuesday, Trump said he had spoken with MbS and that the crown prince told him he did not know what had happened in the consulate where Khashoggi went missing.

The case poses a dilemma for the United States, as well as Britain and other Western nations. Saudi Arabia is the world’s top oil exporter, spends lavishly on Western arms and is an ally in efforts to contain the influence of Iran.

But in a sign of the damage, a succession of international banking and business chiefs, including IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, JP Morgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon and Ford Chairman Bill Ford, have pulled out of a high-profile investment conference in Saudi Arabia this month.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday also abandoned plans to attend, as did Britain’s trade minister and the French and Dutch finance ministers, putting the event in question.

Saudi officials have said they plan to move forward with the conference, scheduled for Oct. 23-25, despite the wave of cancellations.

Neither JP Morgan nor Ford would elaborate on the reasons for the decision not to attend and did not comment on whether concerns about the disappearance of Khashoggi were a factor.

Lagarde had previously said she was “horrified” by media reports about Khashoggi’s disappearance. An IMF spokesperson did not give a reason for her deferring her trip to the Middle East.

TAKING CONTROL
Before the king’s intervention, Saudi authorities had been striking a defiant tone, threatening on Sunday to retaliate with greater action against the U.S. and others if sanctions are imposed over Khashoggi’s disappearance. A Saudi-owned media outlet warned the result would be disruption in Saudi oil production and a sharp rise in world oil prices.

“Reaction and threats to the possible sanctions of the last 24 hours were still (coming) from the crown prince,” the businessman close to royal circles said on Monday. “The king is now holding the file personally ... and the tone is very different.”

The king has spoken directly with Erdogan and Trump in recent days. Both the king and his son met U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he visited Riyadh on Tuesday.

King Salman, 82, spent decades as part of the inner circle of the Al Saud dynasty, which long ruled by consensus. In four decades as governor of Riyadh, he earned a reputation as a royal enforcer who punished princes who were out of line.

Whether he is willing or able to resume that role in this crisis remains unclear, palace insiders say. One source with links to the royal court said the king was “captivated” by MbS and ultimately would protect him.

Still, there is precedent for the king’s intervention.

He stepped in this year to shelve the planned listing of national oil company Saudi Aramco, the brainchild of MbS and a cornerstone of his economic reforms, three sources with ties to government insiders told Reuters in August. Saudi officials have said the government remains committed to the plans.

And when MbS gave the impression last year that Riyadh endorsed the Trump administration’s still nebulous Middle East peace plan, including U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the king made a public correction, reaffirming Riyadh’s commitment to the Arab and Muslim identity of the city.

Despite these rare instances of pushback, 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.


Fri Oct 19, 2018 - Saudi Conference Boycott over Khashoggi shows Political threat to economy
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-politics-dissident-investment/saudi-conference-boycott-over-khashoggi-shows-political-threat-to-economy-idUSKCN1MT1S4

A Western boycott of a major business conference in Riyadh next week suggests rising political risks in Saudi Arabia could harm its ambitions to attract foreign capital and diversify its economy away from oil.

Rather than whipping up interest in Saudi investment opportunities, the event risks becoming a public relations debacle because of the disappearance of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, company executives and analysts say.

Turkish officials have said Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia denies this.

More than two dozen top officials and executives from the United States and Europe, including U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the chief executives of JP Morgan Chase and HSBC, have canceled plans to attend the Future Investment Initiative due to unease over the Khashoggi affair.

That may not prevent the event from proceeding - over 150 speakers from more than 140 organizations originally signed up, organizers said. But it deprives the conference of much of its star power.

As Western companies fret over the risk to their reputations of doing deals and possible exposure to any sanctions imposed over the Khashoggi case, they are likely to put much new business in Saudi Arabia on hold for now.

The freeze may apply to both new Western contracts or investments in Saudi Arabia, and the Saudi government’s own program of buying corporate assets abroad through its $250 billion Public Investment Fund (PIF).

“Most Western businesses will come under pressure to reconsider their exposure to Saudi Arabia in light of the Khashoggi affair,” said Ayham Kamel, head of the Middle East practice of political risk consultancy Eurasia Group.

