Saudi Journalist Disappears in Saudi Consulate in Turkey

I'm not sure if you're not judging things by Western standards a bit too much.

I live in a country which is currently under a military dictatorship as it has been at various times before - indeed for the majority of the time since 'democracy' was introduced. Various basic human rights which are a 'given' in the West, such as the right for half a dozen people to get together to discuss politics or the right to share or just 'like' articles by the BBC on facebook or express an opinion about certain people are banned, with those doing so facing immediate removal by the military for 're-education' or decades in jail if tried and found guilty. Under the country's most popular elected prime minister (the only one to ever serve a full term in office and be re-elected) thousands of people, including some who were almost certainly innocent, were shot in extra-judicial killings by the police and army in an attempt to control the growing drug problem.

Much of that has been "seen in the Kingdom in a poor light." Dissent has been "voiced", and it has been "deeply felt by a significant section of the population" and is a cause of "common concern" across social barriers.

"Reform of the kind" the current leader here has voiced is "generally welcomed", as were the drug controls, but "these methods are very definitely not". The Thai "population is generally compliant but there are limits when any population will start becoming truculent" but even when prolonged rioting and armed confrontation was going on in Bangkok, the majority of the population took no part and had less active interest.

I'm sorry if that seems a bit facetious, and I'm not trying to draw any parallels between the Thais and the Saudis, or the Middle East and the Far East, far from it, but the attitudes of both are entirely different to the West.

This sort of thing (the Khashoggi abduction / killing) has been going on for decades in the KSA and across the Middle East, including (and often particularly) to people just like Khashoggi, and it's nothing new. The only difference is that it was overseas and he was living in the US, so I honestly think the reaction at home (in the KSA) is likely to be a mixture of 'so what ... big deal' to the more defensive 'well the West didn't give a stuff before, so why should we give a stuff now?'
Respectfully disagree.

Over 22 years in KSA, married to a Syrian, in-law to the Bin Ladin family, working for a top family, access to both high and low for years, including a former Crown Prince and Deputy head of the National Guard.
 
Respectfully disagree.

Over 22 years in KSA, married to a Syrian, in-law to the Bin Ladin family, working for a top family, access to both high and low for years.
Well, let's wait and see. I'm happy to bow to your infinitely greater experience, but with the quiet and largely uncommented on and unprotested departure of the Consul from the scene I'd still happily put a large amount of money on my prediction:

  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.
I'd add that I think it's perfectly possible MbS will be ousted, just as he came to power, but I just don't see that happening as a result of the population becoming "truculent".

I'd suggest the outcome will have to be clear quite soon, so we won't have too long to wait.


(On a very separate note, as it roused my curiousity, I thought the Bin Laden's were ethnic Yemeni with the only Syrian connection being his mother and he was the only child from that marriage / relationship?)
 
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Can someone explain to me why, if this was an interrogation that somehow 'went wrong', the team involved felt the need to take a bone saw with them?

We're talking 'rendering', here, not 'rendition'. Very different things.
 
Can someone explain to me why, if this was an interrogation that somehow 'went wrong', the team involved felt the need to take a bone saw with them?

We're talking 'rendering', here, not 'rendition'. Very different things.
Because of the new limits on the size of carry-on luggage on the way back.
 
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Can someone explain to me why, if this was an interrogation that somehow 'went wrong', the team involved felt the need to take a bone saw with them?

We're talking 'rendering', here, not 'rendition'. Very different things.
They didn't.

It's unclear in the press and here, deliberately or by accident, but the two planes carrying the fifteen man 'hit team' didn't arrive together and they could have all easily fitted in the one plane.

The first was a group of nine, who arrived before Khashoggi's 1 pm appointment (he was actually late, arriving at 1:14), who are alleged to have carried out the assault and attempted abduction, administering an overdose.

The second group didn't leave Riyadh until after Khashoggi was already in the Consulate and allegedly / apparently dead; that was the group with the bonesaw and forensic expert.

Quite what difference interrogating and despatching him before, during or after abduction makes I don't know, but apparently it matters to some.
 
Trump compared the Khashoggi incident in Istanbul to the Kavanaugh circus in the US.
Trump criticizes rush to condemn Saudi Arabia over missing journalist | CBC News
In an interview with The Associated Press, Trump compared the situation to the allegations of sexual assault levelled against U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing.
"I think we have to find out what happened first," he said. "Here we go again with, you know, you're guilty until proven innocent. I don't like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I'm concerned."
I interpret this as meaning that it is now political and finding out what happens matters less than not being seen to be wrong.

