Violence against journalists worldwide is going up and is a grave threat to freedom of expression,” Mr Hunt said on Twitter. “If media reports prove correct, we will treat the incident seriously — friendships depend on shared values; British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt
Turkish officials accuse Saudi Arabia of murdering Khashoggi, 59,…
LONDON (AFP)|AIWA! NO!|-British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will visit Saudi Arabia on Monday where he will press King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
During a trip to the region that includes a visit to the United Arab Emirates, Hunt will also seek to build support for UN efforts to end the conflict in Yemen, the Foreign Office said.
His visit comes amid an international diplomatic crisis over the murder of Saudi journalist Khashoggi, a US resident, at his country’s consulate in Istanbul in October.
“The international community remain united in horror and outrage at the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi one month ago,” said Hunt, who will also meet Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
“It is clearly unacceptable that the full circumstances behind his murder still remain unclear.
“We encourage the Saudi authorities to co-operate fully with the Turkish investigation into his death, so that we deliver justice for his family and the watching world.”
During his brief visit to the Gulf, Hunt will also meet Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani.
Khashoggi’s sons express faith in King Salman. Salah and Abdullah said that all they want now is to bury their father in Al-Baqi cemetery in Madinah with the rest of his family, pointing out that they had talked about that with the Saudi authorities and hoped that it would happen soon.
|AIWA! NO!|The sons of the deceased Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi expressed their faith in the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and the prosecution of everybody involved in the case.
Salah Khasoggi, 35, and his sibling Abdullah, 33, spoke to CNN in a first sit-down interview since the death of their father a month ago.
“The king has stressed that everybody involved will be brought to justice and we have faith that will happen. Otherwise Saudi Arabia would not have started an internal investigation,” Salah Khashoggi told CNN.
Salah said his handshake with the Crown Prince shortly before he left the Kingdom was widely misinterpreted.
“I mean there was nothing, they were just over analyzing the whole situation,” Salah said. “I understand why they’re trying to do that. They are trying to get as much information as they can out of anything, which is something that we are also doing. Sometimes they are just baseless claims; sometimes they just do not make any sense. We are waiting for the investigation to be over.”
Salah and Abdullah said that all they want now is to bury their father in Al-Baqi cemetery in Madinah with the rest of his family, pointing out that they had talked about that with the Saudi authorities and hoped that it would happen soon.
Salah and Abdullah said their father has been misunderstood and intentionally misrepresented for political reasons.
“Jamal was a moderate person. Everybody liked him. He was an “amazing” father. I see a lot of people coming out right now and trying to claim his legacy and unfortunately some of them are using that in a political way that we totally don’t agree with.”
“Jamal was never a dissident. He believed in the monarchy that it is the thing that is keeping the country together. And he believed in the transformation that it is going through.” Salah said.
Salah said he relies on news reports for updates about the investigation into his father’s death.
“Our source is the same source that you have. It is a mystery. This is putting a lot of burden on us — all of us. That everybody is seeking for information just as we do. They think that we have answers, and unfortunately we don’t,” Salah said.
Abdullah Khashoggi, who lives in the United Arab Emirates, said he was the last of the family to see his father. He met him in Turkey and spent some time with him, adding that his father was planning to leave Washington area and move to Turkey to stay close to his children and grandchildren.
That he will return to Saudi Arabia soon to his banking in the city of Jeddah.
Salah said he would go back to his banking job in Jeddah very soon
11-Member Saudi ‘Cover-Up Team’ Ordered To Dispose Jamal Khashoggi’s Body: Report
AIWA! NO!According to a report in Sabah daily, Saudi Arabia sent an 11-member “cover-up team” to Istanbul on October 11, nine days after Khashoggi vanished after entering the diplomatic compound to obtain paperwork for his marriage.
A chemist and a toxicology expert were deployed by Saudi Arabia to Istanbul in order to cover up evidence of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Turkish newspaper reported on Monday.
The murder of the Saudi royal-insider-turned critic inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul has provoked widespread international outrage.
Turkish authorities have released gruesome details of a killing that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said was a targeted hit.
While Riyadh officials have admitted the murder was planned, they have so far declined to release details of the whereabouts of the 59-year-old journalist’s missing body.