But the freeze on new deals may start to ease within a few months. Many Western firms have too much at stake to abandon the Middle East’s biggest economy; privately, some told Reuters they would send lower-level executives to the conference.

BILLIONS AT STAKE
Larry Fink, chief executive of U.S. investment manager BlackRock, said he was pulling out of the conference but would not cut ties with Saudi Arabia as he wanted to “preserve the relationships that we’d worked so long for”.

Companies in China and Japan have shown little or no sign of withdrawing from the event, so U.S. and European firms may lose out on business if they stay cool toward Riyadh for too long.

“In the new year the impact may start to ease, particularly given that the U.S. seems to be helping Saudi Arabia sweep the incident under the carpet,” said Jason Tuvey, senior emerging markets economist at Capital Economics.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said he wants to protect Washington’s security cooperation with Saudi Arabia and billions of dollars of military equipment sales to Riyadh. He raised the possibility that “rogue killers” murdered Khashoggi, a theory which could absolve Saudi leaders from responsibility.

British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said on Friday that allegations about Khashoggi’s case would be totally unacceptable if true but he added Britain had a strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia, and that any British action would be “considered”.

Tuvey and others predicted the cost of any sanctions would be small. The option most widely discussed by U.S. politicians is the so-called Magnitsky Act, which can impose visa bans and asset freezes on individuals over human rights issues.

If a small group of Saudis were found responsible for Khashoggi’s death and sanctioned this way, it could be embarrassing for Riyadh but have no significant economic impact.

A Gulf banker who works with Saudi Arabia said that however the Khashoggi affair ended, the opportunities to earn fees arranging deals for the PIF meant Western banks would ultimately be “back on their knees seeking business” from it.

After the killing of student protesters in Beijing in June 1989, direct foreign investment in China sank over 20 percent in the first half of 1990 but about a year later, it was once again growing strongly.

Financial market moves show investors are worried about the Khashoggi affair but not nearly as fearful as they were after oil prices began plunging in 2014.

The Saudi riyal fell in the forwards market and the cost of insuring Saudi debt against default is up, but by small margins compared to past bouts of instability.

LONG TERM
But even after normal business ties with the West resume, Khashoggi may cast a shadow over foreign capital flows into Saudi Arabia. Western companies may be keen to earn fees and win contracts, but perceptions of rising political risk could limit foreign direct investment.

A Gulf banker said she was receiving many queries about the Khashoggi affair from foreign clients as it was the latest in a series of crises under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, including the arrest of scores of officials and businessmen in a corruption purge last year.

“It’s cumulative – the Yemen war, the dispute with Qatar, the tensions with Canada and Germany, the arrests of women activists. They add up to an impression of impulsive policy-making, and that worries investors.”

If Riyadh escapes major sanctions over Khashoggi, it may still face a less sympathetic U.S. Congress. This could, for example, lead to a revival of efforts to pass legislation exposing OPEC oil producers to anti-trust lawsuits.

And some fear the affair could weaken the 33-year-old Prince Mohammed’s domestic authority, creating political instability or slowing his reform drive, which has included slashing the state budget deficit and lifting a ban on women driving.

The reforms and the corruption crackdown have won Prince Mohammed support among many Saudis, but have also hurt some royal family members and businessmen. The Khashoggi affair could conceivably become the catalyst for a backlash.

“We’re worried that this could derail all the work that has been put in the past year towards the economic and social reforms,” said a banker in Riyadh.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
October 18, 2018 - Putin says can't justify spoiling Saudi ties over Khashoggi affair
Putin says can't justify spoiling Saudi ties over Khashoggi affair | Reuters



President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia did not have enough information about the unexplained disappearance of a Saudi journalist to justify spoiling ties with Riyadh.

Turkey says Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who was critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed by Saudi agents in Riyadh’s diplomatic mission in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and his body cut up. Saudi Arabia denies the allegation.

Putin told a discussion forum in the Black Sea resort of Sochi that Moscow did not really know what had happened in the case, that it was a pity that the journalist had gone missing, and that Russia would wait for details.
 
