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October 12, 2018 10:21 AM   Subscribe

Jamal Khashoggi (twitter), is a Saudi Arabian-born journalist [Al-Jazeera English] and opinion[Washington Post] writer[Al-Arabiya]. A critic[MidEastEye] of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman[aka MBS][AJE] and his policies[WaPo], he left Saudi Arabia for Turkey last year. On October 2, he was called to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul[MEE] on what was apparently a routine paperwork matter.
He has not been seen since[AJE]. posted by the man of twists and turns (219 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
 




Why are being so coy about him being murdered, with a nod from Trump?
posted by Artw at 10:33 AM on October 12 [14 favorites]


Thank you for making this post.
posted by rhizome at 10:34 AM on October 12 [6 favorites]


The foreign policy article is good. The Turks use disinformation all the time for political ends, and no one's seen a body, so could be lies. On the other hand, the Saudis have been really erratic lately, so the embassy murder doesn't sounds completely insane...
posted by kaibutsu at 10:44 AM on October 12 [2 favorites]


That Atlantic article that starts out with three paragraphs speculating all the ways Saudi Arabia/MBS might not be responsible for Khashoggi's disappareance is, uh, something. I'm not sure why people are so sure that the "reformer MBS" media blitz is incompatible with murdering perceived enemies. (I'm not sure why, in 2018, people persist in assuming competence from heirs.)

The most recent Rational Security podcast offered a comparison to Kim Jong Un -- a young tyrant who strikes out with violence and aggression to demonstrate his independence from older advisers. They also talked a little (though, as is typical with RS, not very conclusively) about the "duty to warn" from US Intel agencies.
posted by grandiloquiet at 10:50 AM on October 12 [2 favorites]


It's far past time to start calling out Saudi Arabia's vast amount of human rights abuses. Was the only thing stopping everyone before just all the oil money?
posted by reductiondesign at 11:02 AM on October 12 [5 favorites]


could be lies

Could be, but if it is, where is he? If he was alive and free, he'd have popped up; if he was alive and captured, he'd be on camera broadcasting from an undisclosed location about how incredibly voluntary his travel was and how non-tortured he's been.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:03 AM on October 12 [24 favorites]


The concluding paragraph of the Foreign Policy linked article is pretty chilling:
Finally, and most poignantly, journalists, academics, dissidents, and oppositionists should fear for their lives. Governments have long targeted these groups, but now seems to be a particularly dangerous moment, especially for journalists. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been ordering the killing people he does not like at will—on St. Petersburg streets, at Washington hotels, in small British cities, and elsewhere. Turkey, the leading jailer of journalists in the world, has kidnapped followers of the exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen in Asia and Europe—and just before the Khashoggi disappearance, one of Erdogan’s closest advisors warned that Turkey’s dragnet would extend across the globe. Egypt is also a notorious jailer of reporters, holds countless other who oppose the regime, is responsible for the brutal death of an Italian graduate student, and killed at least 800 people in a Cairo neighborhood in a single morning in August 2013. China recently disappeared the Chinese head of Interpol and has interned a million people in concentration camps. Now, the Saudis stand accused of murder. If they did it, they will likely get away with it—not on Twitter or the editorial pages of the Washington Post and the New York Times, but where it counts: in the White House.

Ours is an era of international thuggishness combined with a total absence of norms. That makes everyone a target.
posted by dnash at 11:07 AM on October 12 [48 favorites]


From the MEE link:
As the PR fallout has gathered momentum, human rights advocates and others, however, have questioned why that the kingdom's three-year-long offensive in Yemen and arrests over the past year of activists, business people and religious scholars hasn't elicited similar high-profile outrage.
This apparent murder is truly awful, but it seems to be a mere drop in the bucket in awfulness that MBS/Saudi Arabia has been engaged in.

Trumps position isn't shocking, but it's clumsy. Yes, the US normally is happy to engage with murderous regimes if we can make money from them (selling arms, to continue murdering), but normally we don't admit this is the reason.
posted by el io at 11:08 AM on October 12 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure why, in 2018, people persist in assuming competence from heirs.

Weeeelllll, the KSA has like approximately one gajillion possible “heirs,” in that sense, and MBS wasn’t even first in line until out-maneuvered a bunch of other ruthless fucks who were, technically, better positioned, and then he consolidated power via doing things like arresting and sequestering the richest and most powerful members of the royal family until they proclaimed loyalty and, presumably, actually paid tribute / gave hostages / whatever these feudal fucks do. This is in addition to forming alliances with UAE, the US, and Israel against Qatar and Iran. Very Putin-esque, actually.

So I would say he’s very competent in at least one narrow, murdery political arena.

Was the only thing stopping everyone before just all the oil money?

That and our ability to operate militarily in the region.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:10 AM on October 12 [12 favorites]


Ours is an era of international thuggishness combined with a total absence of norms. That makes everyone a target.

It’s not stated explicitly, but this is a direct consequence of who is in the White House.

People shit on American imperialism a lot, for really good reasons. But it was also the only thing keeping a lot of terrible things in check.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:13 AM on October 12 [27 favorites]


Was the only thing stopping everyone before just all the oil money?

That and our ability to operate militarily in the region.


The U.S. hasn't had a significant base in Saudi Arabia since 2003. There are still some military personnel in the country; they're all directly assisting Saudi Arabian forces, not performing force-projection missions.
posted by Etrigan at 11:32 AM on October 12 [7 favorites]


I read the languagehat post on the derivation of his name. Because it is 2018, of course it derives from the word for "spoons."
posted by mabelstreet at 11:33 AM on October 12 [7 favorites]


As usual, As'ad AbuKhalil has an incisive analysis of this Middle East issue (podcast)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 11:39 AM on October 12


Was the only thing stopping everyone before just all the oil money?

Not just oil; the president bragged last summer about the money he’s getting from selling them munitions – $110 billion.

As of yesterday, some senators are making noise about blocking that deal.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:40 AM on October 12 [10 favorites]


15 of 19.

The Saudi's have been a problem for a lot longer than just now. We should've went to Riyadh, not Baghdad.

Was the only thing stopping everyone before just all the oil money?

That and all the money they spend lobbying.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:00 PM on October 12 [7 favorites]


We should've went to Riyadh, not Baghdad.

I get what you are saying but when was the last time America dropping bombs in a faraway land solved anything but pending Chapter 11 filing for the defense industry?
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:37 PM on October 12 [8 favorites]


the money he’s getting from selling them munitions – $110 billion.

Which is, hilariously, not a real deal. There's no $110 billion arms deal, or even series of deals.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:39 PM on October 12 [6 favorites]


This apparent murder is truly awful, but it seems to be a mere drop in the bucket in awfulness that MBS/Saudi Arabia has been engaged in.

Sure, but it's understandable and relatable in a way that is way simpler for the average person. Dude wants some documents from the government to get married fer fucksake and they use that to lure him into a place where they attack him. So you have a single identifiable person victimized while he's trying to do something smoopy and hindered by government bureaucracy. He's a journalist with nobody pointing to anything criminal or out of sorts that he's done, from the perspective of US citizens.

On the flip side you have something that involves conflicts between governments, neither of which is their personal home country. It's in the Middle East which many of us in the US grew up thinking of as "that place that's always fighting" if they thought of it at all. If you're completely disconnected from world news, which so many USians are, it's inscrutable to you. If you're willing to invest the time to think about it the Middle East is often fractal in how the more you read and learn the more there is to read and learn, so I suspect there's probably even folks in the not-totally-ignorant middle who have shrugged it off.

I think only someone who is well-read and informed about the Saudis and Yemen could express that sort of surprise at the disparity in reactions and only if they don't recall their supposed Stalin quotes: One death is a tragedy, a thousand is a statistic.
posted by phearlez at 12:45 PM on October 12 [8 favorites]


There has to be a middle ground between "sell them all the weapons of death" and "bomb the hell out of them" in our foreign policy.

Also, it might be useful to discuss the relationship with Saudi Arabia in terms that aren't partisan. "Both Sides" are super-cozy with them, and are happy to sell them arms, ignore human rights abuses, and facilitate their illegal wars.
posted by el io at 12:46 PM on October 12 [8 favorites]


It’s not stated explicitly, but this is a direct consequence of who is in the White House

As the FPP articles make clear, the Saudis have been abducting people whoever happens to be in the White House. The US has been enabling Saudi misdeeds since FDR. I don't recall Obama, for instance, making much noise about feminist Loujain al-Hathloul's abduction (not to mention the war/famine Saudi/US started against Yemen under his term, among other things...). On the contrary, he was a solid defender of Saudi. Let's not engage in historical amnesia and pretend this sordid US-Saudi relationship started yesterday.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 1:10 PM on October 12 [23 favorites]


There has to be a middle ground between "sell them all the weapons of death" and "bomb the hell out of them" in our foreign policy.

Of course, the constructive example here is "any African country without mineable resources." Building upon that, indifference is a great weapon against rich people.
posted by rhizome at 1:13 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]


The thing I don't quite understand is just the ham-fistedness of the murder.

It was just so poorly executed and careless, don't the Saudis have better operatives than this? They didn't even try to establish a cover story, there's no deniability, it just seems so half-assed. Surely they could have just shot/stabbed him in an alley, rifled his pockets a bit, and called it a robbery gone wrong — it's not like you need to get all stupidly complicated like the Russians with rare poisons and crap (which is a different kind of ham-fistedness).

...so maybe we say they're not being stupid, and it's 3d-dimensional chess where they're trying to intimidate people and imply "hey, we don't even need to hide! Woo00o!" But that doesn't really make sense either! You can do that with plausible deniability! That happens all the time! Just look at poor Shashidhar Mishra!
posted by aramaic at 2:55 PM on October 12 [5 favorites]


Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy National Security Advisor, has an article in the Atlantic, A Fatal Abandonment of American Leadership: The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi drives home the consequences of the Trump administration’s refusal to champion democratic values around the globe.
posted by peeedro at 2:58 PM on October 12 [12 favorites]


Maybe it was a kidnap gone wrong? We know he went to the embassy twice. After that first time, the Saudis scramble and put together a team to grab him during his next appointment, but somehow screw it up and kill him instead of just incapacitating him.
posted by BungaDunga at 3:35 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]


Or: they’ve been told it’s okay to murder journalists, murders of journalist are up all over the globe, they murder the journalist, the murder is approved with the whole “that’s turkey/permenantly residents aren’t people” business.
posted by Artw at 3:40 PM on October 12 [7 favorites]


CNN and MSNBC are reporting that the audio of his murder wasn't obtained through traditional espionage but rather Khashoggi recorded his own death and torture with his apple watch, which he synced to the cloud.
posted by Justinian at 3:54 PM on October 12 [15 favorites]


"if he was alive and captured, he'd be on camera broadcasting from an undisclosed location about how incredibly voluntary his travel was and how non-tortured he's been." --posted by BungaDunga at 1:03 PM on October 12

Hate to be *that guy* but - absence of evidence does not equal evidence of absence.
posted by symbioid at 4:10 PM on October 12


The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct.
posted by Artw at 4:24 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]


Khashoggi recorded his own death and torture with his apple watch, which he synced to the cloud.

