The Khashoggi death “explanation”: do the Saudis think the whole world is stupid?

After waiting over two weeks before even admitting that Saudi-born journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 (he was there to get permission to divorce his first wife so he could marry his fiancée), the Saudi government has now admitted that Khashoggi is indeed dead. But in trying to exculpate themselves, and to ensure the reputation of the Kingdom and its odious ruler Prince Mohammed bin Salman, they’ve put out a ridiculous and incredible story.

What we know is that on the day Khashoggi entered the consulate, a team of 15 men flew to Istanbul from Saudi Arabia. Several of these were affiliated with the Prince, and one of them was a forensic pathologist toting a bone saw. After Khashoggi disappeared, the men returned to Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government denied at first that Khashoggi had even entered the consulate. In the meantime, Turkish authorities claimed that they have tapes of Khashoggi being tortured (the details include vivisectional activities I prefer not to dwell on) and then killed. His body has vanished.

No matter what you think of Khashoggi, his affection for Islamism or the Muslim Brotherhood (he was no paragon of American-style democracy), he didn’t deserve this. He was eliminated because he was not only a critic of the Kingdom and the Prince, but perhaps because he knew too much.

The Saudi explanation? As the New York Times reports, it’s lame and risible:

For the first time on Saturday, a Saudi official familiar with the government’s handling of the situation put forward the kingdom’s narrative of the events that led to Mr. Khashoggi’s death.

The kingdom had a general order to return dissidents living abroad, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing. When the consulate in Istanbul reported that Mr. Khashoggi would be coming on Oct. 2 to pick up a document needed for his coming marriage, General Assiri dispatched a 15-man team to confront him.

The team included Maher Abdulaziz Mutrib, a security officer identified by The New York Times this week as a frequent member of the crown prince’s security detail during foreign trips, the official said. Mr. Mutrib had been chosen because he had worked with Mr. Khashoggi a decade ago in the Saudi Embassy in London and knew him personally.

But the order to return Mr. Khashoggi to the kingdom was misinterpreted as it made its way down the chain of command, the Saudi official said, and a confrontation ensued when Mr. Khashoggi saw the men. He tried to flee, the men stopped him, punches were thrown, Mr. Khashoggi screamed and one of the men put him in a chokehold, strangling him to death, the official said.

“The interaction in the room didn’t last very long at all,” the official said.

The team then gave the body to a local collaborator to dispose of, meaning that the Saudis do not know where it ended up, the official said.

That’s ridiculous. Even if you accept the Saudi admission that they have a policy of kidnapping dissidents abroad and taking them back to the Kingdom—a policy that is itself reprehensible—this doesn’t explain why a team of 15 people was needed for the abduction, including a forensic pathologist with a bone saw. (All 15 have been identified and their movements traced; see here.)

And why the bone saw if a kidnapping was on tap? And seriously, who believes in the accidental strangling? They had to kill Khashoggi to subdue him? A team of 15 men can tie up someone without strangling him. As for the “local collaborator” who disposed of the body, that’s possible, but one again remembers the pathologist with the saw. And this was all supposed to have been an accident rather than something ordered by the Prince?

And now all of the 15 agents, as well as a driver and two consular staff, have been arrested by the Saudis, while the consul general from Istanbul has returned to the Kingdom and disappeared. Several other Saudi intelligence officials have been fired. As well as eliminating all witnesses to the event, this is supposed to give Prince bin Salman plausible deniability.

What dumbass would believe the Saudi story? Well, one of them may be “President” Trump, who is waffling even more than the Saudis. While the rest of the world demands explanations (and the Turkish government may give us one), Trump at first said he found the explanation “credible.” Now, in a short interview with the Washington Post,Trump says that  “Obviously there’s been deception and there’s been lies.”  He won’t put those lies at the door of the Prince, though, and he’s still backing this evil and odious man. As the Post reports:

President Trump retreated late Saturday from his stance that Saudi Arabia’s story about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside their Turkish consulate was credible but still gave a strong vote of confidence to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, arguing the United States’ relationship with the kingdom is key to his administration’s policy objectives in the Middle East.