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angelburst29

The Living Force
20.10.2018 - Washington Post Columnist Jamal Khashoggi Died in Istanbul - Saudi State Media
Washington Post Columnist Jamal Khashoggi Died in Istanbul - Saudi State Media

The Saudi prosecutor general announced on state television Friday that their preliminary conclusion about the fate of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is that a fight broke out between him and people who met him in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, an altercation which led to his death.

The Saudi top prosecutor also said that while the investigation is still underway, 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested so far.

Saudi state media also announced that Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri, a senior adviser to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and high-ranking official in the monarchy's general intelligence directorate, was fired from his post Friday amid reports that he would be a "fall guy" for Khashoggi's death, Sputnik reported. It was also reported that Saud al-Qahtani, a royal court adviser, was removed.

The report further indicated that Saudi King Salman had ordered the formation of a ministerial committee, with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman as its head, to restructure the intelligence agency.

The Washington Post, a publication to which Khashoggi regularly contributed, reported on Tuesday that Qahtani is Mohammad bin Salman's "media adviser but also increasingly his consigliere," helping to boost his media image but also to use the latest methods in cracking down on dissent online.

The claims come amid news that Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke on the phone Friday about the progress of both of their investigations.

Khashoggi never left the consulate after entering it on October 2 to obtain papers necessary for his upcoming marriage. After weeks of speculation and widespread reports that he had been killed or abducted out of the country, this is the first confirmation of the journalist's death.


20/10/2018 - Saudi Arabia acknowledges Jamal Khashoggi died in Consulate, says 18 detained
Saudi Arabia acknowledges Jamal Khashoggi died in consulate, says 18 detained

Saudi Arabia acknowledged early Saturday local time that journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in that country's consulate in Istanbul, and said that 18 Saudi citizens have been arrested.

The Saudi general prosecutor also claimed that Khashoggi, who was critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was involved in a "quarrel and fighting by hand" which led to Khashoggi's death.

The statement by the state Saudi Press Agency comes amid a firestorm of criticism against the Saudi crown prince, and over U.S. President Donald Trump's response to the crisis.

Khashoggi disappeared on Oct. 2 after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The Washington Post's editorial page has demanded a full accounting of what happened to Khashoggi, and in an editorial published on Friday accused Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of "conspiring with the Saudi leadership, buying time for them to construct a cover story that will deflect a wave of international outrage and discourage Congress from sanctioning the regime."


2018-10-15 - Khashoggi Mystery: Rogue Killers Or Rogue Royals?
Khashoggi Mystery: Rogue Killers Or Rogue Royals? - Eurasia Future

Trump’s claim that “rogue killers” might have been responsible for Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s possible murder is likely only half of the story in the sense that this operation probably wasn’t ordered by Riyadh but might have been undertaken at the behest of rogue royals who want to topple the Crown Prince.

Trump just dropped a bombshell when he alleged that missing Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi might have been murdered by “rogue killers”, which suggests that Riyadh didn’t officially order his assassination like many had been led to think after such claims began to spread around the world like wildfire last week. The Mainstream Media narrative was immediately suspicious because it claimed that the image-conscious Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) was so offended by Khashoggi’s critical commentary about him that he ordered his dramatic torture, assassination, and subsequent dismemberment inside his country’s Istanbul consulate in a daring move that would have reversed all of the soft power gains that he painstakingly (and expensively through paid PR) tried to make over the past three and a half years if it was true. Furthermore, Khashoggi was closely connected with the American, Turkish, and Saudi “deep states”, so assassinating him in such a manner was bound to draw global attention.

Now, however, it turns out that maybe MBS wasn’t behind this killing after all, though cynics would immediately retort that this might just be a cover story to distract from the billions of dollars in bribes that the Crown Prince might have secretly paid out to the US and Turkey over the past week in order to sweep this scandal under the rug. That’s probably not what’s happening though, since it’s much more plausible that rogue royals ordered this deliberately sloppy assassination in order to frame MBS and prompt enough international pressure against him that the King would be compelled to remove him as his heir. MBS’ so-called “anti-corruption” sweep nearly one year was in essence a “deep state” coup carried out by the elements of the military-intelligence bureaucracy that are loyal to the Crown Prince and believe that his Vision 2030 series of socio-economic reforms is the only way to save Saudi Arabia from impending collapse in the next decade.