Amidst the horror and general despair, I'm left thinking that perhaps these Saudi agents were not the best of the best. They left his fucking apple watch on?

Jesus Christ. I really hope it wasn't his fiance who had to listen to it.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:25 PM on October 12 [6 favorites]


Sure it is- the absence of any CCTV footage of him leaving the embassy is evidence that none exists, because the Saudis claim he did and surely would have released a frame or two if the footage exists.

In the same way that correlation isn't causation but does nudge, wink, and wiggle its eyebrows suggestively towards causation.
posted by BungaDunga at 4:32 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]


"CNN and MSNBC are reporting that the audio of his murder wasn't obtained through traditional espionage but rather Khashoggi recorded his own death and torture with his apple watch, which he synced to the cloud.
posted by Justinian at 3:54 PM on October 12 [2 favorites +] [!] "

2018 tech
posted by pjmoy at 4:46 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]


TechCrunch has an article about the presence of the Apple Watch and what it likely means. tl;dr: it may not have synced, and if it did, it's encrypted (health data, at least)

The charge that there's audio is from a Turkish newspaper, dunno how credible.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:46 PM on October 12


"CNN and MSNBC are reporting that the audio of his murder wasn't obtained through traditional espionage but rather Khashoggi recorded his own death and torture with his apple watch, which he synced to the cloud.
posted by Justinian


What I'm seeing on CNN is this:

Turkish officials are investigating whether Khashoggi's Apple Watch reveals clues as to what happened to him inside the Saudi consulate, examining whether data from the smartwatch could have been transmitted to a cloud, or his personal phone, which was with Cengiz outside, Reuters reported, citing two senior Turkish officials.

Turkish officials *say* they have audio recordings proving Khashoggi was murdered, but they have not released, or shared that audio with anyone, nor are they saying how they got said audio.

For now, I would leave this in the realm of "Maybe?", rather than fact.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 5:49 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]


For now, I would leave this in the realm of "Maybe?", rather than fact.

I can't, obviously, say whether it's fact that it happened but I can say that it is fact CNN and MSNBC reported it on-air. Not that Turkish officals were investigating if the Watch could reveal clues but that the Watch was how the audio was obtained. Like I said, I can't say that's true but I can say CNN/MSNBC reported it 'cause I saw it happen.
posted by Justinian at 5:58 PM on October 12


There's a pretty obvious incentive for Turkish administration officials to attribute any recordings they might have to Khashoggi's watch, right? To not reveal whatever kind of surveillance they've managed to put inside of Saudi diplomatic buildings. Is it realistic for CNN or MSNBC to have sources for this who aren't (or at least aren't traceable back to) Turkish administration officials?
posted by mhum at 6:09 PM on October 12 [4 favorites]


People shit on American imperialism a lot, for really good reasons. But it was also the only thing keeping a lot of terrible things in check.

whew, a lot to unpack in those two sentences, but foremost, one of the USA's premier client states running roughshod over human rights in its region is exactly what American imperialism is.
posted by dusty potato at 7:37 PM on October 12 [33 favorites]


Yes, the US-Saudi relationship keeps a lot of "terrible things" in check like... Yemenis eating; Bahraini demonstrations for democratic rights; Saudi women venturing out in public without a male guardian; any form of non-Wahhabist Islam in the region... and lets not forget that terrible plague of witchcraft and sorcery Saudi is valiantly combatting...
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 1:50 AM on October 13 [10 favorites]


Al Jazeera English has a Youtube playlist of all their coverage related to Khashoggi. A tag on their site mixes video and written coverage. (Al Jazeera is funded by the Qatari state of course, Qatar being a US-allied regional rival of Saudi Arabia, though last year it suddenly became a target for a propaganda and trade sanctions offensive by KSA and the Trump administration.)
posted by XMLicious at 2:28 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


Trump: Saudis ‘Vehemently Deny’ Killing Jamal Khashoggi

What is "well I never in all my life!" in Arabic?
posted by rhizome at 10:42 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]


@aramaic

An older friend of mine, who works in intelligence, said to me recently about the Russian assassination attempt that, "It's sloppy. They're getting sloppy. This is not how things are done." With a hint of what almost sounded like lament in his voice, my friend told me that this is what the Russians used to be good at.

Part of it is that yes, these states are trying to project an intimidating facade to coerce opponents into silence or surrender. At the same time, such an outward posture or explanation is really just an excuse for institutional decay (or lack of initial quality in training/expertise). Doing these operations competently takes money, knowledge, training and time. A lot of states are willing to cut corners, or their reservoir of candidates and instructors has changed.

In Russia's case, their regression is likely more an issue of personnel and institutional health (literally, "The GRU/FSB ain't what they used to be"). USSR-era employees who would have conducted training have died or retired. All that experience has been washed away. The current generation of senior officers are thugs that started their careers executing civilians in the Caucasus. New recruits have grown up in a naked kleptocracy that is so rampant, it is probably manifest in the internal structure of their organisation. Corruption has rotted out their core.
posted by constantinescharity at 2:07 PM on October 13 [13 favorites]


Corruption has rotted out their core.

The ends can always justify the means for some people, so I'm sure it'll all be water under the bridge once Putin gets control of Ukraine. Even so, there are only two people identified and I doubt they're indispensible, if you know what I mean.
posted by rhizome at 2:38 PM on October 13


I suspect it's less that Russia got bad at wetwork, and that Saudi Arabia sent incompetent people to conduct a hit, and more that the leadership of those nations both knows they can get away with open murder and (more important) that by doing this so openly that there is not even a shred of plausible deniability they are making a statement.

With Russia it's the statement that, as far as Russian leadership is concerned, any ethnic Russian anywhere on Earth is under the protection/threat/control/ownership of the Russian government. I suspect the KSA is trying for a similar declaration of what might be termed trans national ethnic nationalism. International borders, they are saying, are irrelevant. Those are **OUR** people to either guard, or slay, as we see fit.

Since nothing is ever just one thing, it's also a declaration that journalists had better STFU. Journalism has always been a threat to power, and as the tide of right authoritarianism rises worldwide the more authoritarian power figures are flexing their muscle and working to squash journalists who annoy them secure in the knowledge that with journalism hating Donald Trump in the White House the US is even less willing or able to interfere than it had been in the past.

But I doubt very seriously that either Russia's state sponsored murderers nor the assassins of Saudi Arabia are incompetent or low quality. The very openness and lack of deniability is as much a statement as the murders themselves.
posted by sotonohito at 7:16 PM on October 13 [14 favorites]


“A Pen Too Sharp” (video, 42 mins, direct .mp4 link), a Deutsche Welle documentary just released about the assassination of Maltese journalist Daphné Caruana Galizia a year ago tomorrow. (content warning: begins with a graphic description of her death by her son, who was nearby at the time, with more details given later on)
posted by XMLicious at 8:30 AM on October 15


The Strange Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Khashoggi distinguished himself with an eagerness to please and an uncanny ability to adjust his views to those of the prevailing government. In the era of anti-Communism and the promotion of fanatical jihad in Afghanistan and elsewhere, Khashoggi was a true believer. He fought with Osama bin Laden and promoted the cause of the Mujahideen.
...
Western media coverage of Khashoggi’s career (by people who don’t know Arabic) presents a picture far from reality. They portray a courageous investigative journalist upsetting the Saudi regime. Nothing is further from the truth: there is no journalism in Saudi Arabia; there is only crude and naked propaganda.
...
Khashoggi was a reactionary: he supported all monarchies and sultanates in the region and contended they were “reformable.” To him, only the secular republics, in tense relations with the Saudis, such as Iraq, Syria and Libya, defied reform and needed to be overthrown. He favored Islamization of Arab politics along Muslim Brotherhood lines.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 8:37 AM on October 15


As usual, As'ad AbuKhalil has an incisive analysis of this Middle East issue (podcast)

I listed to this [same authoer as The Strange Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi) - the claim is that Khashoggi supported the wrong faction prior to MBS's elevation, and is a victim of House of Saud palace infighting.

Also, definitely dead.

There's been a lot of speculation about sloppiness and incompetence. I tend to think that much like "the cruelty is the point," the visibility is the point.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:04 AM on October 15


With the Russians the cruelty has always been the point, but the sloppiness is new. Whether anything can be read into it... who knows. Probably just means that with the paralysis of the West and it being open season on foreign dissidents the various despotic powers are falling over themselves to take advantage of it before there’s any kind of swing back.
posted by Artw at 9:17 AM on October 15




The Strange Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
This appears to just be a blogpost by a guy who didn't like Khashoggi. He offers no sources for his claims, which if true would sure be so convenient for the Trump administration that they would be blasting them from the rooftops. I went to see what Trump-friendly media sources that are not blogs are saying, and the Wall Street Journal, for instance, is not saying that. For instance, the blogpost claims that Khashoggi fought with Bin Laden. The WSJ says that is true, but he fought with Bin Laden in the 1980s when the US was funding Bin Laden's fight against the Russians in Afghanistan. It seems likely that all of the blogpost's claims are similar half truths written to make Khashoggi look bad. I don't know whose agenda the blogger is serving, but it is not the Trump administration's, and it doesn't seem like it's the truth, either.
posted by hydropsyche at 11:51 AM on October 15 [7 favorites]


So it seems like the Saudi government is about to throw a few operatives under the bus - and under the executioners sword. If there is a chance that Turkey expels the Saudi Ambassador he might want to jump ship sooner rather than later lest he suffer the same fate.
posted by PenDevil at 1:25 PM on October 15


hydropsyche, the only "half truth" you mention from the article -- that Khashoggi fought with Osama Bin Laden -- is, as you recognize, a full truth. I never thought that fighting alongside Osama Bin Laden -- at whatever point in time -- would be a point cited in Khashoggi's defense! Khashoggi doesn't need to have been a saint for his tragic death and dismemberment to be criminal and wrong.

I would take As'ad AbuKhalil's opinion over the WSJ (which I can't read, because of a paywall) any day of the week. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the Middle East and follows the Arabic-language press much closer than anyone writing for large American papers, I would wager. He wrote a book on Saudi (and another one on Bin Laden, btw). And as a committed left-winger (he identifies as an anarchist), I doubt he would be serving a right-wing agenda.