“Obviously there’s been deception and there’s been lies,” Trump said in an interview with The Washington Post when pressed on the many discrepancies in the changing accounts from the Saudis. “Their stories are all over the place.”

He did not call for the ouster of Mohammed and instead praised his leadership, calling the prince “a strong person, he has very good control.”

During the 20-minute interview, Trump repeatedly talked about the importance of the economic ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia and Mohammed’s role in that relationship.

“He’s seen as a person who can keep things under check,” he said. “I mean that in a positive way.”

The president said he does not prefer that another leader replace the 33-year old prince because he said he has read about others and Mohammed, known as MBS, is “considered by far the strongest person” and “he truly loves his country.”

Keep things under check? I suspect that by that he means “kill those who oppose him”, though he’d never admit it. Trump’s worship of homicidal dictators, ranging from Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin to Prince bin Salman, is inexplicable unless Trump fantasizes that he’s also a strong man along the lines of these tyrants. I’m guessing that he’d love to have the power to dispose of his opponents the way Prince bin Salman did. And while Trump cozies up to the forces of darkness, he insults and alienates our democratic allies, ranging from Canada to Europe.

What Saudi Arabia did is of course worse than the waffling and wriggling that Trump is displaying as he osculates the rump of the Prince, but they both need to be dealt with, preferably by removal from office. Mohammed bin Salman has lost all the credibility he once had as a “reformer”, while Trump. . . . well, it makes me sick to see how he’s debasing his office and the very principles that America is supposed to stand for.

I’m not saying anything new or original here; everyone knows that the Prince is lying and all rational Americans know that Trump is an unstable narcissist without either the brains or the judgment to run this country. All we can do is mourn.

 

92 Comments

  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    … one of them was a forensic pathologist toting a bone saw.

    And, apparently, an MP3 player with his favorite autopsy play list, as one does when heading into a diplomatic meeting.

  2. GBJames
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    In the realm of Trump-supporting Republicans, the Saudi account will be accepted as a reasonable explanation.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Saudi dictator, MBS, has rolled out the Casablanca defense, also described by the command – Roundup all the usual suspects. His opening to take the action he did is totally owned by our president right here in la la land. As usual, instead of acting on behalf of American’s best interest, Trump has it exactly backward and believes we are the lessor partner in this deal with Saudi Arabia. He thinks we need the Saudi business buying our military goods and not the other way around. This is what stupidity and greed does to a person such as Trump and the results should be no surprise to anyone. When you climb into bed with the devil you always get screwed. Trump is the perfect experience to prove this lesson.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      In related news, since his release from prison, OJ back out looking for the real killers. They must be out there in a sand trap somewhere!

  4. Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    So… How many of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudi?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      The answer given by the King of Saudi at the time when first confronted was none. They were all Israeli persons. That answer should tell you what kind of story you get this time or any time.

      • Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Wasn’t bin laden Saudi as well?

        • Mikeyc
          Posted October 21, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          Yes he was. His family is very wealthy and has deep ties to the Saudi royal family. There is no mystery where Al Qaeda got much of the money it used to carry out the attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993 and 9/11, the bombings of the US embassy in Nairobi and Aden and the attack on the USS Cole, among others.

          • Posted October 21, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

            Could we have targeted the wrong country in response?

            • Mikeyc
              Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

              I am suspicious of your intent here grabaspine, but in hopes I am wrong….

              We did indeed. Or rather we targeted only one correctly- Afghanistan. Iraq was the Bush administration playing the Wizard of Oz gambit to protect their Saudi friends. It worked

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        Randall, could you provide a reference for that comment that you attribute to King Fahd?I absolutely agree that we need to hold the KSA Government to account for all their actions, covert or otherwise; but at a time when others are seeking to lie or obfuscate we need to be sure we can stand up the truth when we know it.

  5. phil brown
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    “And seriously, who believes in the accidental strangling? They had to kill Khashoggi to subdue him? A team of 15 men can tie up someone without strangling him.”

    I’m not giving the Saudi story any credence, but we know that chokeholds are used and can be fatal. Look at what happened to Eric Garner.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Hell, if the cops responsible for Garner’s death had a Trump hotel on Staten Island, they could’ve probably avoided even the hassle of a grand jury investigation.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    “And that’s not all! If you act now to buy $110 billion of our big, beautiful American weapons, we’ll throw in a pass to murder a dissident journalist of your choice!”