His royalist enemies allied with the Kingdom’s influential Wahhabi clerics and have been conspiring to overthrow him ever since on the basis that he “backstabbed” his own family and is moving “too fast” in dismantling the system of extreme socio-religious restrictions that Riyadh imposed on its citizens after the 1979 Grand Mosque seizure. These political fantasies would have gone nowhere had this cabal not had sympathetic “sleeper cells” within the same military-intelligence faction that swept away most of MBS’ opposition late last year, and this was hinted at as much in late April during an hours-long outbreak of gunfire in the capital that many observers regarded as a failed coup attempt against the Crown Prince. It didn’t help matters any that MBS was missing from public sight until he reappeared at President Putin’s side in Moscow during the World Cup. Since then, there’s been a persistent threat that more “sleeper cells” might emerge, which they seem to have done earlier this month.

Instead of another brazen coup attempt where the conspirators once again rush a government building with guns blazing, this second iteration was meant to be more subtle and long-running, with the ultimate intent being to frame MBS for supposedly ordering Khashoggi’s killing in his country’s Istanbul consulate in order for the supposedly Alzheimer-afflicted King to be manipulated into deposing him as Crown Prince in exchange for relief from any forthcoming sanctions. It can’t be known for sure at this stage, but the Saudi consulate in Istanbul might have been manned by anti-MBS royalists just like some Turkish diplomatic facilities had previously been run by the Gulenists, which would explain why they allowed these “rogue killers” to enter the building. In actuality, however, they would have only been “rogue” in the sense of collaborating with MBS’ royalist enemies and operating without their government’s knowledge, but were probably indeed part of a secret assassination squad.

It’s not “conspiratorial” to exercise caution and wait for all the facts to come in before making a judgment on this matter either, since that’s incidentally the official position of Saudi Arabia’s hated nemesis, Iran. Out of all the governments in the world, one would ordinarily expect Iran to back the allegations that MBS was behind this assassination plot in order to simply undermine the reputation of their main enemy, but it’s instead maintaining an official policy of “prefer[ring] to wait until more details and facts are revealed” because “it is too early to comment”, which stands in stark contrast to what its many sycophants have been up to all weekend on social media after mistakenly thinking that their geopolitical role model wanted them to push the Mainstream Media’s narrative. It might end up being that Tehran has a change of heart and joins in the mudslinging, but right now it’s behaving very responsibly.

This in and of itself suggests that there’s certainly much more to this curious case than initially meets the eye, so much so that Iran actually appears somewhat hesitant to do anything that could advance the West’s policy of pressure against MBS in spite of them regarding him as one of their country’s most serious threats. That speaks to the enormity of the actual conspiracy that might have been attempted with Khashoggi’s likely assassination and dismemberment in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate by “rogue killers” operating at the behest of rogue royals, the latter of whom might even be allied with Trump’s “deep state” foes for whatever their common cause may be. That could explain why the President thought it wise to introduce the “rogue killer” narrative into the discussion in order to preempt his own enemies from exploiting the current situation to their benefit. Everything might still suddenly change as new information emerges, but right now it looks like MBS is indeed being set up.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
Saudi officials are looking to replace 33-year Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) with Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, the last remaining son of the founding King Abdul Aziz bin Saud, well-known American journalist David Ignatius said.

Sat Oct 20, 2018 - WaPo Columnist Says Saudis Mulling to Overthrow MbS after Khashoggi-Gate
Farsnews

"Saudi sources tell me that those who oppose MbS are quietly rallying around Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, the last remaining son of the founding King Abdul Aziz bin Saud," Ignatius wrote in a piece in The Washington Post.

Criticizing US spy agencies' actions about threats against newly-murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the writer asked "have US intelligence agencies provided the White House any assessments about Ahmed’s views and political prospects? Would he stabilize the kingdom after the MbS earthquake, or produce greater instability?"

Ignatius also suggested that the Senate and House intelligence committees should begin an urgent oversight investigation of what US spy agencies knew about threats against Khashoggi — and also into their broader reporting and analysis on Saudi Arabia and its headstrong crown prince.