I mean, I'm open to evidence otherwise, but what he says here seems to be true. Khashoggi was the victim of a factional struggle in which he chose the wrong Saudi faction to pander to. The Saudi monarchy, whose record of viciousness and impunity is clear, decided that even that Khashoggi's gentle criticism was too much to tolerate, so they gave the execution order. The only reason why this Saudi atrocity is making waves -- while much worse ones are not -- is that Khashoggi happened to make some influential friends in his brief period in Washington who are now pressing the Saudis for answers.

In any case, when the Middle East analysis in the NYT is done by Thomas Friedman, can a "blog" be so bad? If there's anything we've learned from the Khashoggi affair, it's how many people in US media circles have ties to Saudi.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 1:38 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]


The Strange Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi

Yes, strange. A mystery.

even that Khashoggi's gentle criticism was too much to tolerate, so they gave the execution order

"Gentle criticism" would seem to be in tension with "pandered to the wrong side." Unless the Saudis are a bunch of fucking psychos, which I'm willing to consider in context if it's presented without diplomacy.

In any case, when the Middle East analysis in the NYT is done by Thomas Friedman yt , can a "blog" be so bad?

Hell to the Y-E-S. I don't know if that's the case here, I don't know enough, but the marketplace of ideas is not a zero-sum game.
posted by rhizome at 1:47 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]


"Gentle criticism" would seem to be in tension with "pandered to the wrong side"

Why? One can be a non-radical critic of a different faction, as seems to be the case here.

but the marketplace of ideas is not a zero-sum game

Obviously. My point was that an opinion should not be written off merely for its appearance on a "blog." Especially when our information coming from many purportedly reputable outlets is manifestly compromised. See the links on Saudi ties.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 2:08 PM on October 15


One can be a non-radical critic of a different faction, as seems to be the case here.

Sure, they just seemed to be different degrees of apostasy (so to speak) and kind of apples and oranges.

My point was that an opinion should not be written off merely for its appearance on a "blog." Especially when our information coming from many purportedly reputable outlets is manifestly compromised.

Yup. I generally try to withold judgment on any news about fraught and/or nebulous topics until it's reported by multiple sources.
posted by rhizome at 2:25 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]


According to CNN, the Saudis are preparing to announce he died due to an accident during interrogation. Then they chopped him up into little pieces, as is custom.
posted by floam at 9:22 PM on October 15 [6 favorites]


Isn't "he died during interrogation" just a brazenly obvious euphemism for "we tortured him to death?" Best case is still that they "only" intended to abduct and torture him.
posted by contraption at 12:58 AM on October 16 [7 favorites]


Well, it does seem that he died in custody and they couldn't risk an autopsy. Maybe it was because they tortured him, maybe it was because they drugged him. But yes: torture seems likely because a disappeared body is more incriminating than almost anything else.

Do we actually know he was dissected, by the way? Is it not possible that he was smuggled out, alive or dead, in a diplomatic bag? Maybe his remains are still whole, but they're concealing them while they wonder how to explain a dead Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia when they started with a live one in Istanbul.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:44 AM on October 16 [1 favorite]


My point was that the accusations against Kashogghi in that unsourced opinion piece (is that better?) would be incredibly convenient to the Trump administration—“He was a bad guy and deserved to be killed” is totally a Trumpian narrative. Yet the Trump administration is not using that line, nor are Trump-friendly sources like the WSJ, and the only person saying that is this one unsourced opinion piece. And again, to many people ‘fought with Bin Laden against the Russians in Afghanistan in the 1980s’ is not what is usually implied by ‘fought with Bin Laden’, which many would interpret to mean ‘in the 90s or 2000s against the US’, and it seems like an intentionally vague claim to further paint Kashogghi as a bad guy.

And now even the Saudis are saying ‘oops our bad’ instead of saying they kiled him because he was a bad guy.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:28 AM on October 16 [4 favorites]


New York Times shuts down $11,995 Saudi Arabia tours

Actually the tours started at $11,995.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:38 AM on October 16 [3 favorites]


A quick news round-up:

NYT: Khashoggi Disappearance May Disrupt Trump Administration’s Plans to Squeeze Iran
White House officials are worried that the apparent killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and Saudi Arabia’s changing account of his fate, could derail a major showdown with Iran and jeopardize plans to enlist Saudi help to avoid disrupting the oil market.

Officials said the dilemma comes at a terrible moment for the Trump administration, which will reimpose harsh sanctions against Tehran on Nov. 4, with the intent of cutting off all Iranian oil exports.

But to make the strategy work, the administration is counting on its relationship with the Saudis to keep oil flowing, and to work together on a new policy to contain Iran in the Gulf. If it moves forward, the Saudis would probably see a significant increase in oil revenues at exactly the moment Congress is talking about sanctioning the kingdom.

It is one reason that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was sent, with a few hours’ notice, to see King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Part of the problem is optics, officials said: The Saudis look like a pretty brutal ally, just as President Trump and Mr. Pompeo have been casting Iran as the regional disrupter.
CNN: Pompeo Meets Saudi King As Khashoggi Family Calls For Inquiry Into 'Death'

n.b. CNN's Jim Sciutto: "New: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia lasted no more than 15 minutes, CNN estimates based on the time the top U.S. diplomat’s motorcade arrived at the royal court and departed. #Khashoggi"

CNBC: Turkish Official: New Evidence Journalist Jamal Khashoggi Was Slain In Consulate
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:32 AM on October 16


Incidentally, CNN's Kevin Liptak notes Mike Pence is now getting involved: “PENCE says he will speak later today to Sec. Pompeo, adds that if Khashoggi "was murdered, we need to know who was responsible." He says if he is found to have been murdered, the person responsible needs to be held to account.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:35 AM on October 16


“Person”.

Interesting wording. Sounds like the cover-up is coming together.
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on October 16 [1 favorite]


“He was a bad guy and deserved to be killed”

Nobody said that.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 11:44 AM on October 16 [1 favorite]


Jamal Khashoggi's killing took seven minutes, Turkish source tells Middle East Eye which publishes first details of audio tape acquired by Turkish investigators .
posted by adamvasco at 3:55 PM on October 16 [3 favorites]


Trump talks to AP:
“I think we have to find out what happened first,” Trump said. “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned.”
posted by BungaDunga at 5:20 PM on October 16 [2 favorites]


Jiminy. adamvasco's link has some grim details. I assumed he was killed, and then he was dismembered. The bone saw thing, a terrifying aspect of the cold-blooded black ops logistics of removing a body from a consulate after a murder. But no, the source claims the recording indicates he was killed by being dismembered.

He screamed until he was injected with something to silence the screams, as they continued to separate him piece by piece. If this were a scene in Homeland, my suspension of disbelief would be jarred by how unrealistic, cartoony, unnecessarily evil that would be. The cold-blooded, rational actors working on behalf of an evil nation state would still find it harder to kill someone this way than to simply shoot them, so such a thing just wouldn't be expected to ever happen, right?

What a nightmare. These are some scary motherfuckers.
posted by floam at 10:00 PM on October 16 [4 favorites]


Erdogan could release the entire recording at any time but by leaking out the (increasingly horrifying) details slowly he really is just tightening the vice. I wonder if he has been trying to get some concessions out of the Saudis?
posted by PenDevil at 11:43 PM on October 16


From the Turkish recording and the NYT account, the anatomist who dismembered the living Khashoggi was Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy who
“spent three months in Australia as a visiting forensic pathologist at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. His published writings include works on dissection and mobile autopsies.”
The Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine is about five miles from me; I've gone past it many times. I wonder how the fellows there feel about their association now.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:57 PM on October 16 [6 favorites]


MBS’s rampaging anger will not silence questions about Jamal Khashoggi (David Ignatius, WaPo)
Inside his royal palace in Riyadh, Mohammed bin Salman is said to have alternated between dark brooding and rampaging anger in the days after the death of Jamal Khashoggi, as Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, or MBS, as he is widely known, looked for someone to blame for what Turkish officials have said was the journalist’s grisly murder.

One possible scapegoat, according to several sources, may be Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy chief of Saudi intelligence. Assiri “has made numerous approaches to MBS on taking actions against Khashoggi and others,” said one source who is familiar with Western intelligence reports. […]

The darkening mood inside MBS’s palace in recent months shows a crown prince facing economic pressure and tightening his circle of advisers.

MBS’s key counselor is said to have been Saud al-Qahtani, the crown prince’s media adviser but also increasingly his consigliere in the kingdom’s battles with foreign adversaries such as Qatar and Iran as well as domestic critics. Like his boss, Qahtani is considered young and headstrong.

Qahtani organized interviews with MBS for visiting foreign journalists. But sources say he was quietly assuming a larger role overseeing strategy in social media, which the Saudis (like the Russians) view as a domain of war. Qahtani’s headquarters was a special “Center for Studies and Media Affairs,” operating inside the royal court without supervision from other ministries. It became, in part, a domestic snooping operation, sources say.

Qahtani is a demon in Saudi Twitter debates, with 1.3 million followers and barbed messages to dissenters. He has created a hashtag with the Arabic term for “Black List,” and he urges Saudis to report enemies of the kingdom. His opponents in Qatar refer to Qahtani’s followers (perhaps including automated bots) as an “Army of Flies.” U.S. officials believe that, in addition to seeking dominance in social media, Qahtani and other advisers have helped MBS use the latest and most aggressive hacking techniques against adversaries.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:21 AM on October 17 [1 favorite]


Inside his royal palace in Riyadh, Mohammed bin Salman is said to have alternated between dark brooding and rampaging anger in the days after the death of Jamal Khashoggi, as Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, or MBS, as he is widely known, looked for someone to blame for what Turkish officials have said was the journalist’s grisly murder

Oh good, we're reusing this trope for all shitheaded dictator-wannabes? "Privately, in [home], [leader] is aggravated [add synonyms here] that [situation]..."
posted by rhizome at 9:31 AM on October 17 [11 favorites]


He's increasingly isolated.
posted by Etrigan at 9:34 AM on October 17 [19 favorites]


It's weird to me that none of the media coverage I'm seeing this is using the word “vivisection”. You usually hear it in 19th-century anti-animal-cruelty activism and in alien abduction stories, but it very specifically describes the situation under discussion.
posted by XMLicious at 9:42 AM on October 17 [4 favorites]


Because vivisection isn't a word outlets who write to a 5th grade reading level would use. And with rare exception, most media outlets target that level of comprehension.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:51 AM on October 17 [3 favorites]


Yeah. I think my surprise is partially due to discovering that, like, the BBC World Service and Democracy Now! are not among the exceptions. DN in particular usually seems gung-ho about dropping technical vocabulary and then reeling out a definition as fast as the presenter can possibly speak, or attempting to accurately pronounce terms and names from other languages.

