New evidence that Jamal Khashoggi tortured and killed by Saudis

Dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Turkish consulate in Istanbul a week ago, seeking permission to divorce his first wife so he could marry his Turkish fiancée. He never came out. It’s possible, and now likely, that he was tortured and murdered by the Saudis for criticizing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a nasty piece of work who pretends to be modernizing his country.

As CNN reports below, Khashoggi’s Apple watch may have given a clue to his fate (click on screenshot), though CNN could not verify the Turkish story:

CNN:

Missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi may have recorded his own death, a Turkish newspaper reported Saturday morning.

Khashoggi turned on the recording function of his Apple Watch before walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 , according to Sabah newspaper.

The moments of his “interrogation, torture and killing were audio recorded and sent to both his phone and to iCloud,” the pro-government, privately owned newspaper paper reported. The Turkish newspaper said conversations of the men involved in the reported assassination were recorded.

Security forces leading the investigation found the audio file inside the phone Khasshoggi left with his fiancé, according to Sabah.

Upon noticing the watch, Sabah reports, Khashoggi’s assailants tried to unlock the Apple Watch with multiple password attempts, ultimately using Khashoggi’s fingerprint to unlock the smart watch. They were successful in deleting only some of the files, Sabah reported.

However, on its website, Apple does not list fingerprint verification as one of the Apple Watch’s capabilities. A representative from the company confirmed to CNN the watches do not have the feature.

It was not immediately clear whether it would have been technically feasible for Khashoggi’s Apple phone to transfer audio to his phone, which he had given to his fiancee before entering the consulate.

CNN cannot independently verify Sabah report and is seeking comment from both Saudi and Turkish officials.

The Saudis deny any hand in the killing, despite the arrival of two planes filled with Saudis that arrived before Khashoggi disappeared and left shortly afterwards. The Saudi government claims that Khashoggi left the consulate, but there’s no record of that. And the U.S. has some intercepted transmissions from Saudi officials proving that they planned to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia to “detain” (aka kill) him.

My bet is that he never shows up again, as the Saudis probably killed him. And the U.S. should condemn his disappearance as strongly as possible and get out of bed with this odious regime. U.S. companies like CNN are already pulling out of Saudi meetings and conferences, but, as usual, the U.S. is going on with diplomatic relations.

Here’s a video of the news:

Jamal Khashoggi (posted by him on his Facebook page)

114 Comments

  1. Posted October 13, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    The Apple Watch story has to be taken with skepticism for a variety of reasons.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/10/11/missing-saudi-journalist-jamal-khashoggi-apple-watch/

    My guess is that it’s a clumsy attempt by Turkey to cover up it’s surveillance capability.

    • Posted October 13, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Accidental second “it’s”. 🙂

      WordPress, if you’re listening, please enable editing of comments.

    • Posted October 13, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      That is my guess too. I bet embassies in Turkey have got more bugs than a rain forest.

    • W.Benson
      Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Ditto. The Turks, by putting the blame on an Apple watch, avoid a passel of problems.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, there’s good reason to doubt Turkey’s “lone timepiece” theory on this.

  2. mikeyc
    Posted October 13, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Prediction – there will be a lot of shouting and posturing for a time but nothing will change. After the fuss dies down (as soon as something shiny comes along to distract us) it will be back to business as usual. The Sauds are VERY rich and money ALWAYS prevails. The US -as well as most of the West- will be kissing their behinds again in short order.

    RIP Mr. Khoshoggi

    • Posted October 13, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Correct. It’s worth mentioning that Trump has strong business relations with the Saudis going back decades.

    • Christopher
      Posted October 13, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      The US did absolutely nothing when multiple Saudi nationals hijacked airliners and crashed them into three buildings and a field, killing almost 3000, why would the US do anything about a single non-US murder? No, their oil and their military weapons purchases matter much more to our government than the lives of our citizens, never mind a single Saudi journalist.

      • mikeyc
        Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        Yep

      • Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        Recently, the Saudis blew up a schoolbus full of Yemeni children with a bomb supplied by the US, and the Trump admin said nothing of consequence.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        Your comparison simply does not hold up here. Those terrorists were from Saudi Arabia but there was not direct connection of any type from the Saudi govt. to the terrorism and their action. In this current case, the Saudi govt. leader is directly responsible for killing Khashoggi. So your connection holds no water.