Washington Post had earlier reported that before Khashoggi’s disappearance, the US had found access to some vital information about Riyadh's decision to capture the WaPo columnist, raising speculation over American-Saudi joint scenario to get rid of the journalist. Before the journalist’s disappearance, "US intelligence intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture him," a person familiar with the information said according to Washington Post, adding that the Riyadh regime wanted to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and lay hands on him there.

Ignatius further stressed that the congressional inquiry should focus first on the intelligence agencies’ “duty to warn” Khashoggi about any lethal threat, because his US residency qualified him as a “US person” for whom such a warning was required.

"It should look, too, for any hint that US intelligence about MbS has been skewed by the [Donald] Trump White House for political reasons," Ignatius wrote, noting that "the investigation should examine the larger problem of US visibility into the kingdom, which has too often been a black hole for our spy agencies".

Khashoggi, known for his criticism of Saudi Arabia's policies, went missing on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain a marriage document. Ankara has accused Riyadh of murdering the Khashoggi and smuggling his body out of the consulate in pieces. Saudi Arabia first denied the charges as “baseless", stressing that the journalist left the consulate shortly after he arrived, without providing any evidence. But, after two weeks of denial by Saudi officials, Riyadh confessed that Khashoggi had been murdered by its security agents at the Istanbul consulate, but made no mention of where his body is.

US intelligence has also revealed that the the Saudi crown prince ordered an operation to detain Khashoggi after luring him back to Saudi Arabia, according to The Washington Post. US officials speaking on the condition of anonymity have told The Washington Post that MbS and other Saudi officials tried to get Khashoggi to return to Saudi Arabia, where he is from, with offers of government employment and protection.

Also, US intelligence agencies are increasingly convinced that the Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince played a role in Khashoggi’s disappearance in early October, according to a report.

Citing unidentified officials, The New York Times reported that information leaked to the public – names and photos of 15 Saudis who travelled to Istanbul on October 2 as well as claims Turkey possesses audio recordings of Khashoggi’s death – is helping convince the US intelligence community that the crown prince was involved.

Comparing Khashoggi case with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914, or the failed plot by German officers to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944, Ignatius said, citing his Saudi friend, that Saudis are at "an unanticipated fulcrum of history".

"Khashoggi’s apparent death may seem unimportant by comparison, but it has begun a chain of events that could alter the Middle East," journalist wrote, citing the same person.


Sat Oct 20, 2018 - Jamal Khashoggi Probe: Turkish President Vows to Uncover Truth After Saudi Admission
Farsnews

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to uncover the truth behind Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing, sources close to the Turkish leader told Middle East Eye, as international outrage over Riyadh's most recent explanation grows.

"Turkey will reveal whatever had happened. Nobody should ever doubt about it," Omer Celik stated, according to the official Anadolu news agency.

In a stunning about-face, on Friday night Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi was killed on October 2 in its consulate in Istanbul, claiming the journalist died in a fist-fight that broke out unintentionally.

But Turkish authorities are not satisfied with the Saudi explanation, a high-level source told Middle East Eye, and are collecting strong, mounting evidence that Khashoggi was the victim of a premeditated murder.

Turkish sources previously told MEE that they have evidence that Khashoggi was tortured, murdered and dismembered by a 15-man strong hit squad. It took Khashoggi seven minutes to die, the sources said.

From the outset, Riyadh claimed Khashoggi, a leading critic of the Saudi government, left the consulate soon after arriving.

Two days after Khashoggi's disappearance, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman told Bloomberg News that the journalist had left the consulate.

"Yes, he's not inside," the heir to the Saudi throne said, adding that "my understanding is he entered and he got out after a few minutes or one hour".

However, a drip feed of details from a Turkish investigation appears to have forced Riyadh into admitting that Khashoggi did in fact die in the Saudi consulate.

Over the past week investigators have been searching for the body of Khashoggi, which sources told MEE was begun to be dismembered before the journalist had died.

The Turkish prosecutor-general is writing up a report on Khashoggi's killing, but will not publish until a body is found, according to MEE.

Saudi Arabia acknowledged on Friday that there had been attempts to cover up the killing, but it has not released any information publicly on what happened to Khashoggi's body.