I'm also kind of surprised to not have heard anywhere else the detail from languagehat's blog via the first comment here, that Khashoggi was apparently Turkoman and thereby an ethnic minority in the KSA?
posted by XMLicious at 1:03 PM on October 17


Most media outlets... In the USA I presume? Certainly the reading comprehension level is higher than 5th grade in the rest of the English speaking world?
posted by some loser at 1:03 PM on October 17


Official Statement: "Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo met today with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh. The Secretary thanked the King for Saudi Arabia’s strong partnership with the United States."

Dean Baker: I heard the King gave Pompeo a piece of Khashoggi as a good will gesture.
posted by JackFlash at 1:19 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


the detail from languagehat's blog via the first comment here, that Khashoggi was apparently Turkoman and thereby an ethnic minority in the KSA?

There's also the whole thing where the Khashoggi in languagehat's blog was Adnan, the guy who owned the ship in Queen's Khashoggi's Ship.

The luxury yacht that Trump later got cheap (and renamed the Trump Princess) and then (possibly, it may have been a pay-off) "lost" to his debtors in 1991, when it was sold to a member of the Saudi royal family.

#n-dimensionalRedStringBoard
posted by Buntix at 1:26 PM on October 17 [4 favorites]


(more important) that by doing this so openly that there is not even a shred of plausible deniability they are making a statement.

This, I think. There's more to fear, for sure.
posted by corb at 1:30 PM on October 17 [2 favorites]


Additional lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous detail: Jamal Khashoggi's cousin (another nephew of Adnan and grandson of Muhammad) was Dodi Fayed, who was dating Princess Diana after her divorce and died with her in the car crash in Paris in 1997.
posted by XMLicious at 1:53 PM on October 17 [5 favorites]


Has anybody talked about where the audio came from?

Seems surprising that Turkey would openly burn an intelligence asset like that.
posted by schmod at 2:08 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]




The Saudis look like a pretty brutal ally, just as President Trump and Mr. Pompeo have been casting Iran as the regional disrupter.

This is the story of, what, the past 39 years?
posted by clawsoon at 2:47 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


Has anybody talked about where the audio came from?

Seems surprising that Turkey would openly burn an intelligence asset like that.


I was wondering about that too, and I speculate that Khashoggi may have been wearing a wire transmitting to a remote recorder. That would account for everything, (possibly including the murder if they discovered the wire and panicked).
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:53 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


Has anybody talked about where the audio came from?

The conventional wisdom is that Turkey had the Saudi consular building bugged. I'm under the impression that it's considered pretty standard practice to bug foreign diplomatic buildings, especially so if you're on semi-hostile terms, like Turkey and Saudi Arabia are.
posted by mhum at 3:52 PM on October 17 [3 favorites]


I was wondering about that too, and I speculate that Khashoggi may have been wearing a wire transmitting to a remote recorder. That would account for everything, (possibly including the murder if they discovered the wire and panicked).

As mentioned above, the reports coming out that Khashoggi recorded his own death with his Apple watch (which he synced to the cloud) may be false stories planted by Turkey to cover up the fact that they had the consulate bugged.
posted by zakur at 3:55 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


My involvement in the Apple world is strangely very relevant here, as the longtime tech blog AppleInsider, of all places, is heavily skeptical about the Apple Watch/sync-to-the-cloud theory. They point out that cellular capability on the Apple Watch is not available in Turkey, that Bluetooth has a very limited range, and thus syncing back to an iPhone outside the interrogation area is pretty much impossible, etc. Even more intriguing is the fact that somebody registered appleinsider.org (the real website is .com) and replicated the entire site, except for one previous story about Khashoggi, where they replaced it with a fake story with obviously fake, broken-English quotes from Tim Cook.

2018, guys. Freakin' 2018.
posted by CommonSense at 4:36 PM on October 17 [12 favorites]


What the Arab world needs most is free expression

By Jamal Khashoggi
October 17 at 7:52 PM

A note from Karen Attiah, Global Opinions editor

I received this column from Jamal Khashoggi’s translator and assistant the day after Jamal was reported missing in Istanbul. The Post held off publishing it because we hoped Jamal would come back to us so that he and I could edit it together. Now I have to accept: That is not going to happen. This is the last piece of his I will edit for The Post. This column perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world. A freedom he apparently gave his life for. I will be forever grateful he chose The Post as his final journalistic home one year ago and gave us the chance to work together.

posted by localhuman at 5:26 PM on October 17 [14 favorites]


.
posted by mostly vowels at 7:10 PM on October 17


Heather Timmons: Kushner disclosed the names of Saudis disloyal to the crown prince, based on info he got from the President's intelligence brief https://interc.pt/2DKsRQK as #Kashoggi investigation begins, this article from March may play a role @AlexEmmons @ryangrim @claytonswisher

Brian Buetler: As evident as the ghoulish, corrupt murder-coverup-to-protect-business-cash-flows situation seems, I think people need to be prepared for the possibility that the full truth of U.S. involvement here is much worse.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:27 PM on October 17 [12 favorites]


> I think people need to be prepared for the possibility that the full truth of U.S. involvement here is much worse.

Josh Marshall, TPM Prime (paywall): Is Nikki Haley’s Resignation Tied to Khashoggi’s Murder? (tl;dr: Probably not, but...)
I could think of no positive evidence whatsoever connecting the two events. But I had definitely considered the possibility for the simple reasons that 1) Khashoggi’s disappearance and apparent murder was a major international incident that lined up closely in time with Haley’s departure and 2) we have yet to receive any credible explanation for Haley’s abrupt resignation.
...
This connection still seems unlikely simply because I cannot think of any confirming information or anything that fits together other than the lack of any credible explanation for her departure and the correlation in time. But having now reviewed the timeline, what I’m now much more curious about is when the Trump administration first became aware of Khashoggi’s probable death.
...
As with Russia, we have good and credible reasons for believing that the President is under the corrupt influence of the leadership in Riyadh. So this critical week before the administration spoke publicly about Khashoggi requires much more attention and scrutiny.
October 2nd, 6:14 a.m. EST: Jamal Khashoggi enters Saudi consulate.
October 3rd: Haley writes letter of resignation, meets with Trump.
October 7th: First public reports of murder.
October 9th: Public resignation, lauding Jared as a "hidden genius".
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:23 AM on October 18 [2 favorites]


Is Nikki Haley’s Resignation Tied to Khashoggi’s Murder?

Why would you assume any of these monsters would in any way be ethically troubled by this?
posted by Artw at 9:54 AM on October 18 [2 favorites]


>> Is Nikki Haley’s Resignation Tied to Khashoggi’s Murder?

> Why would you assume any of these monsters would in any way be ethically troubled by this?


I think the suggestion is not that she was "ethically troubled" (snort) but that she was abandoning ship after it had struck the iceberg but before the proles belowdecks have realized how bad the situation is. That's where lauding MBS's best buddy Jared as a "hidden genius" would be significant, maybe.

But really who knows, in this the year 2018.
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:50 AM on October 18 [2 favorites]


And now we've learned that Jared the Hidden Genius was texting with Mr. Bone Saw over WhatsApp…

CNN: Khashoggi Disappearance Prompts Kushner Retreat From Saudi Frontlines
Facing scrutiny for cultivating close ties with Saudi Arabia's powerful and domineering crown prince, Jared Kushner has remained intentionally in the background this week as West Wing officials feared a more public role would prompt backlash, multiple people familiar with the matter say.

Kushner instead has been operating behind-the-scenes to mitigate the fallout but leaving public explanations to others as his father-in-law's administration confronts a full-blown diplomatic crisis over the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.[...]

The White House declined to comment on Kushner's role in the administration's response to Khashoggi's disappearance.

Senior administration officials said Kushner's close relationship with bin Salman was an early cause for concern among career national security staffers, who worried off-the-books conversations with the young prince could lead to misunderstandings or worse. Kushner is known to have messaged with the prince on the communication app WhatsApp.

But people familiar with the situation say after those concerns were raised, Kushner began notifying other members of the President's team about his conversations and providing readouts afterward.
As Brian Beutler says, we need to be prepared to learn that the Trump administration was much, much more closely involved in Khashoggi's murder.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:30 AM on October 18 [4 favorites]


I think the suggestion is not that she was "ethically troubled" (snort) but that she was abandoning ship after it had struck the iceberg but before the proles belowdecks have realized how bad the situation is.

I’m basucally assuming a bare minimum of awareness of anything going on bar opportunitie to grandstand for the Fox News crowd and what office supplies can be looted.

Maybe she left in a snit because Kushner got murder-money opportunities she didn’t?
posted by Artw at 11:30 AM on October 18


Trump lets all of "the bad countries" do whatever they want, that's why he doesn't have ambassadors there. Jared's just a glad-hander there to report on these countries when they do whatever they want.

He doesn't have any actual skills, so if something like murder by a head of state happens, he's useless.
posted by rhizome at 11:34 AM on October 18 [2 favorites]


Anyone want to hear what Pat Robertson has to say on this?
Prominent evangelical leader on Khashoggi crisis: let’s not risk “$100 billion worth of arms sales”

“For those who are screaming blood for the Saudis — look, these people are key allies,” Robertson said. While he called the faith of the Wahabists — the hardline Islamist sect to which the Saudi Royal Family belongs — “obnoxious,” he urged viewers to remember that “we’ve got an arms deal that everybody wanted a piece of…it’ll be a lot of jobs, a lot of money come to our coffers. It’s not something you want to blow up willy-nilly.”

Ah yes, blessed are the warmongers, for theirs is the multi-billion dollar arms deal.
posted by zabuni at 12:46 PM on October 18 [10 favorites]


It's amazing how Trump and his enablers suddenly think we can't piss off the Saudis because they're key allies. But Europe, Canada, Mexico and on and on are fair game. If you listened to them, you would believe that our only ally in the world was Saudi Arabia and that we were dependent on them for money and guns.
posted by BungaDunga at 1:01 PM on October 18 [8 favorites]


It's amazing how Trump and his enablers suddenly think we can't piss off the Saudis because they're key allies. But Europe, Canada, Mexico and on and on are fair game.