      • Posted October 14, 2018 at 6:23 am | Permalink

        They invaded two countries, illegally detained hundreds of suspected terrorists, including torturing them and eventually assassinated the leader of the organisation that sponsored the terrorists.

        Do you honestly think that if the 9/11 hijackers had been following orders from the Saudi government that that government would still be in power now?

    • George
      Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Why are you so cynical? Of course there will be consequences for the Saudis. Just as soon as they run out of oil or we move away from a petroleum based economy.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted October 13, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        Of course the West should go -and could already have gone- completely solar for its energy needs.
        It would have been a great victory in the war against Islamic fundamentalism

        • David Evans
          Posted October 13, 2018 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

          We should do so because of climate change – though I think a mix of solar, wind and nuclear is more practical.
          I doubt whether we could already have done so. Electric road vehicles are only now becoming capable and cheap enough to challenge petrol and diesel.

    • Harrison
      Posted October 13, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      This is a case where “doing nothing” actually isn’t the easy way out. The Bush Admin had a comparatively easy time of covering up the Saudi government’s complicity in 9/11. It will take some Herculean effort by Trump to deny the link in this instance, and if he’s not done anything by election day this WILL be a critical issue for voters.

  3. Diana MacPherson
    Posted October 13, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    This Apple Watch story seems like a distraction of some sort. The recording part isn’t a feature if the work but here are 3rd party apps for it. The way it’s reported like it’s something the watch does natively, alone, makes me suspicious of the reporting.

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 13, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Sanctions should already be happening and full condemnation of Trump and his boy for what they have done so far. The way a normal U.S. govt. would handle this is full on sanctions with the understanding they might consider lifting them if the Saudi’s produce the missing journalist. Trump already likely has the evidence of what happened from the Turks and is also lying about that.

    This is where Trump’s business interests come right up against U.S. policy, not to mention moral character, which totally escapes Trump.

    • mikeyc
      Posted October 13, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Have to disagree with you on this one, Randall. Previous admins would have done what Trump will now do – after some vocal faux-outrage, it will quietly disappear from government concerns and the headlines. The Saudis funded and supported the 9/11 attacks fercryinoutload. Nearly 3000 dead Americans weren’t enough to get either of the pre-Trump administrations to do anything to the Saudis, other than bend over the desk in the Oval Office and squeal like a pig.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        Your connections as I said above simple are not there. If the planning and actions to do the 9/11 attacks could have been tied to the govt. of Saudi Arabia, action would have been taken. Now if you want to provide this direct connection and show that the Saudi govt. did the 9/ll attack, please do. But I suggest you are just blowing smoke.

        • mikeyc
          Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

          Always pleasant to converse with you, Randall. Two things, then I’m off for the day so I will blow only a bit more smoke.

          First, I stand by my contention that no previous admin would have done anything different to what Trump’s will do now – the Saudis are just too rich for that.

          Second – it beggars belief that the Saudi royal family (which is the Saudi government – you do know it’s not a democracy, right?) had no role in Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda. They got away with it because we didn’t want to look to closely. Bad for business, you know. Besides, there was that boogie man Saddam who had to be gotten rid of.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted October 13, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

            I had to go back and check after reading your comments to make sure I have not logged on to one of the many conservative right wing sites we know so well. No, it is Jerry Coyne’s site, where we believe in science and evidence. We also hear about some on the far left that have gone off the rails about free speech and other strange opinions that make them seem as bad as the far right.

            I do not like conspiracy theory that much so maybe I will see it some time in a movie. Did you ever hear of the 9/11 commission report completed just a few years after the event. I sure did not read all of it, as it was kind of long. Something like 1200 people in 10 countries were interviewed. Anyway, there was no evidence of direct connection to the Saudi govt. there, maybe the national inquirer?

            You can have all the opinions you want but there are only one set of facts. I kind of go this way on other subjects as well, such as sexual harassment…opinions just don’t get it for me.

            • Posted October 13, 2018 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

              I take strong exception to the oft repeated claim that posters here care about “evidence”. If that were true we would not see the kind of comments we see about Christine Blakey Ford. People here routinely ignore evidence, as with the “Trump is Putin’s stooge” stuff.

              • Curt Nelson
                Posted October 13, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

                You should find a website with commenters you respect.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted October 13, 2018 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

                I recall asking you some evidence in support of your claim that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford suffers from “false memory” syndrome. Never got an answer. Care to cite some now?