According to Turkey’s pro-government Sabah daily, Saudi Arabia sent an 11-member “cover-up team” to Istanbul on October 11, nine days after theWashington Post contributor vanished after entering the diplomatic compound to obtain paperwork for his marriage.
The paper said chemist Ahmad Abdulaziz Aljanobi and toxicology expert Khaled Yahya Al Zahrani were among “the so-called investigative team”, which visited the consulate every day until October 17, before leaving Turkey on October 20.
Saudi Arabia finally allowed Turkish police to search the consulate for the first time on October 15.
The Turkish government commented on the matter for the first time this week, saying, that the entire operation was savagely planned, and perhaps even conducted via Skype by Saud al-Qahtani, Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s primary henchman.
|J. Dana Stuster, LAWFARE/AIWA! NO!|The U.S. State Department canceled the visas of 21 Saudi citizens believed to be involved in the plot to murder Jamal Khashoggi, and is discussing the possibility of sanctions with the Treasury Department, U.S. officials said last week.
The visa cancellations are the first substantive punitive measure taken by the United States in response to the murder of Khashoggi, who was a U.S. permanent resident and columnist for the Washington Post. Given that at least 18 of the individuals are under arrest in Saudi Arabia, the move is largely symbolic, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested that additional steps may be forthcoming.
“These penalties will not be the last word on the matter from the United States,” he said on October 23.
“We’re making very clear that the United States does not tolerate this kind of ruthless action to silence Mr. Khashoggi, a journalist, through violence.”
Members of Congress have discussed taking additional steps, including halting arms sales or U.S. logistical support for the Saudi intervention in Yemen, but no legislative action will be taken while Congress is out of session in the run-up to the midterm elections on November 6.
Turkish investigators are pulling out all stops in probing into the mysterious disappearance and death of Saudi-origin US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who died in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. The Turkish government commented on the matter for the first time this week, saying, that the entire operation was savagely planned, and perhaps even conducted via Skype by Saud al-Qahtani, Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s primary henchman. His direct involvement in the matter would make it harder for the Saudi administration to distance Salman from the operation.
Amidst this ruckus, Khashoggi’s body, presumably mutilated, dismembered and scattered for disposal, remains missing. The same goes for his belongings, at least until Wednesday, when a team of Turkish detectives reportedly searched a vehicle suspected to carry his belongings. Turkish state media said that investigators have found three suitcases, a laptop computer and clothing inside a car belonging to the Saudi consulate, stowed away in an underground garage.
Other countries have also called for action on arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to Khashoggi’s death. German officials have said they will not sell additional weapons to Riyadh under the circumstances, and Austria, which halted arms sales in 2015 in response to the Saudi intervention in Yemen, has called for the European Union as a whole to discontinue sales.
But some European leaders have expressed reluctance to jeopardize lucrative arms deals, echoing comments made by President Donald Trump. “I understand the connection with [arms sales and] what’s happening in Yemen, but there is no link with Mr. Khashoggi,” French President Emmanuel Macron said, also describing the advocacy for a ban as “pure demagoguery.” Canadian President Justin Trudeau has warned that the penalty for withdrawing from his country’s deal to sell light-armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia would be “in the billions of dollars.” And Spain has said it will continue to do business with Saudi Arabia to protect its shipbuilding industry.
Still, the pressure to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for its human rights violations is unprecedented. There are signs that Saudi officials are recognizing that their strategy of deliberately and obviously lying about Khashoggi’s disappearance has backfired. The Saudi government conceded last week that Khashoggi’s death was a planned operation after Turkish intelligence reportedly shared an audio recording of his murder with CIA Director Gina Haspel; Saudi officials maintain, though, that the operation was carried out without the authorization of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). The Saudi government has also lifted the travel ban on Khashoggi’s son, Salah, a U.S.-Saudi dual citizen, allowing him to fly to the United States—but not before Salah was compelled to meet with MBS for a photo op.
The crown prince addressed Khashoggi’s death in public remarks for the first time last week, at his much-hyped Future Investment Initiative conference, which took place last week despite many American and European officials and business leaders canceling their appearances. Speaking on a panel with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, MBS called Khashoggi’s death “very painful, for all Saudis.” He said that Saudi investigators are working with Turkish authorities and that the two countries “are cooperating to punish any criminal, any culprit and at the end justice will prevail.”
