Saudi Journalist Disappears in Saudi Consulate in Turkey

He was allegedly injected with an overdose of sedative by the two 'heavies' who dragged him from the reception area to another room, with the original pan being to sedate him and take him back to KSA.

Salah Tubaighy, the forensic expert, allegedly left on the second plane which (according to confirmed flight times) only left after Khashoggi had already gone into the Consulate and, according to the time plan, been killed. He could only have been 'damage limitation', not part of the original plan - it's increasingly apparent that it was an abduction / rendition that went wrong.

What's still totally unclear is who ordered it and why Khashoggi was stupid enough to go into the Consulate alone (twice, if he went in alone the previous week).
The King has alzheimer's and/or dementia and has had for some time, hence the attempts to oust him and the attempted coup against him and MbS on 21 April when MbS was reportedly shot, after which he wasn't seen in public for several weeks. The King's extremely unlikely to have had any knowledge of any abduction or even which day of the week it is, so how he could have had a direct conversation with Trump is a mystery (as is how Trump could be unaware or unadvised of the King's medical condition). When the King met Obama in 2015, for example, he told Obama that his wife (MbS' mother) was in New York for medical treatment when she wasn't in the US at all.

The King has, effectively, been out of the picture for two years - with the Trump administration backing MbS and hosting him at the White House even before he became Crown Prince.
That all makes sense. I am wary (fwiw) of fully accepting any explanation at this early stage as we are still without evidence [that is, we are relying heavily on intelligent conjecture]. Also, the direction of that conjecture has changed very quickly from suggesting a planned murder to an accidental death. If accepted, that will allow KSA and allies to underplay what happened, so I am highly suspicious. Particularly because there is no independently verified evidence (though the flight timings explained in your post are persuasive).
 
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That all makes sense. I am wary (fwiw) of fully accepting any explanation at this early stage as we are still without evidence [that is, we are relying heavily on intelligent conjecture]. Also, the direction of that conjecture has changed very quickly from suggesting a planned murder to an accidental death. If accepted, that will allow KSA and allies to underplay what happened, so I am highly suspicious. Particularly because there is no independently verified evidence.
See our discussion on last Thursday about this: https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/t...saudi-consulate-in-turkey.286905/post-8848223

You were asking why the Turks would invite the Saudis to participate in the investigation and I replied:
By taking part in the investigation the Saudis gain the opportunity to help shape the final report. This may, provided they cooperate sufficiently with the Turks, allow them to be "shocked and dismayed at this unauthorized action by a few misguided subordinates who exceed their authority".
The Turks had earlier said they have evidence that Khashoggi was tortured and interrogated prior to his death. If the plan was for a simple abduction, they wouldn't have needed to risk doing the torture and interrogation in Istanbul, as they could have done that at their leisure in a prison in Saudi Arabia.

They also could have simply removed his cooling corpse in one piece in the same way they intended to remove his sedated self. They wouldn't have needed to cut him up just because he was dead. By cutting him up, they would have added to their problems of cleaning up after. This wouldn't really make sense if they already had a means of taking him out of the country that didn't involve cutting him into luggage sized pieces.

However, it is possible that the Saudis are being offered the opportunity to walk away from it scot free whilst shrugging and saying "it was an accident". In return the Turks get to extract some unpublicized concessions and the Whitehouse don't have to cancel the planned arms sale which Trump has his heart set on.

The PR trolls will then start working on the spin about how Khashoggi had some vauge "terrorist connections" (although apparently not enough to prevent him from residing in the US while working for a major newspaper) and so deserved to die anyway. Things then just go back to normal with the exception of there being one less journalist in the world and one more woman who became a widow before she even had a chance to get married.

We'll see how it turns out though, there may be more surprises yet to come.
 
See our discussion on last Thursday about this: https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/t...saudi-consulate-in-turkey.286905/post-8848223

You were asking why the Turks would invite the Saudis to participate in the investigation and I replied:


The Turks had earlier said they have evidence that Khashoggi was tortured and interrogated prior to his death. If the plan was for a simple abduction, they wouldn't have needed to risk doing the torture and interrogation in Istanbul, as they could have done that at their leisure in a prison in Saudi Arabia.

They also could have simply removed his cooling corpse in one piece in the same way they intended to remove his sedated self. They wouldn't have needed to cut him up just because he was dead. By cutting him up, they would have added to their problems of cleaning up after. This wouldn't really make sense if they already had a means of taking him out of the country that didn't involve cutting him into luggage sized pieces.

However, it is possible that the Saudis are being offered the opportunity to walk away from it scot free whilst shrugging and saying "it was an accident". In return the Turks get to extract some unpublicized concessions and the Whitehouse don't have to cancel the planned arms sale which Trump has his heart set on.

The PR trolls will then start working on the spin about how Khashoggi had some vauge "terrorist connections" (although apparently not enough to prevent him from residing in the US while working for a major newspaper) and so deserved to die anyway. Things then just go back to normal with the exception of there being one less journalist in the world and one more woman who became a widow before she even had a chance to get married.