              • Posted October 13, 2018 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

                My point Ken, was that she might well be. Pertinent to that is the question of what therapy she was given. We have been denied that information (by her).

                I never said she did certainly suffer from it, that is a falsehood. I said I think that the evidence, such as it is, makes that the most plausible explanation. You can look back to find the reasoning I gave.

                I also stated explicitly that none of us can be sure what happened. Yet many here seem quite certain. Without any confirmatory evidence.

            • Posted October 13, 2018 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

              So Curt, “WEIT, love it leave it”? How very John Birch of you.

    • Christopher
      Posted October 13, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      tRump jr has already put out tweets that Khashoggi was a terrorist sympathizer, according to CNN. What better way to not do anything about this murder than smear the victim’s reputation? Not that tRump would give a sh!t about a government murdering an “enemy of the people”, even one who is an “enemy” of another country. Hell, nobody in government bats an eye when Russia (frequently) does it. Nothing is done when Russia poisons expats in the U.K. (beyond a few harrumphs) so why hold the Saudis to a higher (very low) standard?

  5. Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    The list of countries we do business who have murdered journalists and other innocents they consider their enemy is pretty long. China and Russia are at the top of the list. I am not exuding the Saudi’s. We should have cut them off in 2002 after the World Trade Center attack.

    • Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Not excusing the Saudi’s.

      Sorry for the typo.

      • mikeyc
        Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        *whew* “Exuding Saudis” is a mental image that is quite disturbing. 🙂

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted October 13, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

          I kinda like “exuding Saudis” in that sentence. And pace, OG but Saudis is the English plural of Saudi; no apostrophe.

          • Posted October 13, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

            I know that but could not get my software to accept it without the apostrophe. Your software is better than mine.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Your comparison simply does not hold up here. Those terrorists were from Saudi Arabia but there was not direct connection of any type from the Saudi govt. to the terrorism and their action. In this current case, the Saudi govt. leader is directly responsible for killing Khashoggi. So your connection holds no water.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      As said already above. I am a little surprised there are a couple people here who think the Saudi government was either behind or complacent about the 9/11 attacks.
      For one thing it makes no sense. What would be in it for them?

      • Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        Nothing in the Middle East makes any sense. Not from our point of view and perspective That is why we should stay out of there. We should not be trying to manage the Middle East.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted October 13, 2018 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

          I beg to disagree: a lot in the Middle East makes a lot of sense. The reason we should stay out of there and not try to manage the Middle East is not that nothing there makes sense, but that our policies make little sense (does that make sense? 🙂 )
          I think the best basis, a starting point, for any policy regarding the Middle East (by far) is getting rid of our addiction to oil. Which can (could have been) be done at a fraction of the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

          • Posted October 13, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

            That would be a good start. Did you see the UN report on climate change that was released Monday. It is pretty sobering and gives lots of reasons to quit using oil. If we don’t casks drastic changes our grandchildren are in for some serious problems.

    • Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      No direct connect I agree. But there was enough other evidence of involvement with their citizens and groups under their control. The funds were coming from the Saudi. There were tools and assets they could have used that they were not doing.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Far as Donald Trump is concerned Jamal Khashoggi is just a malcontent with a funny name from a shithole country working for Jeff Bezos’s fake newspaper. Who gives a damn if he disappears?

    The Trump administration has sent a clear signal to depots around the world that human-rights violations don’t matter — that how they deal with dissidents is their own business, of no concern to the United States.

    Trump’s immediate reaction to Kashoggi’s disappearance was that, whatever happened to him, we can’t let it interfere with the Saudis’ purchase of “our big, beautiful American weapons” (some of which are now being deployed by the Saudis against innocent civilians in Yemen). The real question, however, is what are Donald Trump’s own personal financial ties to the Saudi royal family that make them all so cozy, and make Trump so loath to cross them. This we don’t know, since Trump (unlike every other US president going back to Nixon) has refused to disclose his tax returns — because, you know, “audits.”

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      I suspect there is much more known about the ties to Saudi than you think. Trump himself has stated some of them and his son in law got a 100 million loan from the Saudi’s. Mueller most likely has all of his taxes and very likely the attorney general of New York has a great deal of them and his financial ties. She is investigating the whole family.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        There’s enough in the public record to know that Trump has deep and long-standing financial ties to the Saudi royals. But the American public is entitled to full transparency regarding their president’s potential financial conflicts-of-interests — and this we are by no means receiving.

