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Jamal Khashoggi killing: Saudi Arabia hopes world will forget

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khashoggi mbs
A
composite image of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Associated Press/Virginia Mayo; Nicolas Asfouri –
Pool/Getty


  • It’s been roughly a month since
    Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed
    in the Saudi
    consulate in Istanbul, and Riyadh still hasn’t answered simple
    questions about his death.
  • We don’t know where Khashoggi’s body is.
  • The Saudis have admitted Khashoggi’s killing was
    premeditated, but haven’t said who ordered the hit.
  • Istanbul is getting frustrated with Riyadh’s lack of
    cooperation as experts warn the Saudis aren’t interested in a
    genuine investigation.

It’s been roughly a month since
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed
in the Saudi
consulate in Istanbul, and Riyadh still hasn’t answered simple
questions about his death.

Khashoggi was a prominent Saudi journalist who went into
self-imposed exile last year after he was barred from writing by
the royal family. He was often critical of the Saudi government,
and had been writing for The Washington Post before he was
killed.

When he entered the Saudi Consulate on October 2, he intended to
obtain documents that would allow him to marry his Turkish
fiancée. But Khashoggi never exited the building.

The disturbing and mysterious circumstances surrounding
Khashoggi’s killing rapidly made it an international scandal for
Saudi Arabia. But the story seems to be fading from memory,
especially in the US where people have been inundated with news
of attempted pipe bombings and a synagogue massacre ahead of the
2018 midterm elections. This seems to be exactly what the Saudis
are hoping for.


Read more:

Here’s everything we know about the troubling disappearance and
death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Sherine Tadros, head of the UN office for Amnesty International
in New York,
recently told Business Insider
, “At the end of the day the
Saudis have clearly had a very destructive hand in the events
that went on inside of that consulate. They don’t want to see a
real investigation happen.”

‘We are still demanding answers and accountability’

Khashoggi’s editor at The Post, Karen Attiah, is urging people to
keep pushing for answers on his killing.

On Tuesday, Attiah
tweeted
, “I know there a lot going on into the news, but just
reminder that a Washington Post columnist, [Jamal Khashoggi] and
my friend was brutally murdered almost 4 weeks ago by Saudi state
actors. We are still demanding answers and accountability.”

Attiah is correct. We still don’t know exactly who ordered the
hit against Khashoggi, nor do we know where his body or remains
are. The Saudis have been evasive when questioned about this and
the Trump administration, which has close ties to the Saudi
leadership, is being criticized for not putting more pressure on
Riyadh in this regard.

Saudi Arabia’s narrative on Khashoggi’s killing has shifted
multiple times since he first disappeared on October 2.


Read more:

How the Saudi government’s story on slain journalist Jamal
Khashoggi has shifted over time

Initially, the Saudis claimed he safely departed the consulate,
but provided no proof.

After over two weeks, Riyadh finally admitted Khashoggi was dead,
dubiously claiming he was accidentally killed in a fistfight in
the embassy as part of a “rogue operation” that Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, had no prior knowledge
of. MBS, the de facto ruler of the kingdom, is widely suspected
of orchestrating the killing.

Amid the twists and turns in their narrative, reports surfaced
the Saudis attempted to use a body double to cover-up the
killing. Saudi officials ultimately told The Associated Press a
body double was used but said it was part of a plan to kidnap
rather than kill Khashoggi.

The Saudi’s narrative shifted again when state-run news quoted a
prosecutor with knowledge of Turkey’s investigation into
Khashoggi’s fate as saying evidence indicated that his killing
was premeditated.

In short, Riyadh went from denying any involvement in Khashoggi’s
killing to admitting his death was planned.

Both Istanbul and Riyadh say Khashoggi’s killing was
premeditated, but we still don’t know who ordered it

Istanbul’s chief prosecutor Irfan Fidan on Wednesday said an
investigation into Khashoggi’s killing found he was strangled
shortly after entering the consulate and subsequently
dismembered. This was the most official description yet of what
happened to Khashoggi. Up until this point, many of the purported
details surrounding Khashoggi’s killing were a result of Turkish
officials leaking information to the press.

In his announcement on Wednesday, Fidan also demanded Riyadh
reveal where Khashoggi’s body is. An anonymous Saudi official
previously told Reuters that Khashoggi’s body was wrapped up in a
rug and given to a “local collaborator.” There’s no proof of
this, and Fidan said no statement had been made by the Saudis
regarding the existence of a local cooperator.

The Saudis have also not said who ordered the killing, offering
no details on the
“planning stage,”
Fidan said. Turkish President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan has expressed frustration of this fact as well, and on
Tuesday called on Riyadh to reveal who made the order.

“There is no point in procrastinating or trying to save some
people from under this,”
Erdogan said.

Fidan further demanded the Saudis extradite 18 people arrested in
connection with Khashoggi’s killing to Istanbul, reiterating a
similar call recently made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan. But the Saudis seem insistent on trying trying the
suspects in domestic courts.

Fidan’s statement came after a three-day visit from Saudi
Arabia’s top prosecutor, Saud al-Mojeb.

The Istanbul prosecutor said his meetings with Mojeb over
Khashoggi’s killing ended with “no concrete” results.

“Despite our well-intentioned efforts to reveal the truth, no
concrete results have come out of those meetings,”
Fidan said,
stating the Saudis had promised “same day”
answers but not delivered.

‘We did not get the impression that they were keen on genuinely
cooperating’

An unnamed Turkish official
told Agence France-Presse
on Wednesday that the Saudis do not
seem interested in “genuinely cooperating with the
investigation.”

“The Saudi officials seemed primarily interested in finding out
what evidence the Turkish authorities had against the
perpetrators,” the official said.

“We did not get the impression that they were keen on genuinely
cooperating with the investigation,” the official added.

The Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC, did not immediately respond
to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Trump is under pressure to do more, but has expressed reluctance

President Donald Trump has
largely stood by the Saudis throughout the Khashoggi crisis
.

The White House has not responded to repeated requests for
comment from Business Insider on whether Trump has asked the
Saudis about the location of Khashoggi’s remains.

Meanwhile, US lawmakers seem frustrated by the lack of progress
in the investigation, including Republicans.


Read more:

‘I think the Saudis believe they have a blank check’: Top Senate
Democrat slams Trump’s response to Khashoggi killing

There have been bipartisan calls for the US to level economic
sanctions against, and end arms sales to, the Saudis — something
Trump has expressed a reluctance to do.

Republican senators on Wednesday stepped up these efforts by

sending a letter to Trump
urging him to suspend negotiations
for a US-Saudi civil nuclear agreement, specifically citing “the
murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”

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