We'll see how it turns out though, there may be more surprises yet to come.
It seems that may be what will happen.
It is depressing that Trump and others making some noises about being concerned masks any serious consequences for KSA. In the scenario you paint, there are no losers aside from Kashoggi and his wife to be.
Edit: there is also a presentation issue: the Saudis have spent over week saying Kashoggi left the embassy and was alive and well. It won't be credible to blame that line on a minor official, or to suggest the consulate hadn't told HQ about the apparent death.
 
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The Saudi government had hacked into Abdulaziz's phone, and were able to monitor his calls, copy his address book, copy his photos, take screenshots, and remotely activate his camera and microphone. This would let the Saudi government gather intelligence on other Saudi dissidents.
Evidently with Israeli spyware!
He thinks that this is why the Saudi government convinced Khashoggi that he needed to travel to the consulate in Istanbul to get the paperwork which would let him marry his Turkish fiancée.
I can't help thinking that some of his 'friends' are embellishing the story for their own ends. There's no credible reason Khashoggi could have been given as to why he'd have to go to Turkey to collect his proof of divorce papers rather than any other Consulate / Embassy in the US or anywhere else, just as there's no credible reason why he'd have gone in to the Consulate in Turkey on his own, twice, leaving his fiancee to wait outside - it's just not credible that anyone in his position was that unaware and that stupid.
Abdulaziz said that the last time he talked with Khashoggi was on the 28th of September, before Khashoggi left the US.
Again, I don't think that some of what his 'friends' are saying, even first hand details, can be relied on at all. Even allowing for time differences, flight times make it physically impossible for Khashoggi to have been in the US on the phone talking to Abdulaziz on 28 September and in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul applying for his his divorce papers on the morning also of 28 September.
 
They also could have simply removed his cooling corpse in one piece in the same way they intended to remove his sedated self.
No, far from it. The 'traditional' way / method of choice to take someone on 'rendition' on an international flight, even by private plane, is semi-conscious sedated in a wheelchair.

That's rather more difficult to do with a "cooling corpse", hence the need for very different arrangements.
 
However, it is possible that the Saudis are being offered the opportunity to walk away from it scot free whilst shrugging and saying "it was an accident". In return the Turks get to extract some unpublicized concessions and the White House don't have to cancel the planned arms sale which Trump has his heart set on.
and the rest of us don't have to face a sudden increase in oil prices, so everyone's negotiable morals are in place.
 
And ‘hand in the cookie jar’ takes on a slightly more macabre twist.

Funny, not, how ‘accidentally’ killed during questioning can suddenly make it seem more acceptable to some...and spyware can work both ways.
 
(...) There's no credible reason Khashoggi could have been given as to why he'd have to go to Turkey to collect his proof of divorce papers rather than any other Consulate / Embassy in the US or anywhere else,
He was getting married in Istanbul, not "anywhere else". The Saudis had told him that if he wanted the papers that were required to be married in Turkey he would need to get them from the Istanbul consulate. The date and time to pick up the papers was set by the Saudis. The wedding was scheduled for the following day.

just as there's no credible reason why he'd have gone in to the Consulate in Turkey on his own, twice, leaving his fiancee to wait outside - it's just not credible that anyone in his position was that unaware and that stupid. (...)
He wanted to get married and he needed the papers. And he was aware there was some risk, as he had given his fiancee two cell phones and told her to phone a high ranking Turkish official whom he knew if he didn't emerge.
 
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And ‘hand in the cookie jar’ takes on a slightly more macabre twist.

Funny, not, how ‘accidentally’ killed during questioning can suddenly make it seem more acceptable to some...and spyware can work both ways.
Quite possibly the cell phones belonging to the Saudi hit squad received an unexpected software "upgrade" when their phones were examined at Turkish customs and immigration and this is why the Turks know so much about what they were doing and when.
 
Edit: there is also a presentation issue: the Saudis have spent over week saying Kashoggi left the embassy and was alive and well. It won't be credible to blame that line on a minor official, or to suggest the consulate hadn't told HQ about the apparent death.
I think you've put your finger on the dilemma the Saudis are now in, although their way out is obvious.
Also, the direction of that conjecture has changed very quickly from suggesting a planned murder to an accidental death. If accepted, that will allow KSA and allies to underplay what happened, so I am highly suspicious.
I'd suggest there's not really that much difference, at least to the outrage bus, between abducting him from the Consulate then taking him back to KSA to be interrogated, tortured and executed, and killing him by accident along the way.

Regardless of what actually happened (almost certainly a rendition / abduction gone wrong) and who was responsible (a toss up between MbS and the opposition, the latter with or without Khashoggi's limited willing participation) the outcome seems increasingly obvious:

  1. The entire episode will be blamed on "rogue elements" who were either exceeding their authority or trying create an incident and the removal of MbS.
  2. MbS will retain the full support and confidence of the Trump administration.
  3. MbS will have all the excuse he needs to have a purge of the opposition, in which case there'll doubtless be some collateral damage to unwitting participants.
  4. Everyone except the Yemenis, Qatar, and anyone wanting progress in peace and human rights in the Middle East will be happy.
 