    • W.Benson
      Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      The 1) premeditated murder (and it is that unless SA can produce a living Kashoggi) 2) of an adversary who is a private citizen 3) on direct orders from a head of state 4) by employees of that state, which is apparently what happened under Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is unacceptable anyplace that claims to operate under the rules of law. The lack of action is tantamount to the abandonment of law.

      • Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        Do you apply the same standards to the Russians and the Chinese.

      • Mark R.
        Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        “The lack of action is tantamount to the abandonment of law.”

        Sadly, just one more incident where America and this administration has abandoned law. Nothing new…move along.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted October 13, 2018 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        What you said.

  8. Frank Bath
    Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    If the the US and the West were to dump Saudi Arabia I’m sure Russia or China would be right there.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 13, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Are you suggesting we let Saudi Arabia slide on the Khashoggi assassination, for fear that the Saudis will cozy up to (and start buying weapons from) someone else?

      Donald Trump is the guy who, on the campaign trail, refused to take the use of nuclear weapons off the table, even against our European allies. Yet, here, first thing out of Trump’s mouth is a pledge to the Saudis that their $110 billion weapons deal is still solid, even before they’ve fessed up to anything. While running for office, Trump billed himself as the great negotiator — Art of the Schlemiel is more like it, you ask me.

      • Frank Bath
        Posted October 13, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        Just saying.

      • Rita Prangle
        Posted October 13, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        YES!

  9. rickflick
    Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    We know DT is amoral and the death of a journalist doesn’t disturb him. However, it is depressing to think that previous administrations of both parties have had close relations with the Saudis while they have presided over egregious human rights violations.

    • Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      The Bush family was especially close the the Saudi royals.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted October 13, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        They all do what we let them get away with, you know, the American voter. Does anyone here not see the connection. Also, because others did bad stuff in the past is no reason to give it yet another pass today.

        It’s like the kid who gets caught by his mom doing something wrong. What is first out of his mouth – well everyone else does it.

        • Posted October 13, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

          I agree. I did not post the comment in order to excuse Trump or anyone else.

  10. Jon Gallant
    Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Yes, it is an old story that successive US governments refuse to apply the most elementary liberal standards to the Saudi pre-medieval, theocratic police state. Let me point out another equivalent dereliction. The Left often rails against the US/Saudi connection, but has there ever been a whisper of boycotting Saudi academia? Has the Middle Eastern Studies Association ever said “boo” about the behaviour of the Saudi monarchy? Come to think of it, have Georgetown and Harvard universities ever breathed a critical word about the Kingdom which is the source of the $20 million endowments each institution enjoys from Prince Alwaleed bin Talal?

    • BJ
      Posted October 13, 2018 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      Hey, come on. You can’t expect such institutions, professors, students, activists, etc. to be that angry with Saudi Arabia. It’s not like it’s Israel or something.

      • dallos
        Posted October 14, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 14, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          Christ almighty, it’s time Israel shitcanned this corrupt, small-minded Likudnik.

  11. Brujo Feo
    Posted October 13, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    …Turkish consulate in Istanbul”…”

    Professor, I’m pretty sure that you mean the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

    • Brujo Feo
      Posted October 13, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Darn…strange quotation marks. My Windoze computer likes to switch itself from the U.S. English KB to the International one, without warning.

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 13, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    There’s an orgy of religion and Trump-fluffing happening on tv right now, regarding the pastor released by Turkey.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 13, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Here is the deal with Khahoggi. Trump may not have much to say about it.

      A group of Senators have already triggered the Magninsky Act. This means, if they did what we know they did, things will be happening automatically whether Trump likes it or not.

      I guess he does not have anymore yachts to sell to them but the $270,000 they spent in the Trump hotel while lobbying does make a difference.

  13. Posted October 13, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    The interconnectadness of power , money, trade, makes the life (in this case) of 1 person, dispensable.
    It, if it is murder, has nothing to do with the above but a creed of honour and over inflated royal family ego.
    You can dress it up with conspiracies, flash looking military hardware, POTUS shuffling, sniffing the ‘air’, conceited palace grandeur but in the end…
    it’s just a bunch of thugs, doing thuggery.

  14. Posted October 13, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately I place zero trust in the Turkish government. I am not saying the dude is okay, just that Erdogan is below even Putin In credibility.