    Now that it’s been established that Trump is nothing but a pimp, the rest of the world can hondle him on the price.

  7. Hempenstein
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Heard on NPR yesterday that someone compiled a list of all the pieces (via headline, I think) the NYT has run, touting the impending liberalization of Saudi Arabia. The first, IIRC, was from 1953.

    But I missed the part about who compiled these articles/where it was published. If anyone has that, pls comment.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      OK, I found it. Seems that this came from Tweets by Georgetown history prof Abdullah Al-Arian, referenced here.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    All we can do is mourn.

    And vote! Make sure everyone you know gets to the ballot box between now and November 6th.

    This is the most momentous midterm election of our lifetimes. If the Democrats do not take at least one house of congress — and, thus, start exercising some meaningful separation-of-powers oversight of the executive branch — this nation is well-and-truly fucked. Trump will take it as a complete affirmation of his worst and basest instincts and charge forward with new authoritarian measures, including doing whatever it takes to end the special counsel investigation. We sure can’t count on the Banana Republicans in congress to do anything to stop him.

    • Historian
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      It appears that a bunch of new righties have decided to comment on this site. Beware, they may accuse you of Trump Derangement Syndrome. 😎

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        Yeah, when Jerry asked in the OP “What dumbass would believe the Saudi story?” I figured they would take that as their cue. 🙂

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

          Most of the Russian interference is over on face book and twitter where the masses live but would not be surprised if we see one of the fakes come streaming over here. We are pretty small spuds here.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

            The Boris’n’Natasha syntax is always a dead giveaway. Pay no attention to moose & squirrel. 🙂

      • Mikeyc
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        “New righties”? What?

        • Historian
          Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

          What I mean is that several people of a right-wing persuasion, who have not posted at this site previously have now begun to do so.

          • Mikeyc
            Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

            Oic.

            Well, it’s about time a different (if irritating) perspective showed up here. Many here can use their arguments to sharpen their claws.

            • Mark R.
              Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

              If their arguments were any good.

              The ones I’ve been reading lately seem to dull my brain rather than sharpen claws.

        • Posted October 21, 2018 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

          On this site, it is Gnu righties.

    • Mikeyc
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      It’s going to be close. I wish I could say we can count on the Democrats to win, but we can’t. You’re right that this election is momentous.

  9. Jenny Haniver
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    A few days ago, I heard someone interviewed on a news show about these ridiculous excuses give his opinion that MBS (and the rest of the Saudi royals) didn’t give a hoot whether we believed them or not, and the list of changing stories, all not credible, is demonstrative proof of his assertion. I’d agree with that. Heck, if they didn’t abhor dogs, they’d have said the consulate dog ate him.

    • Christopher
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Same goes for Putin. Nobody in their right mind believes two Russian men really were there to see the Salisbury cathedral. And I doubt Russia or Saudi Arabia really gives two shits whether we believe them or not for they know we won’t do a damn thing to stop them. Frankly, I don’t know why they even bother to lie.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Yes I agree. They don’t care what we think as long as we comply with whatever they want and don’t say anything that pisses off MBS. They went ape shit over a tweet from Canada and many Western democracies blamed Canada for tweeting something rather banal. So, the Saudis know they are controlling the conversation and the democracies they dislike will fight each other. Probably something to do with that shining orb.

  10. Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    The Saudis don’t need the world to be stupid—just greedy.

  11. Posted October 21, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    “Even if you accept the Saudi admission that they have a policy of kidnapping dissidents abroad and taking them back to the Kingdom. . .this doesn’t explain why a team of 15 people was needed for the abduction.”

    True. But if the intent was to kill him there would be even less need for a team of 15 people; a single assassin would suffice. No version of this story adds up.

    • Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Or maybe the other 14 Saudi nationals were needed to change a light bulb?

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      My guess is they needed a team to take away all the pieces of Khashoggi in 15 small briefcases.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Setting up a makeshift abattoir in a diplomat’s residence, then trying to cover your tracks by cleaning it up and repainting it, can apparently be a manpower-intensive undertaking.