I know you're not really amazed, but it bears spelling out:

The only "relationship" Trump cares about is one where people give him money. That's it. He doesn't believe in helping people without them giving him money, nor does he believe in giving other people money, even if they provide him with a good and/or service for it. The only thing he cares about is a number with a dollar sign in front of it heading toward him.
posted by Etrigan at 1:25 PM on October 18 [8 favorites]


Weird, Khashoggi was banned from Saudi Arabia in 2016 for criticizing Trump.
posted by peeedro at 1:27 PM on October 18 [7 favorites]


@ragipsoylu
BREAKING — French President Macron suspends all political visits to Saudi Arabia in coordination with Germany, UK and Netherlands until #Khashoggi’s disappearance clarified - Al Jazeera
posted by Artw at 2:51 PM on October 18 [2 favorites]


Exclusive: Twitter pulls down bot network that pushed pro-Saudi talking points about disappeared journalist (NBC News)

Interesting to see how some of these talking points migrate from bots to, well, even here.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:51 PM on October 18 [1 favorite]


BREAKING — French President Macron suspends all political visits to Saudi Arabia in coordination with Germany, UK and Netherlands until #Khashoggi’s disappearance clarified

I understand that politicians have to take this kind of wait-and-see approach for the sake of diplomatic sensibilities. But, really, what needs to be clarified here? Everyone knows what happened. And, MBS knows that everyone knows what happened. It was anything but subtle.

The most likely next step will be for MBS to find some suitable sacrificial patsies and blame it all on them as "rogue agents." What is the global diplomatic community going to do after that? Sure, Trump will probably be all like "good enough for us! glad to put all this behind us so we can get back to being best pals." But what are Macron and the rest of the world supposed to do then? If Turkey wrings sufficient concessions out of KSA to the point where the Erdogan admin is also like "yup, it sure was bad that how those rogue agents managed to infiltrate your consulate. better not let it happen again," what happens then? Does everyone have to go along with it and also pretend that MBS didn't order a hit on a journalist in a foreign country?
posted by mhum at 5:57 PM on October 18 [4 favorites]


On the other hand, Russia seems to be killing and/or attempting to kill people willy-nilly in the UK and no one seems to be able to raise much fuss about that.
posted by mhum at 6:03 PM on October 18 [2 favorites]


Wow.

(NY Times editing out some accidental spine)
posted by Artw at 6:06 PM on October 18 [3 favorites]




I expect a regular limbs-falling off epidemic will be going on over there right now, amongst both deserving and underserving folk. The most deserving of all will of course be fully immune.
posted by Artw at 6:26 PM on October 18


Just posted this in the megathread, so:

ABC exclusive: According to a senior Turkish official, Mike Pompeo heard the Khashoggi recording earlier today, and was given a transcript; the State Department denies these things.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:53 PM on October 18 [1 favorite]


Here comes the "he was no angel" phase:
Hard-line Republicans and conservative commentators are mounting a dark whisper campaign against Jamal Khashoggi that is designed to protect President Trump from criticism of his handling of the dissident journalist’s alleged murder by Saudi Arabian operatives — and support Trump’s continued aversion to a forceful response to the oil-rich desert kingdom.

In recent days, a cadre of conservative House Republicans allied with Trump has been privately exchanging articles from right-wing outlets that fuel suspicion of Khashoggi, highlighting his association with the Muslim Brotherhood during his youth and raising conspiratorial questions about his work decades ago as an embedded reporter covering Osama bin Laden, according to four GOP officials involved in the discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly.
posted by peeedro at 7:01 PM on October 18 [5 favorites]


Saudi suspect in Khashoggi disappearance reportedly dies in car accident .

MBS is the only suspect.
posted by rhizome at 7:33 PM on October 18 [1 favorite]




Why one journalist's inability to report on Saudi so they crib from a list of things that the Khashoggi story is supplanting.
posted by rhizome at 7:35 PM on October 18


From NYT: The Saudi rulers are expected to say that General Assiri received oral authorization from Prince Mohammed to capture Jamal Khashoggi for an interrogation in Saudi Arabia, but either misunderstood his instructions or overstepped that authorization

Welp I guess that settles it. Case closed nothing to see here move along.
posted by Justinian at 4:27 AM on October 19 [1 favorite]


I just saw a picture of Kashoggi, and talk about ordinary. He looks like our rabbi.
posted by mikelieman at 5:48 AM on October 19


We’re floating in a sea of useful idiocy.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:41 AM on October 19 [1 favorite]


> The Saudi rulers are expected to say that [...]

We're not even going to wait for them to officially admit that they were involved before we consign this to the "bygones" bin, are we? Thanks, liberal media.
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:42 AM on October 19 [8 favorites]


The spin is "rogue generals"
posted by adamvasco at 7:54 AM on October 19


The spin is "rogue generals"

Sadly, it also gives the Saudis an excuse to purge the other "rogue officers" in their military. Not that they've ever needed one, but when you have a narrative, you use it for all it's worth.

This is all Global Magnitsky Act sanctions worthy.
posted by mikelieman at 8:11 AM on October 19 [4 favorites]


We probably shouldn't be selling military hardware or munitions to a country with rogue generals.
posted by peeedro at 8:14 AM on October 19 [20 favorites]


Do their "generals" often have the run of a foreign consulate?
posted by rhizome at 9:22 AM on October 19


Do their "generals" often have the run of a foreign consulate?

Short answer: Yep.

Slightly longer answer: Countries in the Arab world have a different sort of civil-military divide than we do in the Anglosphere, which is to say, they have none at all. Generals are also routinely business magnates, (non-military) government officials, etc. When I was stationed in Cairo, I lived in an apartment building that the U.S. Embassy leased from an Egyptian general. He also owned the clothing factory that sold the embassy the uniforms that the local-national staff wore.
posted by Etrigan at 10:13 AM on October 19 [7 favorites]


Oh, nuts, I left this other part off: that general was also a government minister, and it wasn't the Ministry of Defense, it was... something to do with transportation or infrastructure? Because he was the only one at that echelon who didn't own a company that would directly benefit from his office, so everyone else figured he could be trusted to dole out the money "fairly".
posted by Etrigan at 10:43 AM on October 19 [4 favorites]


Discussing the evolution of Republican talking points on the Khashoggi disappearance, Slate elects to throw some shade: New Republican Talking Point: Jamal Khashoggi Was No Angel
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:22 PM on October 19


The Experts Were Wrong About the Middle East, Jonathan Schanzer, The Atlantic
Implementing effective policies in the Middle East is complicated. If nothing else, that’s now clear. We may never get justice for Jamal Khashoggi. But we would be lucky if this incident yielded a little more humility and a little less cocksure certainty among the pundit classes. Analysts who are enamored of their own wisdom and who routinely sneer at challengers in condescension have suddenly discovered that their tweets haven’t aged well. Sanctions are not always bad, engagement is not always good, and transactional policy cuts both ways.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:38 PM on October 19


Just like we could probably tough out surging oil prices if the Saudis decide to curtail production in response to tougher American policies.

Hey, I mean, we need to start leaving that oil in ground anyway.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 1:35 PM on October 19 [2 favorites]


More like rogue state.
posted by floam at 1:46 PM on October 19


Interviews with Saudi dissidents about Khashoggi:

Ali al-Ahmed
Madawi Al-Rasheed (parts one and two)

Interviews with others about Khashoggi:

Sarah Aziza (starts at around minute 37)
As'ad AbuKhalil
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 2:44 PM on October 19


The new story:
“discussions that took place between citizen Jamal Khashoggi & the persons who met him during his presence at the consulate in Istanbul led to a fight & quarrel by hands, which caused his death.”
posted by Artw at 3:13 PM on October 19


The throwing-under-the-bus has begun:
• Saudi says initial investigation shows @JKhashoggi has “died”
• probe continues of 18 suspects
• Saudi king dismisses deputy intelligence chief al-Assiri.
• Saudi king dismisses MBS’s closest aide, who oversees the kingdom’s propaganda abroad Saud al-Qahtani


posted by PenDevil at 3:14 PM on October 19


@ositanwanevu
The positive articles about bin Salman seem bad now, but in fairness, how were grown adults living in 2018 supposed to know that absolute monarchies are bad?
posted by Artw at 3:54 PM on October 19 [4 favorites]


Wapo: Saudi Arabia fires 5 top officials, arrests 18 Saudis after saying Khashoggi was killed in fight at consulate.
posted by adamvasco at 4:31 PM on October 19


The usual suspects I presume.
posted by rhizome at 5:23 PM on October 19 [1 favorite]


There is reportedly a recording of Khashoggi screaming as the Kingdom's official vivisectionist cuts him apart. How did they happen to bring that guy along, and how does “a fight” end in a vivisection? Also, the vivisectionist has apparently done it often enough that he can advise his audience that he prefers to have music played while he cuts people apart; just how often does this happen?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:36 AM on October 20


It was a heated exchange, one thing led to another.

The ABC's source, for whatever reason, didn't back up the vivisection deal. Their reporting said he died by strangulation. Another source that day claimed Kashoggi was asked to sign some papers and refused, tortured by having fingers cut off, then killed then dismembered.
posted by floam at 1:27 PM on October 20


Fellow MeFites, break out your tiniest violins to accompany the sad tales D.C. lobbyists for Saudi Arabia are telling the New Yorker: “Trump Never Handles Anything Right”: The President Is Acting Like Saudi Arabia’s Lawyer in the Khashoggi Affair
As the days have extended into weeks with no Saudi explanation forthcoming and Trump’s own party breaking with him, the collateral damage in Washington is starting to accumulate. Lobbying firms and think tanks on the Saudi dole have been pressured into dropping the Kingdom as a client, including the Democratic-leaning firm the Glover Park Group and the G.O.P. firm Barbour, Griffith & Rogers, which gave up a nearly million-dollar-a-year account after one of its founders, the Republican lobbyist Ed Rogers, was told by the Washington Post’s editorial-page editor, Fred Hiatt, to choose between his columns in Khashoggi’s newspaper or his firm’s paycheck from the Saudi government. The last time there was such an anti-Saudi backlash here was in 2001, when fifteen of the nineteen hijackers on 9/11 were revealed to be Saudi nationals.

I spoke with one of the many lobbyists who have been caught up in the Khashoggi affair now that it has become a classic Washington moment, in which a money gusher deemed acceptable by the Beltway’s élite suddenly becomes politically untenable. The lobbyist blamed M.B.S. for not being what Washington wanted him to be. “We can’t all go and live in this guy’s lie. No way. It’s just too vivid and too morbid,” the lobbyist told me. “This isn’t one for everybody to get on board. It’s not going to work that way.” But he was also furious with Trump for exacerbating the scandal and turning it, once again, into a story about Trump himself. “Trump never handles anything right,” the lobbyist, a Republican, said. “Never. Never.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:42 PM on October 20 [1 favorite]


Lanny Davis rejoices as all of his competition declines to get involved.

