Saudi Arabia has officially claimed that Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death was a result of a fist fight during a discussion that “did not go as required.”
Hours before Riyadh came up with what it would like the world to believe is a rational explanation for Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance, and now admitted death, U.S. President Donald Trump showed signs he would, in fact, give in to both public and political pressure. “We are going to find out who knew what, when and where and we’ll figure it out.” And: “I will very much listen to what Congress has to say. They feel very strongly about it also. So I’ll be doing this with Congress.”
With the world demanding answers as to the whereabouts of prominent journalist Khashoggi, the Wahhabist Kingdom of Saudi Arabia found itself with its back against the wall – confronted, many sources have revealed, by the determination of world powers, who, up until then, had been keen to brush over any and all human rights violations.
An entitled and brutal regime built and sustained around two pillars: the Al Saud clan and Wahhabism. The Kingdom has long been granted immunity by virtue of its wealth and geography.
A favorite partner of western capitals because it offers a willing buffer to Iran’s gravitational pull in the region, Saudi Arabia’s status was elevated to ‘untouchable’ by the Trump administration. Not even Riyadh’s terror threats against Canada earlier this year could prompt the U.S. President to react.
Khashoggi’s disappearance at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2sd, shattered Riyadh’s belief that it stood exceptional among nations.
But if Saudi Arabia was made to feel the heat over its alleged involvement in Khashoggi’s death, which death officials only admitted to this Friday, the Kingdom was not about to incriminate its own Crown Prince, however evident his guilt.
And so a tale had to be weaved … in truth the aforementioned ‘weaving’ could have benefited from a little more finessing.
Saudi Arabian Spin
But here it is, Saudi Arabia’s official version of events:
Jamal Khashoggi lost his life in a fight at the consulate after he came face to face with several of his detractors.
Saudi Arabia has now sacked five top officials and arrested 18 more after they confessed to knowledge of the dissident journalist’s murder.
In a Friday announcement, Saudi Arabia said that the preliminary results of its investigation indicated that Khashoggi had been killed in a “fist-fight with people who met him in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.”
A follow-up statement released by the Saudi ministry of foreign affairs claimed that discussions between Khashoggi and Saudi officials at the consulate “did not go as required and escalated negatively which led to a fight between them … and led to his death”. It claimed that officials, referred to as “suspects”, were involved in a “cover-up”.
Saudi state TV confirmed that as a result Gen. Ahmad Al Assiri, a top general and close aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Saud Al Qahtani, a top adviser to the royal court, had been relieved from their duties in the General Intelligence service.
Riyadh’s argument is as follow: while it is state policy to return every and all critics of the Crown so they could be held accountable for their crimes, no express orders relating to the killing of Khashoggi were ever issued by the Crown Prince – contrary to what Turkey’s intelligence services alluded to in their investigation.
“To Say That I am Skeptical… is an Understatement”
While the White House may have gladly bought into Riyadh’s findings so that ‘business’ could resume, the public may not be so easily swayed by such a botched attempt to redact the truth.
If we consider that Saudi Arabia is quite literally owned by its ruling monarchy and that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sits atop that pyramid, it stands to reason that he was aware of his closest aides’ plans vis a vis Khashoggi.
“To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement,” the Republican senator Lindsey Graham said in a series of tweets. “First we were told Mr. Khashoggi supposedly left the consulate and there was blanket denial of any Saudi involvement. Now, a fight breaks out and he’s killed in the consulate, all without knowledge of Crown Prince.”
Previous leaks from the Turkish authorities have shown that the kingdom’s most senior forensics expert was among a 15-man team sent from Riyadh on October 2sd, before Khashoggi’s scheduled visit to the consulate.
They are reported to have brought a bone saw with them and the forensics expert, Salah Mohammed Al Tubaigy, is said to have been recorded telling others to listen to music on headphones while he dismembered the body.