      • Mark R.
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the new word. A euphemism for “slaughterhouse”…

      • Posted October 21, 2018 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        “Abattoir” sounds suspiciously like “albatross.” Is this a veiled Coleridge joke?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 21, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          Just wait till I stoppeth every one of three to tell it. 🙂

  12. PW
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    A couple of points

    1.
    “No matter what you think of Khashoggi, his affection for Islamism or the Muslim Brotherhood (he was no paragon of American-style democracy)”
    Probably true. The problem is that many people deny that there is any chance that Khashoggi was anything but a good left-wing liberal, and imply that the only reason one might suspect he hasn’t moved on from the Islamism of his youth is their own racism or perhaps a particular “phobia”. However, I don’t think there is an easy way to know one way or the other. Often Islamists and real Muslim democrats, in the Arab world and beyond, make similar noises in the early days and only show marked differences once in power. This leads to my second point.

    2. Opposing the House of Saud seems like the obviously moral thing to do, but how can we possibly avoid empowering Islamist factions in the process. I shudder to think about the chaos a fight over the “holy land”, among different factions within Islam/the Arab world, could entail. Suggesting that violence might spillover into the west would be understating the point.

    I am not trying to cover for Trump by the way (or the Saudis for that matter). His handling of this situation, as with just about every other situation, has been humiliating for the lover of one’s species. I am also not arguing for or against any particular set of policies. I’m just pointing out a serious problem.

    • GBJames
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      “Maybe Khashoggi was a secret islamist”

      Really? This is a “serious problem”?

      /slaps head

      • PW
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        That is not even close to what I said.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Best I can see, Trump is his puppet just as he is Putin’s puppet. The Saudis go after Qatar, they kidnapped Lebanon PM. What does the U.S. do? Nothing.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        What does the US do? Sells the Saudis a bomb they drop on a Yemeni school bus.

        • mordacious1
          Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

          So, Obama was the Saudis puppet too, good point.

          • Harrison
            Posted October 21, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

            Ah, our daily dose of whataboutery.

            • mordacious1
              Posted October 21, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

              Whataboutery is an acceptable answer to hypocrisy. Perhaps the only way to point out hypocrisy.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted October 21, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

            I see someone’s answered Jerry’s call for “What dumbass would believe …?”

            You always show up with right-wing talking points, sans analysis or explication. So why do you dissimulate about being a “an independent centrist”?

            I rather enjoy debating conservatives, but if you’re gonna come, come proper. Don’t just troll.

            • mordacious1
              Posted October 21, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

              I was just pointing out that Obama sold them the bomb that you are complaining about. If you can’t handle even that mild of criticism, there’s no hope for you.

              • Mark R.
                Posted October 21, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

                Yes, but after the funeral bombing, Obama halted the sale of guided bombs to SA. Rex Tillerson reinstated these sales in March 2017.

              • mordacious1
                Posted October 21, 2018 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

                The point is, when it comes to Saudi Arabia, no one has clean hands. I read yesterday, that Merkel stated that the journalist killed recently and Saudi trade with Germany are two separate issues, one will not affect the other.

                The Saudis have been offing people for a hundred years and suddenly we’re shocked, shocked that gambling is occurring here. But Trump…

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted October 21, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

                Oh, hell, man, I’ve got a thick skin for criticism. I was just poking you back a bit. 🙂

              • Posted October 21, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

                @ mordaciousi.
                Your whataboutism comment was non sequitur as it was in reply to a comment about US selling bombs, not any particular administration selling bombs.
                You invented the wedge in order to troll.

              • mordacious1
                Posted October 21, 2018 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

                (sigh) Except the linked article stated that Obama sold them the bomb. Other than that, totally non-sequitur.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        Makes me recall this amusing satire. https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/putin-furious-at-saudis-for-using-his-puppet-without-permission

    • eric
      Posted October 22, 2018 at 6:23 am | Permalink

      You avoid empowering extremists by NOT MURDERING the opposition. When there is a legitimate opposition, people upset at the government go to them. Reference them. When they are eliminated entirely, that’s when people flock to extremist oppisition – because they have no other choice.

