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#1 User is offline   Liz 

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  Posted 13 October 2018 - 04:06 PM

What The Media Aren’t Telling You About Jamal Khashoggi

The dissident’s fate says a lot about Saudi Arabia and the rise of the mobster state

Spectator USA
John R. Bradley
October 11, 2018, 6:42 AM


As someone who spent three decades working closely with intelligence services in the Arab world and the West, the Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi knew he was taking a huge risk in entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week to try to obtain a document certifying he had divorced his ex-wife.

A one-time regime insider turned critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — the de facto head of the Saudi kingdom which tolerates no criticism whatsoever — Khashoggi had been living in Washington for the previous year in self-imposed exile amid a crackdown on independent voices in his homeland.

He had become the darling of western commentators on the Middle East. With almost two million Twitter followers, he was the most famous political pundit in the Arab world and a regular guest on the major TV news networks in Britain and the United States. Would the Saudis dare to cause him harm? It turns out that the answer to that question was ‘You betcha.’

Following uneventful visits to the consulate and, earlier, the Saudi embassy in Washington, Khashoggi was lured into a murderous plan so brazen, so barbaric, that it would seem far-fetched as a subplot in a John le Carré novel. He went inside the Istanbul consulate, but failed to emerge. Turkish police and intelligence officials claimed that a team of 15 hitmen carrying Saudi diplomatic passports arrived the same morning on two private jets. Their convoy of limousines arrived at the consulate building shortly before Khashoggi did.

Their not-so-secret mission? To torture, then execute, Khashoggi, and videotape the ghastly act for whoever had given the order for his merciless dispatch. Khashoggi’s body, Turkish officials say, was dismembered and packed into boxes before being whisked away in a black van with darkened windows. The assassins fled the country.

Saudi denials were swift. The ambassador to Washington said reports that Saudi authorities had killed Khashoggi were ‘absolutely false’. But under the circumstances — with his fiancée waiting for him, and no security cameras finding any trace of his leaving the embassy — the world is left wondering if bin Salman directed this murder. When another Saudi official chimed in that ‘with no body, there is no crime’, it was unclear whether he was being ironic. Is this great reforming prince, with aims the West applauds, using brutal methods to dispose of his enemies? What we have learned so far is far from encouraging. A Turkish newspaper close to the government this week published the photographs and names of the alleged Saudi hitmen, and claims to have identified three of them as members of bin Salman’s personal protection team.

There are also reports in the American media that all surveillance footage was removed from the consulate building, and that all local Turkish employees there were suddenly given the day off. According to the New York Times, among the assassination team was the kingdom’s top forensic expert, who brought a bone saw to dismember Khashoggi’s body. None of this has yet been independently verified, but a very dark narrative is emerging.

In many respects, bin Salman’s regime has been revolutionary: he has let women drive, sided with Israel against Iran and curtailed the religious police. When Boris Johnson was foreign secretary, he said that bin Salman was the best thing to happen to the region in at least a decade, that the style of government of this 33-year-old prince was utterly different. But the cruelty and the bloodletting have not stopped. Saudi Arabia still carries out many public beheadings and other draconian corporal punishments. It continues to wage a war in Yemen which has killed at least 10,000 civilians.

The fate of Khashoggi has at least provoked global outrage, but it’s for all the wrong reasons. We are told he was a liberal, Saudi progressive voice fighting for freedom and democracy, and a martyr who paid the ultimate price for telling the truth to power. This is not just wrong, but distracts us from understanding what the incident tells us about the internal power dynamics of a kingdom going through an unprecedented period of upheaval. It is also the story of how one man got entangled in a Saudi ruling family that operates like the Mafia. Once you join, it’s for life, and if you try to leave, you become disposable.

In truth, Khashoggi never had much time for western-style pluralistic democracy. In the 1970s he joined the Muslim Brotherhood, which exists to rid the Islamic world of western influence. He was a political Islamist until the end, recently praising the Muslim Brotherhood in the Washington Post. He championed the ‘moderate’ Islamist opposition in Syria, whose crimes against humanity are a matter of record. Khashoggi frequently sugarcoated his Islamist beliefs with constant references to freedom and democracy. But he never hid that he was in favour of a Muslim Brotherhood arc throughout the Middle East. His recurring plea to bin Salman in his columns was to embrace not western-style democracy, but the rise of political Islam which the Arab Spring had inadvertently given rise to. For Khashoggi, secularism was the enemy.


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#2 User is offline   Kilmerfan 

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Posted 13 October 2018 - 07:20 PM

Everyone is the bad guy in Saudi Arabia, I don't trust the Turks either.

#3 User is offline   Vandervecken 

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 09:32 AM

Have to say bin Salman seems to be following the Putin model, but unlike Putin really is fairly chummy with the President.

Sadly, this IS realpolitik. It is the way of the world. And as Kashoggi was Muslim Brotherhood--you don't ever "leave" that--I find I don't care.

#4 User is offline   Ladybird 

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 01:05 PM

Audio Offers Gruesome Details of Jamal Khashoggi Killing, Turkish Official Says
Oct. 17, 2018

ISTANBUL — His killers were waiting when Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. They severed his fingers and later beheaded and dismembered him, according to details from audio recordings described by a senior Turkish official on Wednesday.

Mr. Khashoggi was dead within minutes, and within two hours the killers were gone, the recordings suggested.

The leaking of such details, on the same day Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was visiting Turkey, reflected an escalation of pressure by the Turkish government on Saudi Arabia and the United States for answers on the fate of Mr. Khashoggi, a prominent dissident journalist who wrote for The Washington Post.

Doesn’t sound like much of an interrogation.

#5 User is offline   BootsieBets 

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Posted 18 October 2018 - 02:28 PM

It is despicable what happened or allegedly happened to Khashoggi. Prince bin Salman seems to be turning out to be as bad as anyone else in Saudi Arabia over the years. The reform looks like it is just for show. Also, Khashoggi was a dissident, but he wasn’t a good guy either. As Vandervecken said, he was Muslin Brotherhood, so his dissent was mostly like that of Trotsky. He just wanted a different flavor of oppression.

This post has been edited by BootsieBets: 18 October 2018 - 02:31 PM


#6 User is offline   zurg 

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 06:28 PM

I might get smacked for this but I think there’s likely much much more to this story than “bin Salman was upset”. One, the Saudis aren’t dumb enough to believe that no one would notice or get video like they did. Two, when’s the last time they did this kind of a blatant killing and didn’t really care if people think they did it?

So there was something really significant. I don’t know what, but they sure sent a message. A very public message.

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