    • Posted October 13, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Of course Erdogan is a thug. But would he stand to gain by making such an incendiary false accusation against the Saudis?

  15. BJ
    Posted October 13, 2018 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I agree that Saudi Arabia’s regime is a terrible, backwards government run by a ruthless family that places its own power and riches above all other considerations.

    However (this is one of the most unfortunate types of howevers in the world), diplomatic relations with the Saudis must be maintained. SA is probably our only true ally in the region aside from Israel, and our relationship with the country holds enormous strategic value. There are considerations that are, in my opinion, far more important to the security of the US, and perhaps the world, than cutting off relations because of how terrible the country and its government is.

    Unless the Saudi regime becomes as ruthless and belligerent as North Korea’s, I don’t think it’s worth severing ties with it. There is always the question of “how far do they have to go before the cons outweigh the pros,” but I think we’re nowhere near that point yet. Hell, if we could be allies with, say, China, which has a pretty bad human rights record, I would be all for it. Or Iran. Or Egypt. Etc.

    • Posted October 13, 2018 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      The rub is BJ, Trump would get credit.

      • Posted October 13, 2018 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        I don’t follow. It does not matter who gets the credit if the policy is right.

        • Posted October 13, 2018 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          To you perhaps. To me, I hope. To everyone? No. As Jerry’s “cats must fail” cartoon highlights.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 13, 2018 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      Saudi Arabia has yooge strategic oil reserves and is the Sunni counterweight to Iran’s Shia regional power. But beyond that, what “enormous strategic value” do you think Saudi Arabia holds that merits the United States accepting this kind of behavior from the Saudi royal family?

      Aside from its own atrocious record on human-rights and its despotic treatment of its own people, Saudi Arabia is right now a bad actor in Yemen and Qatar. Saudi Arabia also has poured many of its petrodollars into the madrassas that spread the toxic Wahhabism that has fueled ISIS and al-Queda. The devil’s deal the Saudi royals have cut with their clerics is that they will fund the spread of this noxious ideology in other countries so long as it’s kept from fomenting insurrection against the royal family at home. There is also evidence suggesting that the Saudi government itself may have been complicit in various terrorist attacks.

      I think the US (and, to an even greater extent, the Netanyahu government in Israel) is making a grave mistake throwing in its lot with the Saudis in the Middle East struggle for regional power. And, in any event, the Saudis need the US at least as much as we, them. There’s no reason for the US to bend over on the Khashoggi assassination.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted October 13, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        Another vary obvious problem for Trump in this love-fest he is having with the Saudi dictator is his own mouth here in the politics he is loosing. Almost daily he attacks the media, journalism and the forth estate in general. Enemy of the people he calls it every chance he gets. No politician in their right mind does this.

        Every journalist is watching this clown with great interest, ready to pound him at any minute depending on his action or lack thereof. Just like all those taxes he does not pay, it all comes due one day.

      • BJ
        Posted October 13, 2018 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think there are many other reasons beyond those you listed, except for one really big one you missed: the military bases. I can’t imagine how enormous the loss for US military capability — and, by extension, the capability to protect places like Israel and keep the region from destabilizing further — would be if the US lost that military presence. And, if the US lost those bases, you can bet Russia and/or China would be moving in. If you look at a map of military bases around the world between these three powers, you’ll notice that losing the bases in Saudi Arabia would mark an huge shift in the balance of power.

        But the fact that SA is “the Sunni counterweight to Iran’s Shia regional power” is nearly as important.

        We both know that diplomacy and geopolitics is a game of compromise and turning the other way, and I guess it’s a matter of opinion whether or not the reasons above outweigh the negatives of allying with a country like Saudi Arabia.

        Also, I’m not suggesting the US “bend over” on this issue. The US should make some noise, maybe lodge a complaint. But, in the end, nothing of true substance will be done, and that’s probably for the best.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 13, 2018 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

          The Saudis have (it appears, based on the reports so far) assassinated a US permanent resident employed by US newspaper, based on their displeasure with what the journalist published in that US paper. They did it by sending a hit team, including a coroner equipped with a bone was to dismember the body, to a consulate in a foreign nation.

          This isn’t some minor breach of diplomatic decorum; it is a major, unprecedented flouting of international law. The US needs to do much more than “make some noise, maybe lodge a complaint” if it wants to maintain any credibility in the international community and to deter other rogue states from doing the same.