I think the smart money is probably to let Khashoggi fester for a minute and throw some light on the larger problem of Saudi in general. Monarchy, medieval sexual politics, bad politics in general, slavery, terrorism...oil can't hide all of that forever, and I feel like there's a little bit of sunlight here that can be exploited. A boy can dream, but I'd love to see the entire Saudi project ostracized, if not sanctions.
posted by rhizome at 4:00 PM on October 20


Huh, I can't access the link that the man of twists and turns posted earlier. It's not even available on Google's cache. What are you doing, Atlantic?
posted by invokeuse at 4:50 PM on October 20


Link works here, invokeuse. Try with an incognito/private window in your browser, if you mean you are getting the metered paywall.
Or prepend outline.com/ to the URL.
posted by floam at 4:59 PM on October 20


Here it is at the Internet Archive.
posted by XMLicious at 5:02 PM on October 20


Ah, thanks all. Maybe some geolocation thing since I can read other Atlantic articles just fine.
posted by invokeuse at 5:51 PM on October 20


Nice long piece at Der Spiegel“Death on the Bosphorus: How an Apparent Saudi Hit Job Has Shaken the World” (🏛)
"It was like a Tarantino film," says one Turkish investigator.

[...]

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman asserted in an interview with Bloomberg that Khashoggi had left the consulate after just a short time. But the prince has yet to provide any evidence to support that claim. Unfortunately, all surveillance cameras failed that day, though the manufacturer of the system swears that such a thing is not technically possible.

[...]

After friends were arrested and he was banned from publishing stories in Saudi Arabia, Khashoggi fled to the United States last fall. "Since MBS has been crown prince," he recently told DER SPIEGEL, "there has been immediate and quick retaliation." He paid a price for his rebellion. His wife filed for divorce and relatives cut off contact with him. But Khashoggi refused to remain silent. "I can speak when so many cannot," he wrote in one of his columns for the Washington Post.

It is said that the royal house once again reached out its hand during the summer and that intermediaries made an offer for Khashoggi to return to Saudi Arabia as an adviser to MBS. He turned them down. Is that the decision that sealed his fate?

[...]

British author John Bradley, a longtime friend of Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia, compares the House of Saud with the mafia, which writes its own laws and knows no scruples. He says that Khashoggi had been connected with the royal family for years and had been part of the system. But it is well-known that the mafia only makes lifelong contracts, says Bradley. It doesn't allow people to suddenly drop out. He says Khashoggi's situation was ultimately that of a man who tried to leave the mafia and was therefore "disposed of."

[...]

Whatever these purported tourists did in Istanbul, they are the prince's men. Riyadh is portraying rumors about Khashoggi's murder as a conspiracy against the Saudi kingdom. The state channel Al Arabiya aired a special 40-minute program with the title: "What did Qatar have to do with Khashoggi's disappearance?" The Twitter hashtag "tweet your love for Saudi Arabia" has also been trending. Users tweeted photos of the crown prince, the national flag and sentences like: "We are proud, we need nobody. But the entire world needs us."

[...]

For the German government, the Khashoggi case comes at the most inopportune time imaginable. Just a month ago on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced, alongside his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir, a return to normal diplomatic relations. Maas said he regretted the "misunderstandings" that had emerged because of his predecessor, Sigmar Gabriel.

[...]

On at least two separate occasions, investments from Saudi Arabia saved him when he badly needed cash. In 1991, Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal bought the yacht Trump Princess. And in 1995, Bin Talal made another purchase from Trump, this time the Plaza Hotel in New York for $325 million. More money came from the Saudis the next year: One floor of the Trump World Tower belongs to them. During his presidential campaign, Trump said: "Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much."

[...]

If the U.S. president is forced to back away from Saudi Arabia, it would essentially mark the failure of his entire Middle East policy thus far. He needs the king and he needs the crown prince even more. On Tuesday, he stressed the legal standard of innocent until proven guilty -- likely an attempt to buy time in the hopes that the current storm will soon die down. Secretary of State Pompeo has advised Trump to give the House of Saud a few more days to present results from its investigation. For Trump, it is helpful that, with the mid-term elections just around the corner, Congress is not currently in session. That means that even if sanctions are being considered, they won't come quickly.
(emphases mine) There was also discussion of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which explicitly permits families of victims of 9/11 to directly sue Saudi Arabia, in the context of Saudi lobbying efforts. No indication of whether Kashoggi's family might sue through a mechanism like that.
posted by XMLicious at 2:15 AM on October 21 [1 favorite]


Saudi official gives new version of Khashoggi killing: Report -"Journalist killed in chokehold, official tells Reuters, in new narrative that contradicts previous Saudi explanations."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:02 AM on October 21


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

Well, hey, guys! It would sure help, in a spirit of cooperation and friendliness, if you'd tell the Turkish authorities where you dumped the body. Y'know, just to help out. You want to help, right?
posted by SPrintF at 7:15 AM on October 21 [1 favorite]


This is a grammar thing that's bugged me for a long time, and I just can't figure it out: why is it some journalists can write "In Saudi," or "... went back to Saudi."? I see this in reporting from the UK, not the US. There's the country Saudi Arabia, there are Saudi people, there's a Saudi government, but how can it become a noun on its own? I assume the Saudi in Saudi Arabia is like the British in British Virgin Islands or the American in American Samoa. You can't go to British.
posted by floam at 9:01 AM on October 21


You can't go to British.

Yeah, there's a lot of "British ______" in the world, and there's only one Saudi Arabia, so the shorthand lends itself, and I don't think it's a disparaging or devaluing usage. I don't think I've ever heard "Saudi Arabian" as an adjective for their government (such as it is), always "Saudi oil," or "Saudi explanation."

Come to think of it, the UK version might more accurately be "I'm going to go to Tudor," if that was a normal part of the country name, but the British monarchy appears to have learned not to name the whole country after themselves.

"Journalist killed in chokehold," official tells Reuters

Get the fuck out of here with that claptrap.
posted by rhizome at 10:06 AM on October 21


I've heard American journalists do the "Saudi is doing X"/"Going to Saudi for Y" thing while speaking, but not in print. It might come down to a difference in style guides. That use is a big thing for IR people, too. I've always assumed that's a standard abbreviation in Arabic, and people who spend a lot of time studying the region use it somewhat naturally...and somewhat as a clubby signifier of their expertise. (Kinda like all those Eastern Europe policy folks who studied in Russia and only bothered to stop saying THE Ukraine when Russia started annexing it.)
posted by grandiloquiet at 10:24 AM on October 21 [1 favorite]


There's the country Saudi Arabia, there are Saudi people, there's a Saudi government, but how can it become a noun on its own?

It doesn't seem intrinsically any weirder than someone asking the hot dog guy for a Polish?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 12:38 PM on October 21


[Saudis] tweeted photos of the crown prince, the national flag and sentences like: "We are proud, we need nobody. But the entire world needs us."
Ah yes, Saudi Arabia, famously known for its self-sufficiency.. Petroleum wealth is a hell of a drug.
posted by Nerd of the North at 2:01 PM on October 21 [8 favorites]


An acquaintance of mine who travels there for business also refers to the country just as "Saudi" in casual conversation. (And I thought it was weird when I first heard it, too.)
posted by XMLicious at 3:56 PM on October 21


Isn't "Saudi" an adjective, though? That is, "Saudi Arabia" means "the bit of Arabia that is ruled by the Saud dynasty". According to Wikipedia the official name of the Kindom is " al-Mamlakah al-‘Arabiyyah as-Su‘ūdiyya", which I take to literally mean "the kingdom of the Arabs which belongs to the Sauds". So saying "Saudi" is like saying "Soviet" as a shorthand for "Soviet Russia". And you can't just abbreviate it to "Arabia", because that would include the rest of the Arabian Peninsula.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:11 PM on October 21 [1 favorite]


The al-Jazeera report posted above by The man of twists and turns is really something:
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.
This is supposed to be the exculpatory version. It's worth noting the discrepancies between it and the alleged recording of the vivisection but ... the Saudi defense is that they didn't cut Khashoggi to pieces; they just used the guy they call to dispose of dead bodies for them. I'm surprised they think that makes them sound better.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:26 PM on October 21 [1 favorite]


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.

Enemies like... the US? Regardless, I'd say that describes a motivation based on his political inclinations no matter who specifically they would say is the threat.
posted by rhizome at 8:43 PM on October 21 [1 favorite]


Marco Tubio certainly has his priority’s straight:

@marcorubio
The #KhashoggiMurder was immoral. But it was also disrepectful to Trump & those of us who have supported the strategic alliance with the Saudi’s. Not only did they kill this man,they have left @potus & their congressional allies a terrible predicament & given Iran a free gift.
posted by Artw at 6:20 AM on October 22 [2 favorites]


> The #KhashoggiMurder was immoral. But it was also disrepectful to Trump & ... us

Did he - did he just - wow.

To think that we could have had this guy as president instead. Really not sure how much of an improvement he would have been, other than maybe not screaming out the quiet parts.
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:47 AM on October 22 [2 favorites]




Recall that Turkey had the info about the body double a little while ago; no doubt they also had this footage. But, they very cannily decided to wait until Saudi Arabia confirmed that they had killed Khashoggi before releasing it.
posted by mhum at 8:07 AM on October 22 [7 favorites]


Rubio is serving to remind people that Arab lives (if not civilian lives in general) are worth less than, well, Trump's (in this case). If not specifically that, he's trying to muddy the waters and get people arguing about ancillary topics, which feed the Republican Project to confuse the masses on what the problem actually is (if any). If things are going to get as bad as they could, as bad as KSA, Turkey, and Russia combined, Trump has to lay a foundation of superseding threats to those who could threaten his power, and to decrease the value of any one life.
posted by rhizome at 9:05 AM on October 22


Also, this is feeling like less and less an MBS problem than a Salman one. I would love to BDS Saudi Arabia.
posted by rhizome at 9:10 AM on October 22 [2 favorites]


The Guardian has a live blog this morning covering Erdogan's speech to parliament. He is due to speak at 11:45 Turkish time (8:45 GMT)

Edited to add link. Doh.
posted by stonepharisee at 12:42 AM on October 23 [2 favorites]


Sky sources: Jamal Khashoggi's body parts found
Body parts belonging to murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi have been found, according to Sky sources.
Sources have told Sky News the writer had been "cut up" and his face "disfigured".
One source also suggested Mr Khashoggi's remains were discovered in the garden of the Saudi consul general's home.


Pretty sure Turkey knew this weeks ago but have been drip-drabbing it out for maximum embarrassment for Saudi Arabia.
posted by PenDevil at 6:26 AM on October 23 [2 favorites]


The #KhashoggiMurder was immoral. But it was also disrepectful to Trump...