The Turkish national intelligence organisation, MÎT, are very capable and encompass the whole COMINT world, as well as traditional intelligence collection duties. There’s been no reference to them, as far as I can see, in Turkish media, whereas normally they are not afraid to shun the limelight. But if the consulate had been wired, that would have been carried out by MÎT and not TNP.
 
What has not been mentioned is the Saudi public.

When MBS went after the top Saudis it was a popular move, the very rich are generally envied and their methods of enriching themselves in many cases has not entirely legitimate, rife with cronyism, kickbacks and just plain corruption.

Khashoggi on the other hand is generally acknowledged as more of an ‘everyman’. Moderate rather than extremist, for human rights, a voice for the underdog.

This will be seen in the Kingdom in a poor light. It will probably not be voiced, it will however be deeply felt by a significant section of the population both Sunni and minority Shia. This cut across religious differences and will be a commen concern.

Reform of the kind MBS probably wanted was generally welcomed, these methods are very definitely not. The Saudi population is generally compliant but there are limits when any population will start becoming truculent. This may well be a significant point in the public’s acceptance of the various changes that have been occurring quite rapidly.
 
He was getting married in Istanbul, not "anywhere else". The Saudis had told him that if he wanted the papers that were required to be married in Turkey he would need to get them from the Istanbul consulate. The date and time to pick up the papers was set by the Saudis. The wedding was scheduled for the following day.

He wanted to get married and he needed the papers. And he was aware there was some risk, as he had given his fiancee two cell phones and told her to phone a high ranking Turkish official whom he knew if he didn't emerge.
I'm not sure if you're being deliberately obtuse or if you're unaware of a) the options open to him and b) the threat he must have known he was under and allegedly told others he knew about.
He was getting married in Istanbul, not "anywhere else". The Saudis had told him that if he wanted the papers that were required to be married in Turkey he would need to get them from the Istanbul consulate. The date
You're entirely missing the point. 'Yes', if he was to get married in Istanbul he needed the Evlenme Ehliyet Belgesi from the Saudi Consulate in Turkey in order to get married in Turkey - the Turks won't accept one from anywhere else, and it then needs to be translated, notarised and approved by the local governor's office.

But there was no need for him to get married in Istanbul. If he didn't feel safe outside the US they could both have got married in the US, and if they wanted a big religious service in Turkey they could have gone to Turkey for a marriage in a mosque and honeymoon afterwards.

The whole visit (in fact both visits) was unnecessary.
He wanted to get married and he needed the papers.
'Yes', again, he wanted to get married but he didn't "need the papers" from there as they could have got married elsewhere, for example in the US.

And he was aware there was some risk, as he had given his fiancee two cell phones and told her to phone a high ranking Turkish official whom he knew if he didn't emerge
Maybe we have a different take on self-preservation and risk avoidance, but if I want to minimise risk and I knew that I was a likely target (and it's impossible that he didn't know) I'd do one hell of a lot more to make sure I at least had some witnesses around at the time of greatest danger than telling a friend to phone someone if I disappeared and then going into the lion's den!

Maybe we also have a different take on courtesy and common sense. If I go to the Embassy / Consulate with a friend / partner / fiancee I don't leave them standing on the pavement outside on their own in the sun but ask them to come in with me to sit down in the a/c in comfort.
 
You will have to spell it out please. I am probably missing something.
Sorry, my fault.

The "dilemma" for the KSA in general and the Consular staff in particular, as you pointed out, is that they first said Khashoggi left the Consulate by the back door and they're now going to say / having to admit that he was sliced 'n' diced on the premises.

The "way out" for the KSA, MbS, the US, Turkey, et al, is that the Consular staff are included in the "rogue elements" to be blamed / purged, after which life can continue as before (well, at least for all who aren't blamed / purged).

If I was the Consul or a member of the Consular staff I wouldn't be waiting for that to happen.
 
Not even remotely excusing what has happened, but he must have known he wasn’t the flavour of the month and it would have been prudent to avoid Saudi soil, even their embassies. If he died to get proof of divorce papers with even the risk of just imprisonment, the man payed the ultimate price for love and that deserves respect, no other word for it.
I dont know about that, he paid the ultimate price for walking into the lions den despite knowing that it would probably not go well. If it was love he was doing it for then he should have steered well clear of Saudi territory and lived out the rest of his days with his bird.
 
I expect what will happen now now that all sides get their heads together to come up with an explanation of events that is more acceptable to all parties in order that normal jogging can be resumed at the earliest opportunity.

Some would call this realpolitik.

I'd call it something else entirely.
 

skid2

LE
Book Reviewer
Always surprised me that there was no suspension in Irish British ties after the UK embassy was burnt out back in the early 70's. Seems like there was a definite decision to just build a new one without making too much of a fuss!
Probably some people realised this was a one off. The likelihood of the events which led to it happening again was going to be slim to non existent.
Now had the Irish burned it’s replacement down that would have been a different story.
 

skid2

LE
Book Reviewer
I’m still seriously impressed that 15 or so rogue elements can break into an embassy. Murder someone and get in and out, (with the dismembered body?) and no one notices.

Was it Mossad they were hoping to blame?
 

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