          The Saudi royals don’t have the chutzpah to close any American military bases.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted October 13, 2018 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

            “bone saw”

          • BJ
            Posted October 13, 2018 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

            “The Saudi royals don’t have the chutzpah to close any American military bases.”

            You may have a point there. I guess my question is this: how much further than “launching a complaint” can we go? You can’t cut off diplomatic relations with a country in which you have military bases. We can release a statement of condemnation to the international community and the lodging of a formal complaint. What’s the intermediate step between that and cutting diplomatic relations for a bit? Pulling out diplomats? I guess that could be on the table, but, like the other things I’ve listed, it’s really just a dog and pony show.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted October 13, 2018 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

              Well, Saudi Arabia is set to buy $110 billion of “our big, beautiful American weapons” according the Donald. But dumbfuck pulled that monster stack of chips off the table, without so much as forcing the Saudis even to admit to anything yet.

              Trump has substantial, yet hazy financial ties of his own to Saudi Arabia. I fear he is incapable of acting in the best interests of this nation if those interests conflict in any way with his own financial interests.

              • BJ
                Posted October 13, 2018 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

                “Trump has substantial, yet hazy financial ties of his own to Saudi Arabia. I fear he is incapable of acting in the best interests of this nation if those interests conflict in any way with his own financial interests.”

                I certainly won’t argue with that.

                Regarding weapons: this goes back to being the counterbalance against Iran, right? Without weapons, SA loses ground. Sure, we could withhold this next shipment, and that would be another good dog and pony show. But we can’t withhold military assistance indefinitely, or there will be only one Muslim theocracy regional power, and it will quickly take over the entire region.

              • Posted October 13, 2018 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

                Our big mistake was the HWBush decision to go to war and worse to establish bases in Saudia Arabia. It is time to close the bares and withdraw all ground troops from the ZMuddle East. It is especially seventeen years past time. We have no national security interest there and never have.

              • BJ
                Posted October 13, 2018 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

                Not to mention that allowing Iran to become the defacto regional Islamic state power will be allowing Russia and China that same opportunity by proxy, in addition to other considerations that could have serious ramifications for the region and globe.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted October 14, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

                I’m no diplomacy maven, BJ, but it seems to me that there’s a broad range of sanctions that could be imposed between “making some noise” and a complete cut-off of diplomatic relations (which clearly isn’t going to happen).

                Hit the bastards where it hurts, in the pocketbook, by imposing some Magnitsky-style sanctions on MBS and his henchmen.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted October 14, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

                Indeed. If the US put pressure on SA it would make a lot of difference. Canada just complained about their practices and SA went nuts, ordering their medical students home. This had an impact on Canada as a small country. It has since been resolved. But they couldn’t do as much damage to the US. If all of the West stopped or reduced selling small arms to SA that too would help. Remember that SA is the source of support for radical Islam and it’s attacks on the west.

          • Posted October 13, 2018 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

            We should close the bases ourselves /and bring the troops home. HW Bush made one of the worst mistakes in our history in going to war. Time to withdraw. Well past time.

  16. Posted October 13, 2018 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Maybe I’m missing the point with all this oil talk, but the US is a net exporter of oil, and has been for some years. It seems to me that the worst the Saudis could do to the US, with respect to oil, is to flood the market to lower the price.

  17. Posted October 13, 2018 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    It’s time to pull our troops out is Saudi Arabia. We should never have established there. It is past time to leave. There is no downside to bringing our troops home. Time to end our military presence in the Middle East on the ground.

  18. Diane G
    Posted October 13, 2018 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    sub

  19. Posted October 13, 2018 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to guess that some scapegoats will soon be found and executed, perhaps some underlings of MbS upset by his reforms and trying to defame him. That will mollify the West and allow this despicable Kingdom to continue on its merry way.

    • Posted October 14, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      Could be that MbS will be replaced. This was incompetence at its worst. His record otherwise has not been good. The Saudis except more from their lesders.

      • Posted October 14, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        Who is going to replace him? His dad?

        • Posted October 14, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

          Probably a lot of cousins, brothers and half brothers they would be willing to replace him. Saudis do not like incompetence.

          • Posted October 14, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

            I meant that King Salman has already rewritten SA’s succession rules to make his son, MbS, Crown Prince. Who is going to change that?