In a statement published on the state Saudi Press Agency, an unidentified Saudi official said "the preliminary investigations conducted by the Public Prosecution showed that the suspect had travelled to Istanbul to meet with the citizen Jamal Khashoggi as there were indications of the possibility of his returning back to the country".

He added that discussions with Khashoggi in the consulate "did not go as required and developed in a negative way, leading to a fight" that in turn led to the journalist's death "and to their attempt to conceal and cover what happened".

However, sources have told MEE that Khashoggi was killed by an injection of drugs, likely morphine, after being tortured.

Were his remains to be found, traces of the drug may be found, asking new questions of Saudi Arabia's fist-fight narrative.

Erdogan and Saudi King Salman spoke by phone on Friday night, agreeing to continue cooperation and exchanging details on the case, the Turkish presidency said in a statement.

Turkish sources told MEE that they are seeking the extradition of 15 Saudis they have identified as members of a hit squad sent to kill Khashoggi.

However, the sources said Ankara is extremely concerned that the suspects will be arrested and executed by Saudi authorities before Turkish investigators can have the opportunity to question them.

The Saudi prosecutor has stated that 18 suspects have been taken into custody so far.


18 Oct, 2018 - Suspected member of Khashoggi ‘hit-team’ dies in mysterious ‘traffic accident’ in Saudi Arabia
Suspected member of Khashoggi ‘hit-team’ dies in mysterious ‘traffic accident’ in Saudi Arabia


A member of the 15-man team suspected in the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has died in an accident back in Saudi Arabia, according to Turkish media, prompting suspicion of a cover up.

Meshal Saad al-Bostani, a 31-year-old lieutenant in the Saudi Royal Air Force, is believed to have died in a 'suspicious car accident' in the Saudi capital Riyadh, sources told the Turkish Yeni Safak - the one that earlier covered the shocking details of the murder.

A still taken from a Turkish police CCTV video, released by the Sabah newspaper, identified Bostani as he passed through Istanbul's Ataturk airport on October 2.

He, along 14 other Saudi citizens allegedly arrived and left Turkey on the same day and are alleged by Turkish police to have tortured and murdered Khashoggi after he entered the Saudi consulate.

The unconfirmed death of Bostani has already prompted accusations on social media that a cover up was underway by those who orchestrated Khashoggi's disappearance.

Saudi Arabia isn't safe for anyone, not even their own citizens. I urge everyone to leave the country.

These fears have also been voiced in Turkish media, with Daily Hürriyet columnist writing Thursday that Saudi Arabia's Istanbul consul-general Mohammad al Otaibi could be “the next execution.”

On Wednesday, it was reported that the consul-general returned to Saudi Arabia on October 16, before authorities searched his residence as part of their investigations.

In reports of an unreleased recording documenting Khashoggi's alleged murder and dismemberment, Otaibi is believed to have said "do it somewhere else outside or I will be in trouble," to Khashoggi's interrogators.

He was reportedly told to “shut up if you want to live when you are back in Saudi Arabia.”


October 19, 2018 - Saudi Crown Prince had no knowledge of "specific' Khashoggi operation: source
Saudi crown prince had no knowledge of 'specific' Khashoggi operation: source | Reuters


Saudi Arabia’s crown prince had no knowledge of the specific operation that resulted in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul this month, a Saudi official familiar with the investigation said on Friday.

“There were no orders for them to kill him or even specifically kidnap him,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity and adding that there was a standing order to bring critics of the kingdom back to the country.

“MbS had no knowledge of this specific operation and certainly did not order a kidnapping or murder of anybody. He will have been aware of the general instruction to tell people to come back,” the source said, using the initials of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The source said the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body were unclear after it was handed over to a “local cooperator” but there was no sign of it at the consulate.


October 19, 2018 - Trump says not satisfied with Saudi handling of Khashoggi death
Trump says not satisfied with Saudi handling of Khashoggi death | Reuters


U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he is not satisfied with Saudi Arabia’s handling of the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, and said questions remain unanswered.

Saudi Arabia said early on Saturday that Khashoggi, a critic of the country’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had died in a fight inside its consulate in the Turkish city.

Riyadh provided no evidence to support its account, which marked a reversal of an initial statement that Khashoggi had left the consulate the same day he entered on Oct. 2 to get documents for his upcoming marriage.