      We also saw this in Egypt.

  13. Jon Gallant
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    A perfect, Saudi-Arabian account of what happened in the Istanbul embassy has been posted by my correspondent Mirel Goldenberg. Here it is, slightly edited.

    “His Highness Prince Bin Salman sent a 15 people team of very competent specialists to ask some important questions from the loved journalist Jamal Khashoggi about his divorce, his liaisons with other princes and his future plans. The able team started the interview and a tragic and unexpected accident happened: when they cut his third finger Mr. Khashoggi had a heart attack, so the team had a problem: to call a Turkish ambulance? but what to do with the fingers?

    The leader of the team asked the doctor Abu Mengele, an indispensable part of the team:
    “it’s possible to glue the fingers?”
    With sadness the doctor said that’s impossible so they decided to take Mr. Khashoggi to his homeland and, as they were on a tight budget, to put him in a suitcase.

    The team had also another problem as the team was flying low-cost and they were only allowed hand luggages (hand luggage size is 56 x 45 x 25 cm), so the good doctor took his reliable sawbone from his pocket (he never goes out without a sawbone or two)…and the rest is imaginable. The cultural attache is still cleaning the carpet. The 15 people team returned on time and the poor Prince had a puzzle to solve today (of 15 pieces).

    A tragic event but we are glad to announce that the Disney Studios showed interest in the story as they are always interested on scripts about princes.”

  14. Bob
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Quoting PCC(E)’s closing statement: “All we can do is mourn.”

    No, no, a thousand times no! If nothing else, we must vote, and do what we can to encourage others to do the same.

    • Historian
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Yes, this message cannot be repeated often enough.

    • Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      We can choose to vote for dumb or dumber. That was our choice in 2016.

      • Bob
        Posted October 22, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        Sorry to know that you are so cynical. Allowing an instance on “perfection” to be the enemy of the flawed good (or even the “better” or the “not awful”) in choosing among candidates for public office is what has resulted in the disaster led by The Drumph and his fellow travelers. If the attitude that you have expressed translates into another election catastrophe this November, then I suppose you will be able to say “mission accomplished.” An obvious and wide gulf existed between, for example, H. Clinton and The Drumph, no matter how you measure it — policy positions, intelligence, reliance on facts, rational thinking, compassion for fellow earth dwellers, respect for science, and simple character traits such as not verbally abusing and threatening anyone with a different point of view or a different station in life, not lying more than speaking the truth, etc.

        • Posted October 22, 2018 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

          I don’t agree with you about Hillary. I don’t doubt that we would be in another war if she had been elected.
          She was clearly not qualified.

        • Posted October 22, 2018 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

          I voted for Hillary. But I was holding my nose while I did it.
          In my comment, she was the dumb. Trump was the dumber.

  15. Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    What is to be done? Any ideas?
    I know it is pretty flimsy, but surely at the least the prince can be prevented from entering other countries that care to make a stand against this crime.

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      For one, we need to stop the arms deal with the odious regime as the Democrat leaders and even some GOP leaders (Corker for one) have suggested.

      It will be interesting to see if any other country does anything “tough” against the prince or Saudi government.

      Unfortunately, my cynicism informs me this will all blow over with no real consequences. Except perhaps for the Saudis who perpetrated this heinous act; they’ll probably end up on the chopping block, and silenced forever.

      • Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        I don’t see any reason to stop the arms deal as long as our companies are making a profit. Our companies do business with states with much worse records in killing journalists.

    • mikeyc
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      The other Mark is correct – nothing of substance will come of this. The Saudis, like rich people everywhere, will get away with it.

      If there are any consequences for anyone it will take place late at night in some obscure secret Arabian prison, with bullets into the heads of those who know the truth and the world will never hear of it.

      Move along. Nothing to see here.

      • Posted October 21, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        It would actually be interesting to know what happens to the henchmen.

        It’s also possible they just get a year’s paid leave, and don’t get assigned to foreign postings anymore. (Of course they all understand that their children’s futures depend on their keeping their mouths shut.)

        Murdering your loyal underlings actually seems like a bigger step than murdering your opponents. But I’ve no idea of the rules of the game in Arab kingdoms.

    • Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      I doubt if he has plans to travel much.
      There are not a lot of options for us. We cannot control what other countries do internally. There are a lot of bad actors in the world.

  16. Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    “[Do the Saudis think the whole world is stupid?”

    I’m not sure how true the following is for the Saudis in relation to the rest of the world, but the Trump (non)administration asserts the most preposterous things as a demonstration of its dominance and power. For ambitious underlings, affirming an absurdity is a way of demonstrating subordination. (the media always wrongly labels this ‘loyalty’.)

    • alexander
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Have you ever met Saudis? They do think the whole world is stupid.

  17. Steve Gerrard
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Along with all the other shocking transgressions, the fact that this was an execution carried out in a consulate should cause an immediate change in the diplomatic status of Saudi Arabia all over the world.

    I think their diplomatic immunity should be revoked world-wide, and their use of embassies and consulates as “an extension of Saudi Arabia” should be revoked as well. Their diplomats can stay, but with the status of visitors subject to the laws of the host country. Their offices should be guarded by the host countries, not the Saudis.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Now that is a positive suggestion.

      Entirely practical and it would suitably humiliate the Saudis.

      cr

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        I’m afraid I don’t agree that it would be at all practicable. Unless you are proposing that all other nations should declare the Saudi Government to be illegitimate (and if so your alternative would be…?), we are all bound to accept their Embassies under international conventions. Believe it or not there are many nastier regimes than KSA that have Embassies in both Washington and London.

        Consulates are another matter: we are not obliged to give house-room to any of them. But their utility cuts both ways: they can be as much value to us as to them. And shutting their Consulates in the West invites retaliation regarding ours in their countries. Do you really want that?

        • Steve Gerrard
          Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

          Yes, it is not all that practical. But it is the Saudis that have violated “international conventions.” I suppose it is not explicitly written anywhere that “you can’t kill your citizens in a consulate,” but I assume it is understood.

          I suppose what I really want is enormous shame to land on the Saudis. Countries kick out diplomats for lesser transgressions. I would hope that the Saudis lose out on billions of investment as well.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted October 22, 2018 at 2:57 am | Permalink

          Countries kick out diplomats all the time, for all sorts of reasons.

          What abuse of diplomatic privilege could be more blatant than what the Sauds just did?

          cr

  18. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    … do the Saudis think the whole world is stupid?

    Nah, this goes beyond even the usual gaslighting. The Saudi royals, like Trump himself, think they can force the world to accede to things everyone knows are obviously untrue simply through the exercise of raw power.

    • mikeyc
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      ….and they, like Trump, will succeed.

  19. openidname
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    The don’t think the world is stupid. It’s just face-saving. Like claiming that you didn’t fart, it was the dog.

  20. Posted October 21, 2018 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I think the Saudis are “Trumping” the planet.
    So in short to the title question, YES.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Agreed.

      They’ve been watching too much Trump.

      cr

  21. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Trump’s worship of homicidal dictators, ranging from Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin to Prince bin Salman, is inexplicable

    In 1 or (suspected re Russia) 2 of the cases Trump has businesses with them. But US has had stomach turning business with the Saudis for a long time. (And Sweden is no better, arms deals…)

  22. Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    We should close all our military bases in Saudiland and bring our troops home.
    I have never understood why we picked the Saudis as our allies. We had better choices elsewhere.

  23. Diane G
    Posted October 22, 2018 at 3:27 am | Permalink

    Sub

  24. Posted October 22, 2018 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    They are now admitting they murdered him, in a “rogue operation”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-45935823

    SA has vowed to punish the perps which means that all the witnesses and anybody who could point the finger at the Saudi government will be dead soon.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 22, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Nothin’ like a few summary public executions to establish MbS’s cred as a modernist reformer.

  25. rickflick
    Posted October 22, 2018 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    I suspect one tactic the Saudis have learned to use to nullify international criticism is simply to spin out a quasi-plausible “explanation” followed by, perhaps, another slightly modified version. The idea here is not that anyone is expected to believe the stories. It’s simply to bide time while the next big thing hits the news and everyone forgets about the incident. In a week or two…this never happened.


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