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted October 14, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

              MbS made a successful move on his predecessor as crown prince, Muhammad bin Nayef, just last year, so it’s not like it’s unprecedented.

              If his uncle King Salman thinks the kid screwed the pooch on this, he may want to be rid of him.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted October 14, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

                On the other hand, if the West gives the Saudis a pass on this, the old man may figure MbS has got exactly what it takes.

              • Posted October 14, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

                Salman is the father of MbS, not uncle.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted October 14, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

                Right you are. MbS is the nephew of the prior King, Abdullah, who died a couple years ago.

                Tough to keep the House of Saud straight without a copy of Saudi edition of Burke’s Peerage at one’s elbow. 🙂

            • Posted October 14, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

              King Salman

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted October 14, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

            I should think there’s plenty of bad blood among the extended royal family after MBS oversaw the arrest, interrogation, and compelled relinquishment of riches of other royals last year.

  20. ladyatheist
    Posted October 13, 2018 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    I wonder what we had to give Turkey to get back that pastor this weekend. A promise not to hold them accountable?

  21. Posted October 14, 2018 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    Like Putin’s recent murders this is shockingly brazen. Surely this was done for theatrical effect, to discourage others. And as a way of humiliating the west, and turkey, who will surely do nothing much.

    But “Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi” seems too narrow a summary. He wrote some op-eds, sure, but was a politician who (in my understanding) spent his life hawking a slightly different brand of isalmism to the Saudi kind.

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/10/death-of-a-dissident-saudi-arabia-and-the-rise-of-the-mobster-state/

    • Diane G
      Posted October 14, 2018 at 3:53 am | Permalink

      Very interesting!

    • Posted October 14, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      It was done because the leader is incompetent. Not for theatrical effect but because of stupidity.

      • Posted October 14, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        Anything is possible, but this seems like a lot of effort if they just wanted him dead. They don’t have lone hit-men, or car bombs? And a lot of risk too, if the Turks had been quicker, and held those planes…

        Maybe there are reasons besides theatre. Perhaps it was super-important that he not receive proper burial? That his grave could not be a shrine?

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted October 14, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

          Or that we know he was whacked and who did it but we couldn’t prove it. That way it’s a warning to others like when Russians use polonium.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted October 14, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

            Or Novichok nerve agent.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 14, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

          They may have wanted to interrogate/torture him first. Khashoggi was a US green-card holder; I doubt the Saudis would have had the cajones to whack him here, or on the streets of Turkey, which would’ve risked witnesses and civilian casualties. This was a way to lure him onto their turf and make him disappear.

          • Posted October 14, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

            They forgot to turn the cameras off.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted October 14, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

              If there were cameras in the consulate, they were put there by the Turks. I doubt the Saudis, even if they suspected there were cameras, had any means to switch them off.

              • Posted October 14, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

                Wire cutters or a similar tool would have done the thick. Or even an accidental car accident. A little creative thought eould have turned them off ir put them out of action.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted October 14, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

                Never underestimate the ingenuity of a host nation when it comes to bugging the diplomatic buildings of its adversaries. Think of the extreme efforts the Russians went to regarding the US embassy in Moscow.

                I doubt it would’ve been as easy as snipping wires.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted October 14, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

                Or the British embassy with the bugged rock that the Russians knew about and only brought up when they poisoned Lutvienko as a way to show how the British were the ones being mean to Russia.

              • Posted October 14, 2018 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

                I was talking about the outside cameras that showed him going in the front door.

          • Posted October 14, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

            Yes interrogation is a possibility.

            It’s also possible they planned to fly him back to Saudi alive, and something went wrong / got leaked / etc, and this was plan B.

            Agree that a hit in DC would be a much bigger step. But a hit in Istanbul would not be. Re civilians… I doubt they’d put 15 of their guys at risk to spare the live of some random turkish taxi driver or whatever.

            • Posted October 14, 2018 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

              Given his past involvement with the House of Saud, I think that Khashoggi was the “man who knew too much.” He thought what he knew protected him. It didn’t.

  22. Diana MacPherson
    Posted October 14, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    I like this tweet from David Frum:

    “As Saudi Arabia threatens massive economic reprisals against the US if held to account for the disappearance of a WashPo columnist, a friendly reminder that the Trump administration formally labeled America’s top source of imported oil, Canada, a threat to national security”


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