As usual with a professional prevaricator, everything before the "but" is just him saying what he thinks people want to hear, what he thinks will make him sound reasonable. It isn't how he really feels. Not at all.
posted by Etrigan at 6:31 AM on October 23 [6 favorites]


Reuters: CIA Chief to Turkey As Officials Seek to Clarify Prince's Role In Khashoggi Death

Because if there's one thing Gina Haspel knows, it's how to cover up crimes get to the bottom of things.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:11 AM on October 23 [4 favorites]


Well, she can vouch from experience if torture played a part.
posted by benzenedream at 8:04 AM on October 23 [3 favorites]


posted by floam: This is a grammar thing that's bugged me for a long time, ... There's the country Saudi Arabia, there are Saudi people, there's a Saudi government, but how can it become a noun on its own? I assume the Saudi in Saudi Arabia is like the British in British Virgin Islands or the American in American Samoa. You can't go to British.

Al Saud is a family name for the ruling monarchy of that section of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is an English-ism for the Kingdom. Ergo, Saudi is an appellation for the kingdom of the family of Al Saud, who consolidated that area under the doctrine of the Wahhabism in about 1930.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:07 AM on October 23


I've known some folks who speak the local language and when they speak about these things in English, they do indeed say "when I was back in Saudi" or "we're going to Saudi next week". I thought it was weird too but they would surely know better than I, so I never asked why it was so.
posted by some loser at 8:17 AM on October 23 [3 favorites]


Slightly off-topic here, but I just noticed that my Firefox browser tab shows the page name rendered right to left, rather than left to right. Did one of the mods do that, or is that due to the inclusion of Arabic text in the post title? Regardless, neat.

My open tabs show "Game on, Tiny" | MetaFilter and MetaFilter | قل كلمتك … وامش
posted by emelenjr at 8:18 AM on October 23 [2 favorites]


Pretty sure Turkey knew this weeks ago but have been drip-drabbing it out for maximum embarrassment for Saudi Arabia.

Turkey Is Treating the Khashoggi Affair Like It’s Must-See TV
From the start, Turkish authorities have been teasing out information about the case with a flair that would impress any showrunner. Their aim is to create a narrative so compelling that it reshapes relations with the United States and Saudi Arabia, countries that have experienced their fair share of drama with Turkey.

Those who are surprised by the way the Khashoggi story has dominated international and local media for nearly two weeks, almost entirely through a series of sensational leaks from Turkey, just haven’t been paying attention, Aaron Stein, a Turkey expert at the Atlantic Council, told me.

“In Turkey, big meta-narratives like this are controlled,” he told me. “Whether it’s about the framing of a military operation, or displeasure with the U.S., or the way big trials are reported on, it all comes out of one office,” he said. “And that office is in the presidency.”
posted by peeedro at 8:34 AM on October 23 [2 favorites]


I have questions about Gina Haspel's fact-finding mission. Per the above from Reuters, she is "traveling to Turkey on Monday to help investigate." What does that mean? What will she be doing, who will she be talking with, what is her official role here, and is this standard operating procedure for the head of the CIA? When she gets back, who is she going to share information with? (And, more cynically, does anyone really believe that 45 will take advice/information from a woman?) Is she coordinating with Pompeo? She's going--but at whose behest? "Help investigate" is doing a lot of heavy lifting there; what does that entail? Yes, I get that this is the close-mouthed CIA, and I'd still like some more information on this mission.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:53 AM on October 23 [1 favorite]


"Investigation" is a great term that covers a multitude of sins. What is going on now is horse-trading. Everyone knows who dunnit. The question is how much Erdogan can use this as leverage to influence the power equilibrium in the area. The repercussions for the Kurds are probably terrible. Erdogan seems to want to keep on hat-tipping terms with King Salman. Has he enough powder in his musket to unseat MbS?

Nobody is investigating anything. Trump and Erdogan would have executed an outspoken enemy just as quickly as MbS, but not in public like this. MbS is an utter fool who may be brought to heel a little, perhaps. Yemen would be the better for it if he were. Lucky we are blessed with Kushner as the genius to sort everything out in the Middle East.
posted by stonepharisee at 9:01 AM on October 23 [3 favorites]




Trump and Erdogan would have executed an outspoken enemy just as quickly as MbS

I was thinking yesterday how this is a trial run for "I could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters."
posted by rhizome at 9:46 AM on October 23 [2 favorites]


Sky news is reporting Saudi journalist's body parts found.
The writer had been "cut up" and "disfigured" and his remains were found in the garden of the Saudi consul's house.
posted by adamvasco at 10:09 AM on October 23


> The writer had been "cut up" and "disfigured" and his remains were found in the garden of the Saudi consul's house.

See? He clearly left the consulate, just like they had being saying all along until their denials became inoperative.

How did the Saudis botch things quite this badly? Did the Turks run an operation against them somehow?
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:15 AM on October 23 [1 favorite]


Graham Fuller offers some perspective on Erdogan's agenda:

My understanding/deciphering tl;dr's this as: Turkey is pushing for modern Islam, Saudi is holding onto medieval Islam, and Turkey put down a Wahhabi movement in Saudi 175 years ago. So they're rivals, but Turkey can't dropkick them because $$$." Tell me why Iran is the bad guy again?
posted by rhizome at 10:25 AM on October 23 [1 favorite]


Iran is also a Russian ally, and Turkey may or may not be a Russian puppet state.
posted by Artw at 10:30 AM on October 23 [2 favorites]


I have questions about Gina Haspel's fact-finding mission. Per the above from Reuters, she is "traveling to Turkey on Monday to help investigate." What does that mean?

So many questions, not least being why send Director of the CIA, which does have not investigative responsibilities as such, but apparently nobody from the FBI, which does. (The FBI would of course need the Turkish authorities to request their assistance, but Trump doesn't seem to think they should be involved at all since Khashoggi's not a US citizen.)

How did the Saudis botch things quite this badly?

They think they can get away with it. As with Trump's lying bullshit and his administration's prevarications and falsehoods, the point, from an authoritarian perspective, is that since they believe they can take such actions without repercussions, their lack of a consistent or convincing cover story is a power play in itself.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:30 AM on October 23 [3 favorites]


The writer had been "cut up" and "disfigured" and his remains were found in the garden of the Saudi consul's house.

"I know I can do it," Todd Downey said, helping himself to another ear of corn from the steaming bowl. "I'm sure that in time, every bit of her will be gone and her death will be a mystery... even to me." - Stephen King, Secret Window.
posted by SPrintF at 10:42 AM on October 23


I have questions about Gina Haspel's fact-finding mission

I think this bit from the Guardian live-blog explained it pretty well if it was not obvious:

CIA director Gina Haspel flew to Ankara overnight to assist with the investigation, Donald Trump said.
There’s been a lot of speculation about Riyadh trying to cut a deal with Ankara to minimise any damage to House of Saud and MbS - but it seems like at the eleventh hour the US may have stepped in to play that role instead.
Trump has flipflopped over this case - but they need MbS to survive this almost as much as the House of Saud does.
So what can Washington offer Ankara? They want sanctions lifted, US-backed Kurdish militias in Syria curbed, and Fethullah Gülen extradited. The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, said this morning that US sanctions on two Turkish ministers would be lifted. That’s probably because Turkey released detained American pastor Andrew Brunson two weeks ago - a sign there’s a thaw in relations there.
Haspel will have been working overtime. Whether it’s enough to convince Erdoğan not to go for MbS’ jugular in the Khashoggi case is another matter.

And then Erdogan spoke to reveal the "naked truth": He said quite a lot of nothing, no he did not release the audio or video Turkey has of the murder, and no he did not specifically call out MBS. She was there to give him what he wants to make it stop.
posted by floam at 11:18 AM on October 23 [5 favorites]


See? He clearly left the consulate, just like they had being saying all along

Clearly, he walked to the consul's residence, avoiding all CCTV, chopped himself up and buried the pieces to frame MbS
posted by BungaDunga at 12:34 PM on October 23 [2 favorites]


I notice the main news organisations don't seem to be reporting the Sky story about body parts. Sky only mentioned "sources", without any further information.
posted by stonepharisee at 1:13 PM on October 23


Trump to ABC about the Saudi's murder of Khashoggi: "They had a very bad original concept. It was carried out poorly and the cover-up was one of the worst cover-ups in the history of cover-ups. It's very simple. Bad deal. Should have never been thought of. Somebody really messed up."
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:18 PM on October 23


A bad original concept? It was an assassination, not a "Hullabaloo" revival.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:01 PM on October 23 [7 favorites]


I guess he's not wrong, it was a spectacularly terrible cover-up. I think this literally still could have turned out better for the Saudis had the planning went "Brothers, have any of you seen the western film Weekend at Bernie's?" before they pulled out the bone saw.
posted by floam at 3:23 PM on October 23 [4 favorites]


"If you'd hired me to do it, we'd have done it the best. We'd have been huge. You don't know how well we could dismember our political foes, believe me. These Saudis don't know how to dismember a guy and get away with it? SAD!"
posted by BungaDunga at 3:44 PM on October 23 [3 favorites]


They had a very bad original concept. It was carried out poorly and the cover-up was one of the worst

Right, so it's not bad that they killed a journalist they didn't like, but that they did it wrong.
posted by rhizome at 2:59 AM on October 24 [3 favorites]


Trump will soon be making jokes about Khashoggi at his rallies, with chants of "CUT HER UP!".

MBS will meet Trump, Trump will say that MBS is a strong man who denied everything very firmly, and that Trump believes him rather than US intelligence.

/shit timeline
posted by benzenedream at 12:08 PM on October 24 [1 favorite]


Have any people who use American news heard his name pronounced "Hahshoji" like they do on France24 and elsewhere?
posted by rhizome at 12:19 PM on October 24


Have any people who use American news heard his name pronounced "Hahshoji" like they do on France24 and elsewhere?

I think they do on NPR.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:24 PM on October 24 [1 favorite]


i have friends with this family name. The family pronounces both gs. It's a hard g like god followed by a soft g like gee. The initial k is produced in the back of the throat...I'm not sure how to explain it, other than to say it's almost like a cough, so all together, it's like kah-SHAwg-gee.

That said, Anan pronounced it ka-show-gi, and I never heard Jamal pronounce it.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:18 PM on October 24 [1 favorite]


Saudi Crown Prince Jokes About Detainment of Lebanese Prime Minister
'Prime Minister Saad is staying in the kingdom for two days so I hope you don't spread rumors that he was kidnapped,' MBS joked. Hariri was detained in Saudi in 2017
Wot a card!
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:01 AM on October 25 [5 favorites]


> Even WWE is allegedly reconsidering its billion-dollar business relationship with the Kingdom.