Saud al-Mojeb, who is leading the Saudi investigation, is in Istanbul this week and metwith the chief investigator in Turkey on Monday; Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a press conference that “responsibility of Saudi Arabia is very large here” and stressed that the Saudis should not slow-walk the investigation. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has effectively denied a request from Turkey that the suspects in Khashoggi’s murder be extradited and struck a different tone than MBS. Speaking at a security conference in Bahrain over the weekend, Jubeir called the international outcry “fairly hysterical.”
MBS appeared jovial at the conference, and even concluded his remarks by joking that the press should not “spread rumors” that Hariri, sitting two chairs away on the stage, had been “kidnapped.” The quip suggests that MBS still does not grasp foreign governments’ frustration with the reckless bullying of his governance. Less than a year ago, MBS sparked a political crisis in Lebanon when he held Hariri against his will in Saudi Arabia and forced him to resign under duress. (Hariri withdrew his resignation when he returned to Lebanon after a diplomatic intervention by France, but he has remained on working terms with MBS, who is an important patron of Hariri’s family and political fortunes.) The comment’s direction at the media also felt barbed, given that the conference was occurring under the shadow of a journalist’s murder and in a country with severe limits on free speech and reporting. One of the Saudi government’s first reactions to Khashoggi’s death was to issue a statement reminding Saudi citizens and press that “spreading rumors or fake news that might affect public order and security is considered cybercrime punishable by 5-year imprisonment.” To MBS, this recklessness and authoritarianism is still a punchline.
Though MBS stressed the importance of proceeding with his economic reforms at the conference last week, Khashoggi’s death has interfered with those plans. Bloombergnoted that most of the attendees of the Future Investment Initiative forum were Saudis, and that more Chinese and Russian investors were present this year while American and European businesses stayed home. Some analysts have suggested that businesses dropped out of the conference for show and would be back to invest later, but others have noted that MBS’ reputation for impulsive and unpredictable policies had been deterring the investment he’s been courting long before Khashoggi disappeared. Michael Hirsh, writing in Foreign Policy, noted that foreign direct investment in Saudi Arabia declined by 80 percent from 2016 to 2017. “Khashoggi’s killing at the hands of Mohammed bin Salman’s security forces—which the Saudis are now confessing was premeditated—has only brought international attention to a problem that close observers of Saudi Arabia had been aware of for more than a year,” Hirsh wrote. “The crown prince was making bad decisions and scaring a lot of influential and wealthy people away.” Karen Young, an insightful observer of the Saudi economy, argued in a recent piece for the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog that this could have unfortunate consequences for the Saudi youth that stood to benefit from a more diverse Saudi economy, and that economic instability in the kingdom could spread, with the country’s skyrocketing sovereign debt as a conduit to foreign markets. With his credibility as a reformer in doubt, MBS is relying now more than ever on “checkbook diplomacy” to retain support from his regional allies and foreign countries eager to sell arms to Riyadh, Mohamad Bazzi wrote in the New York Times on Monday. “Since Prince Mohammed’s rise to power, the Saudis have pursued a more aggressive and militarized foreign policy, but they have also fallen back on a tactic honed over decades—wielding their oil wealth to buy loyalty in the Arab world and beyond,” he wrote.
The Saudi royal court is notoriously opaque, but there have been signs of fresh intrigue in the past week. King Salman has reportedly rallied to the defense of his son and hand-picked successor, even as close allies have expressed their concern about his continued rule. “People who think there’s going to be any change in the succession are wrong,” Prince Turki al-Faisal told the Washington Post’s David Ignatius last week. Prince Turki said that the backlash to Khashoggi’s death had actually strengthened MBS’ position. But even before this past month, MBS had reportedly been concerned about threats from rivals. Western officials have suggested to the Post that he could accept an arrangement to share power with another royal to placate critics. One option for that role would be Khalid bin Faisal, the former mayor of Mecca and a son of King Faisal, who governed in the 1960s and 1970s. Another would be Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz, King Salman’s brother, who has reportedly been floated by some members of the royal family for some sort of stewardship role. Prince Ahmed has been living in self-imposed exile in England since being passed over for the role of crown prince; in September, in a clip posted online, he made a rare public appearance to address to a crowd of protesters in London, saying that policies including the war in Yemen are the fault of the current Saudi leadership but not the royal family as a whole. On Tuesday, rumors were circulating online that Prince Ahmed had unexpectedly returned to Riyadh from London.