Asked during a trip to Nevada if he was satisfied that Saudi officials had been fired over Khashoggi’s death, Trump said: “No, I am not satisfied until we find the answer. But it was a big first step, it was a good first step. But I want to get to the answer.”

Turkish officials suspect Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was killed inside the consulate by a team of Saudi agents and his body cut up.

Trump said it was possible that Prince Mohammed had been unaware of the circumstances around the death of Khashoggi, a Saudi national and U.S. resident.

Trump said no one seems to know where the journalist’s body is, adding that no one from his administration has seen video or a transcript of what happened inside the consulate.

While Middle Eastern allies closed ranks around the kingdom, Western reaction to the Saudi narrative varied. Trump had initially said it was credible.

Germany and France on Saturday called Saudi Arabia’s explanation of how Khashoggi died incomplete.


October 20, 2018 - Saudi Courts will look at Khashoggi Case: Justice Minister
Saudi courts will look at Khashoggi case: justice minister | Reuters


The case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi took place on Saudi sovereign territory and it will be looked at by Saudi courts when all procedures are complete, Saudi Arabia’s justice minister said in a statement issued by state news agency SPA on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia said earlier that dissident Khashoggi died in a fight inside its Istanbul consulate in its first admission of his death after two weeks of denials that have shaken Western relations with the kingdom.


October 20, 2018 - Yemen praises Saudi decisions on Journalist's Death: Yemen News Agency
Yemen praises Saudi decisions on journalist's death: Yemeni news agency | Reuters


Yemen on Saturday praised decisions made by the Saudi king in relation to the death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi,
according to the Saudi-backed government’s state news agency.


Saudi Arabia said on Saturday that Khashoggi, a prominent journalist and critic of the kingdom’s de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, died in a fight inside its Istanbul consulate - after two weeks of denials that it was involved in his disappearance.
 
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angelburst29

The Living Force
P.S. Sorry about the nut's-up former Post - I didn't catch "the line strike" in time - must be those little mischievous Gremlin's at it again? Oh, Jeez! :headbash:

October 21, 2018 - Amid skepticism, Saudi official provides another version of Khashoggi death
Saudi Arabia calls Khashoggi killing 'grave mistake', says prince not aware | Reuters

As Saudi Arabia faced intensifying international scepticism over its story about the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a senior government official laid out a new version of the death inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul that in key respects contradicts previous explanations.

The latest account, provided by a Saudi official who requested anonymity, includes details on how the team of 15 Saudi nationals sent to confront Khashoggi on Oct. 2 had threatened him with being drugged and kidnapped and then killed him in a chokehold when he resisted. A member of the team then dressed in Khashoggi’s clothes to make it appear as if he had left the consulate.

After denying any involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi, 59, for two weeks, Saudi Arabia on Saturday morning said he had died in a fistfight at the consulate. An hour later, another Saudi official attributed the death to a chokehold, which the senior official reiterated.

Turkish officials suspect the body of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was cut up but the Saudi official said it was rolled up in a rug and given to a “local cooperator” for disposal. Asked about allegations that Khashoggi had been tortured and beheaded, he said preliminary results of the investigation did not suggest that.

The Saudi official presented what he said were Saudi internal intelligence documents which appeared to show the initiative to bring back dissidents as well as the specific one involving Khashoggi. He also showed testimony from those involved in what he described as the 15-man team’s cover-up, and the initial results of an internal probe. He did not provide proof to substantiate the findings of the investigation and the other evidence.

This narrative is the latest Saudi account that has changed multiple times. The authorities initially dismissed reports that Khashoggi had gone missing inside the consulate as false and said he had left the building soon after entering. When the media reported a few days later that he had been killed there, they called the accusations “baseless.”

Asked by Reuters why the government’s version of Khashoggi’s death kept changing, the official said the government initial account was based on “false information reported internally at the time.” “Once it became clear these initial mission reports were false, it launched an internal investigation and refrained from further public comment,” the official said, adding that the investigation is continuing.

Turkish sources say the authorities have an audio recording purportedly documenting Khashoggi’s murder inside the consulate but have not released it.