Deadspin: WWE Says Saudi Arabia Show Will Go On

We'll probably never know to what extent they were actually reconsidering vs. just putting on a show of reconsideration until the next shiny object captured the media's attention. Will be interesting to see how this resonates with WWE fans.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:14 PM on October 25 [3 favorites]


Saudi Arabia, in Reversal, Suggests Khashoggi’s Killing Was ‘Premeditated’
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said on Thursday that new evidence indicated that the killing of the dissident Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi had been “premeditated,” signaling yet another shift in the kingdom’s official story of his disappearance.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:26 PM on October 25 [1 favorite]


I have a sinking feeling that we're closer than we know to them admitting the bone saw. And then nothing happening.
posted by rhizome at 2:51 PM on October 25 [2 favorites]


“...and then nothing happening” IS very much s 2018 default.
posted by Artw at 2:54 PM on October 25 [11 favorites]


> the killing of the dissident Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi had been “premeditated”

We totally planned to kill him and then lied about it for weeks. Oops, our bad, but bygones, right?
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:48 AM on October 26 [2 favorites]


Depressingly predictable, but it appears the MAGABomber has completely blown this out of the news and we'll basically never hear about it again?
posted by bcd at 3:51 PM on October 26 [2 favorites]


Possibly sealing the deal, as posted in the megathread:

BBC, Khashoggi fiancée snubs Trump invitation to White House
The fiancée of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi says she has declined an invitation to the White House from US President Donald Trump, accusing him of not being sincere about investigating the killing.

Hatice Cengiz told Turkish TV she thought the invitation was aimed at influencing public opinion in the US.
posted by zachlipton at 7:12 PM on October 26
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:20 PM on October 26


Wait, I thought Khashoggi's body had been found, and it was found in the consul general's garden?

Erdoğan tells Saudis: show us where Jamal Khashoggi's body is

So I guess that was all false (or... Erdogan is getting what he wants, stopped dripping out horrifying details every 24 hours, and Khashoggi's body or the burial location was not intended to be made public. I'll put my tinfoil hat away now.)
posted by floam at 6:01 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


Wait, I thought Khashoggi's body had been found, and it was found in the consul general's garden?

I believe that was a leak from the Turkish govt, and it was that parts of him had been found in the garden. Erdogan is probably twisting the knife a little more behind the scenes before the Saudis have to admit that they lied again about that body in a carpet story.
posted by PenDevil at 11:46 PM on October 26


Sunday Express: journalist Jamal Khashoggi was about to disclose details of Saudi Arabia’s use of chemical weapons in Yemen
“I met him a week before his death. He was unhappy and he was worried,“ said the middle eastern academic, who did not wish to be named.

“When I asked him why he was worried, he didn't really want to reply, but eventually he told me he was
getting proof that Saudi Arabia had used chemical weapons. He said he hoped he be getting documentary evidence.
I'm not familiar with this newspaper, I have no idea how seriously to take it.
posted by floam at 12:44 PM on October 29 [1 favorite]


Jim Sciutto, CNN:
Breaking: Jamal Khashoggi was strangled immediately after entering Saudi consulate and his body dismembered, killing was pre-meditated - Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office
posted by bcd at 8:55 AM on October 31 [1 favorite]


I realize that this is not particularly related to Khashoggi but I don't think there's enough info available to support its own discussion and I don't know where else to put it. The role of the Saudi government and the control they evidently expect to exert over those they consider their subjects is, I think, worth consideration. In any case I would like people to hear and think about it: Two Saudi Sisters Found Bound Together in the Hudson River Reportedly Sought Political Asylum
The mother of two Saudi Arabian sisters whose bodies washed up last week on Manhattan’s shoreline, bound together with tape, said an official at the Saudi Arabian Embassy had told her just before the daughters were discovered that her family had been ordered to leave the U.S. because her daughters had requested political asylum, authorities said Tuesday.

According to the Associated Press, the daughters have been identified as 16-year-old Tala Farea and 22-year-old Rotana Farea, who lived in Fairfax, Virginia. Both the New York Police Department and Saudi officials have said they are looking into the deaths.
Not a lot is known about the cause of death (at least publicly) so I have no idea how these girls met their end. But I do find it troubling that they were attempting to escape the control exerted over Saudi women by their government and their families and now they are dead.
posted by Nerd of the North at 1:12 PM on October 31 [8 favorites]


- The role of the Saudi government and the control they evidently expect to exert over those they consider their subjects is, I think, worth consideration.

It's not just their subjects:

Last Monday: Indonesia protests after Saudi Arabia executes domestic maid

Indonesia has filed an official protest to Saudi Arabia after it executed an Indonesian maid without notifying its consular staff or her family.

Tuti Tursilawati, a mother of one, had been convicted of murdering her employer, who workers rights’ group Migrant Care said was trying to rape her at the time. Ms Tursilawati, who was convicted in 2011, was executed on Monday in the city of Thaif, marking the fourth such case of Saudi Arabia carrying out the death sentence on an Indonesian migrant worker without prior notice in the past three years.


2013: Saudi Arabia defies international protests with beheading of Sri Lankan maid

A sword-wielding executioner carried out the death sentence on Rizana Nafeek in the town of Dawadmy, near Riyadh, just hours after the country's Interior Ministry ratified the court verdict against her. Nafeek was given the death sentence in 2007 for smothering the infant while working as the child's nanny. She had been accused of killing the four-month-old boy two years earlier following an argument with his mother.

Nafeek however, who was aged only 17 at the time of the alleged offence, insisted that the child had choked to death on milk during a bottle field... Nafeek was found guilty of smothering the infant after signing a confession written in Arabic that she did not understand and later retracted.

Last year the government of Indonesia, another country that supplies tens of thousands of maids to Saudi Arabia paid $534,000 to a Saudi family as an official payment of "blood money" in order to spare the life of an Indonesian maid.

posted by Iris Gambol at 4:47 PM on October 31 [5 favorites]


Saudi crown prince described slain journalist as a dangerous Islamist in call with White House (WaPo):
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a dangerous Islamist days after his disappearance in a phone call with President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and national security adviser John Bolton, according to people familiar with the discussion.

In the call, which occurred before the kingdom publicly acknowledged killing Khashoggi, the crown prince urged Kushner and Bolton to preserve the U.S.-Saudi alliance and said the journalist was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group long opposed by Bolton and other senior Trump officials.
posted by peeedro at 9:08 AM on November 1


In the call, which occurred before the kingdom publicly acknowledged killing Khashoggi, the crown prince urged Kushner and Bolton to preserve the U.S.-Saudi alliance and said the journalist was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group long opposed by Bolton and other senior Trump officials.

LOL, I bet Bolton couldn't believe his luck in being the right guy in the right place at the right time. That is, he probably got a boner when that came through the speaker.
posted by rhizome at 9:34 AM on November 1 [2 favorites]


I posted about this in the megathread: Khashoggi's eldest son, Salah, a dual US-Saudi citizen, was under a travel ban due to his father's work; after last week's awful photo op with the King and Crown Prince, Salah and his family were allowed to come to the U.S.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:45 AM on November 1 [1 favorite]


Sisters found dead in Hudson River preferred suicide over returning to Saudi Arabia: Police

After raising allegations of abuse, the sisters were placed in a domestic violence shelter in Virginia in December 2017. They went missing from that facility on Aug. 24, which was the last time they were both seen in Virginia

I'm not sure how the duct tape figures in such a scenario.

Khashoggi's fiancée asks Trump to press Saudis for his body
"I would like him to support Turkey's efforts in trying to bring light to this situation and to discover the whereabouts of his body," said Cengiz, who was waiting outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 when the journalist went inside to obtain paperwork for their planned marriage, never to re-emerge.

It's been a month.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:46 PM on November 2


Al Jazeera: “Khashoggi's body parts transported in suitcases“
The Turkish pro-government newspaper Sabah has reported that journalist Jamal Khashoggi's corpse was dismembered and put into five suitcases after he was strangled upon entering Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul.

Citing unnamed officials, Sabah reported on Sunday that the suitcases were then taken to the Saudi consul's residence near the consulate the day the writer was killed on October 2.

[...]

On Wednesday, a Turkish prosecutor said Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered soon after entering the building, in the first official comments from the Turks on the fate of the writer.
The article also mentions multiple unofficial and/or anonymous Turkish sources saying that the body parts were subsequently dissolved in acid.
posted by XMLicious at 3:24 AM on November 4


And so the story continues to slide into "shit Turkey says."
posted by rhizome at 9:51 AM on November 4


Bloomberg: Saudis Call for Amazon Boycott Over Anger at Washington Post
"Boycott Amazon" was the top trending hashtag on Twitter in Saudi Arabia for several hours on Sunday, as users circulated images showing the deletion of the Amazon smartphone app. They also called for a boycott of regional subsidiary Souq.com, acquired by Amazon last year.
WaPo: In Saudi Arabia, Washington Post’s coverage of Khashoggi killing fuels calls for Amazon boycott
It’s unclear how much the Amazon boycott drive represents popular opinion in Saudi Arabia. The country has one of the most active Twitter user bases in the Arab world, but analysts say the use of pro-government bots is widespread and often designed to get certain messages onto trending lists.

Many of the tweets calling for a boycott of Amazon used similar if not identical language, suggesting some degree of coordination.
posted by peeedro at 12:02 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


LOL, like there's a boycott's worth of Saudi Amazon users.
posted by rhizome at 12:50 PM on November 5


Do you think everyone in Saudi Arabia lives in a powerless hut or something?
posted by tobascodagama at 2:04 PM on November 5


I bet the Amazon purchasing history of the Saudi ruling class is full of insane hyper-expensive shit.
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


Not only that, but AFAIK it has a pretty sizable middle class as well. I mean, not that it actually matters because the boycott is pure astroturf, but an actual boycott of Amazon by Saudis, if it happened, would be something that Amazon's accountants wouldn't be thrilled to hear about, I'm sure.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:40 PM on November 5


Do you think everyone in Saudi Arabia lives in a powerless hut or something?

I was thinking Alibaba/Taobao are more popular there.
posted by rhizome at 3:39 PM on November 5


I bet the Amazon purchasing history of the Saudi ruling class is full of insane hyper-expensive shit.

AFAIK, you can't buy a degree from Oxford, a fighter jet, or a US President on Amazon.
posted by benzenedream at 4:34 PM on November 5 [6 favorites]


Exactly. Is anybody under the impression that they even use computers with their own hands? I'd think even using their phone has been delegated and they pretty much just sit around.
posted by rhizome at 5:39 PM on November 5


So let's see if I've got this right. Saudi Arabia murders a journalist in their Consulate in Turkey and admits as much. In retaliation we impose sanctions on their enemy, provide support in their bombing another enemy, and sell them billions in weapons.

Boy, that Trump sure is one tough negotiator, isn't he?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:37 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


Tape of Khashoggi’s killing has been given to U.S., Saudi, Europeans, Erdogan says (CW contains a secondhand description of Khashoggi's murder)
posted by peeedro at 7:07 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


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