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J. Dana Stuster is the deputy foreign policy editor for Lawfare and a PhD student at Yale University. He worked previously as a policy analyst at the National Security Network and an assistant editor at Foreign Policy magazine.
|AIWA! NO!|Arrogant, reckless and brutal, these are words that human rights activists, trustworthy journalists and informed intellectuals have used to describe the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). He toots his own horn and derisively lambasts his opponents like a schoolyard bully. He is cocky, obnoxious and in-your-face. His speeches are littered with positive buzzwords, all of which are demonstrably devoid of substance.
Still, emptiness aside, his strategy to pass himself off as a great modernizing force has failed. He may have intended to bring Saudi Arabia to the modern world, but, instead he has forever tarnished it in irreparable ways. This, however, is not what is so shocking. Rather, it’s how he seemed to have won the hearts of so many in the West, which is bewildering. Absurdly, he was championed as an ambitious, young leader, a great visionary and sincere advocate of women’s rights. Instead, he has murdered critics, imprisoned several women, curbed any form of healthy debate and scoffed at moral restraints. Welcome to the bizarre world of MBS.
Unfortunately, America’s reliance on an uninterrupted, steady flow of cheap oil, hundreds of billions of dollars in military sales, and need for a pliable partner to support their Middle East peace plan, encouraged them to turn a blind eye, no matter how repugnant MBS’s actions. That, though, has now changed. It seems that the U.S. is realizing how seriously it miscalculated. Rather than exercise caution and restraint, they only ended up emboldening MBS. And, that fatal mistake is now coming back to haunt the Trump administration. Clearly, MBS is not a reliable or trustworthy partner. Time and time again, he has consistently revealed his proclivity for cruelty, whether with the unjust siege on Qatar, the inhumane war in Yemen, the brazen kidnapping of Lebanese Prime Minister Said Hariri, support for the terrorist Democratic Union Party (PYD) and People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, his temper tantrum against Canada, and underwriting extremist ideologies throughout the world and, as is becoming increasingly clear, the horrific murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Now, more than ever, the civilized world needs freedom from MBS as much as the Saudi people do.
What is so frustrating is how a megalomaniac seems to be haphazardly leading one of the largest oil suppliers in the world and a very important global country – Saudi Arabia. Yet, as left-wing social commentator and political theorist Slavoj Zizek cynically stated, the election victory of U.S. President Donald Trump was partly due to America’s desperate need for a reset – a jolt so severe that it shakes it back to its senses. This is, to be precise, where MBS fits in Saudi Arabia. He is a shocking, anti-establishment, unapologetic and murderous, mad boy king drunk on power, and perhaps tequila, apparently. All of us should have seen this coming, from kidnapping his own relatives and shaking them down for billions; or, for being the judge, jury and executioner who doesn’t even feign any semblance of respect for the rule of law. In the world of MBS, “might is right” and such a partner cannot be taken on board seriously. Moreover, he has become increasingly sadistic and irresponsible with his actions. Such is the audacity of evil that, without any restraint, he gleefully acts and behaves as if no one or nothing can stop him. Secular authoritarianism in the Middle East produces a tyranny that its sacred counterpoint could never come close to resembling. Make no mistake, MBS is the antithesis of anything ethical or Islamic.