Riyadh dispatched a high-level delegation to Istanbul on Tuesday and ordered an internal investigation but U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he is not satisfied with Saudi Arabia’s handling of Khashoggi’s death and said questions remain unanswered. Germany and France on Saturday called Saudi Arabia’s explanation of how Khashoggi died incomplete.

According to the latest version of the death, the government wanted to convince Khashoggi, who moved to Washington a year ago fearing reprisals for his views, to return to the kingdom as part of a campaign to prevent Saudi dissidents from being recruited by the country’s enemies, the official said.

To that end, the official said, the deputy head of the General Intelligence Presidency, Ahmed al-Asiri, put together a 15-member team from the intelligence and security forces to go to Istanbul, meet Khashoggi at the consulate and try to convince him to return to Saudi Arabia.

“There is a standing order to negotiate the return of dissidents peacefully; which gives them the authority to act without going back to the leadership” the official said.

“Asiri is the one who formed the team and asked for an employee who worked with (Saud) al-Qahtani and who knew Jamal from the time they both worked at the embassy in London,” he said.

The official said Qahtani had signed off on one of his employees conducting the negotiations.

CHOKEHOLD
According to the plan, the team could hold Khashoggi in a safe house outside Istanbul for “a period of time” but then release him if he ultimately refused to return to Saudi Arabia, the official said.

Things went wrong from the start as the team overstepped their orders and quickly employed violence, the official said.

Khashoggi was ushered into the consul general’s office where an operative named Maher Mutreb spoke to him about returning to Saudi Arabia, according to the government’s account.

Khashoggi refused and told Mutreb that someone was waiting outside for him and would contact the Turkish authorities if he did not reappear within an hour, the official said.

Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, has told Reuters he had handed her his two mobile phones and left instructions that she should wait for him and call an aide to Turkey’s president if he did not reappear.

Back inside the consul’s office, according to the official’s account, Khashoggi told Mutreb he was violating diplomatic norms and said, “What are you going to do with me? Do you intend to kidnap me?”

Mutreb replied, “Yes, we will drug you and kidnap you,” in what the official said was an attempt at intimidation that violated the mission’s objective.

When Khashoggi raised his voice, the team panicked. They moved to restrain him, placing him in a chokehold and covering his mouth, according to the government’s account.

“They tried to prevent him from shouting but he died,” the official said. “The intention was not to kill him.”

Asked if the team had smothered Khashoggi, the official said: “If you put someone of Jamal’s age in this position, he would probably die.”

MISSING BODY
To cover up their misdeed, the team rolled up Khashoggi’s body in a rug, took it out in a consular vehicle and handed it over to a “local cooperator” for disposal, the official said. Forensic expert Salah Tubaigy tried to remove any trace of the incident, the official said.

Turkish officials have told Reuters that Khashoggi’s killers may have dumped his remains in Belgrad Forest adjacent to Istanbul, and at a rural location near the city of Yalova, 90 kilometers (55 miles) south of Istanbul.

Turkish investigators are likely to find out what happened to the body “before long,” a senior official said.

The Saudi official said the local cooperator is an Istanbul resident but would not reveal his nationality. The official said investigators were trying to determine where the body ended up.

Meanwhile, operative Mustafa Madani donned Khashoggi’s clothes, eyeglasses and Apple watch and left through the back door of the consulate in an attempt to make it look like Khashoggi had walked out of the building. Madani went to the Sultanahmet district where he disposed of the belongings.

The official said the team then wrote a false report for superiors saying they had allowed Khashoggi to leave once he warned that Turkish authorities could get involved and that they had promptly left the country before they could be discovered.

Skeptics have asked why so many people, including military officers and a forensics expert specializing in autopsies, were part of the operation if the objective was to convince Khashoggi to return home of his own volition.

The disappearance of Khashoggi, a Saudi insider turned critic, has snowballed into a massive crisis for the kingdom, forcing the 82-year-old monarch, King Salman, to personally get involved. It has threatened the kingdom’s business relationships, with several senior executives and government officials shunning an investor conference in Riyadh scheduled for next week and some U.S. lawmakers putting pressure on Trump to impose sanctions and stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

The official said all 15 team members had been detained and placed under investigation, along with three other local suspects.
 
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