The Khashoggi story
Just take a close look at how MBS has handled the entire Jamal Khashoggi debacle. From the beginning, outrageously, the Saudi establishment blatantly denied any culpability. As if their mere words were enough to convince the world. Saudi media outlets were ripe with accusations that the “disappearance” of Khashoggi was a cleverly orchestrated plot carried out by Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood. This is not just laughable, its outright thoughtless – both to say it, and for anyone to believe it. Looking closely, first, we are told by Saudi officials that “Jamal left the premises” shortly after he entered, even though his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, was waiting outside and did not see him. Second, when asked to produce video surveillance, they are unable to do so and, adding to the mystery, say that consulate cameras were not functioning. Third, they give all Turkish staff and several other non-diplomatic staff half-day holidays, just prior to Khashoggi entering the consulate. Fourth, two private jets, from Sky Prime Aviation Services – and privately owned, purportedly, by the Saudi Government, or even MBS, himself – bring 15 Saudi intelligence and security personnel, including the Chief of Forensic Medicine of the Saudi Interior Services, to Istanbul. This is not just suspicious, but clearly incriminating. Still, with all this evidence piling up, the Saudi establishment continued with a comical “deny, deny, deny and blame the Qatari guy” attitude that just makes them look even more guilty. Over three weeks later, they have admitted that Khashoggi died in a “fistfight.” Outrageous.
With all this information coming to light, and the continuous Turkish intelligence leaks – “death by a thousand cuts,” and the most recent leak of 11 minutes of audio and video that authenticate the brutal murder and dismemberment, his death is a forgone conclusion. Those recordings, incidentally, have been shared with The Washington Post and some Western intelligence agencies. It is impossible for Mohammed bin Salman to escape from some form of accountability. How much largely depends on whether the Senate compels President Trump to enact the Magintsky Act, on whether Khashoggi’s family will file a murder, or wrongful death lawsuit in U.S. Courts, if the United Nations takes concrete action to demand an international investigation and how many civil society activists and journalists continue to demand for justice.
Lastly, no matter which way we look at it, the world, and especially the Saudi Arabian people, deserve better. The house of Al-Saud is internally divided, and afraid, like never before. With the brutal murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, the mad boy king has, for the moment, mutilated his own political future. He, and his entourage of sycophant supporters, need to be stopped, before things get even farther out of hand. As Senator Graham has recently stated, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is “a wrecking ball. He had [Khashoggi] murdered… the MBS figure is toxic. He can never be a world leader… This guy’s got to go. Saudi Arabia if you’re listening, MBS has tainted your country.”
* Associate professor of political science and Gulf studies, Qatar University
Associate Professor of International Affairs, Qatar University
|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|The leaders of Russia, France, Germany, and Turkey met in Istanbul on October 27 to discuss issues of the Syrian peace settlement. They also discussed the case of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that the European Union might make a collective decision to halt all arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. At the same time, she agreed with her French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that the decision should be made after more is known about those responsible for his death.
Turkish President on Khashoggi’s Case
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier during the Istanbul Summit on Syria that Turkey has shared the results of the investigation into the murder of the Saudi journalist with other leaders in attendance.
While Erdogan praised the results of the discussions between Turkish and Saudi prosecutors working on the Khashoggi case, he also called for Saudi Arabia to reveal the individuals that issued the order to send the 18 people responsible for murdering the journalist.
Saudi prosecutor says journalist’s killing was premeditated. Prosecutor says killers had planned Jamal Khashoggi’s death, refuting claims that he died during a brawl gone wrong.
|AIWA! NO!|Saudi Arabi’s Al-Ekhbariya television station reports that a joint Saudi-Turkish task force found that Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death was premeditated, refuting earlier claims that he died during a brawl gone wrong.
Khashoggi has been missing since October 2, when he was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The Turkish government has accused Saudi Arabia of murdering the dissident journalist and chopping his body into pieces.
Saudi Arabia admitted for the first time on Friday that Khashoggi was killed after entering the consulate in Istanbul, after previously denying Turkish claims that he was murdered. Saudi Arabia contended, however, that Khashoggi was murdered at the consulate earlier this month after a brawl broke out.
According to Saudi Arabia’s state-owned media, the meeting “did not go as required and developed in a negative way, leading to a fight and a quarrel”.
“The brawl aggravated to lead to his death and their attempt to conceal and cover what happened”.
Deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri was reportedly fired over the incident, along with a senior aide to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Another 18 men involved were arrested over their role in the affair.
Khashoggi was a fierce critic of the Crown Prince, who denied in a conversation with US President Donald Trump that he was responsible for Khashoggi’s death