The ruling party in Turkey have said they will not accept a "whitewash" of the investigation.
Turkey's ruling party, meanwhile, said a "whitewash" of the investigation into the disappearance is out of the question.

Justice and Development Party spokesman Omer Celik said Tuesday that Turkey was determined to shed light on what happened to Khashoggi, who went missing after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago.

Celik told reporters: "Our priority is to find out what happened, how it happened and who did it."
If this is sincere, then it sounds like anything which looks like letting the Saudis off the hook will not go over well with the wider political scene in Turkey.

More businesses have pulled out of the planned Saudi business conference, including the heads of HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, and Credit Suisse.
HSBC CEO John Flint backed out on Tuesday, as did the CEOs of Standard Chartered and Credit Suisse.
Influential US Senator Lindsey Graham said he believed that Mohammed bin Salman was responsible for the murder of Khashoggi, and that he "has got to go." Graham plans to "sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia."
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said he believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had Khashoggi "murdered" in the Saudi consulate in Turkey and has "tainted" his country as a result. The influential Republican and ally of the president said the the crown prince "has got to go." Graham said he will not return to Saudi Arabia while the prince is in power.
Graham said on Fox & Friends that he has been the "biggest defender" of the kingdom, but that he now plans to "sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia."
This could be a very significant political development, particularly if Graham (a prominent Republican) gets more political support for this in the coming months.
 
Thanks for the info @terminal .

The Graham comment is interesting but it will not go down well in KSA. It may even strengthen MBS in the short term.
The BBC reported this morning that Turkish investigators visiting the consulate had found freshly painted areas, and other signs of possible wrongdoing.
It is odd to write the following but thank God the Turks are not, atm, signing up to the developing whitewash.

From the BBC article:

'Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters the investigation "was looking into many things such as toxic materials and those materials being removed by painting them over".

Trump warns against judgment over Khashoggi
 
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Thanks for the info @terminal .

The Graham comment is interesting but it will not go down well in KSA. It may even strengthen MBS in the short term. (...) i
The idea of letting Mohamed Bone Saw off the hook doesn't seem to be going over well in the US either though.

I think this is going to get swept up into domestic political issues in the US and become a pro-Trump versus anti-Trump issue, in which case much may depend on how the upcoming elections in the US turn out.

Elsewhere internationally, there will be much less tolerance of atrocities in Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. I know that the UAE are also involved there as well, but internationally it is seen as Saudi Arabia's war. Saudi Arabia are already finding their reputation being tarnished over that issue, but there are probably a lot more things to uncover once the press really sink their teeth into it.
 
This crime will be swept under the rug due to the current political landscape. It will be in the news for a week or so and then forgotten about. TBH, I don't see why it's any of the Wests problem anyway. I for one don't care what happens in Turkey, the president is a dictator and not really a friend of the west. These Arab types have been murdering each other since the beginning of time and regularly kill each other. Their laws are medieval - and they still have things like 'death by firing squad' and worse.
If it wasn't for the oil we import from these countries - we wouldn't take much notice of them. Probably in a few years time when we have fusion reactors creating our energy and cars and machinery is all electric + battery technology is better - these oil producing countries won't really be as important as they are just now.

Future energy: Inside the nuclear fusion reactor that will 'recreate sun on earth'
 
US Secretary of State - Mike Pompeo - arrives shortly in Ankara to discuss with Erdoğan his meetings with the King and MBS in KSA. His meetings are likely to be a bit more cordial now that Pastor Brunson has returned to the US, however an article in the pro-Government Daily Sabah warns that US-Turkish relations are still fraught with issues - such as the continued US support for the Syrian Kurd dominated SDF and the YPG in NE Syria.

As I mentioned some pages back, Erdoğan has not been his bellicose self on this issue, which is unusual given his usual (and strategic) emnity with KSA. Why?
  • There are suggestions of a deal with KSA, who have been making overtures to the PYD (the political arm of the YPG) in recent weeks. Ordinarily this would enrage not only Erdoğan, but most Turks, who regard - with good justification - the PYD to be a continuum of the murderous PKK,
  • Erdoğan has been busily repairing his international relationships. He made a successful visit to the UK in March and a very recent state visit to Germany; the Netherlands have dispatched an ambassador to Ankara after a 2 year hiatus. And, of course, recent moves to normalise relations with the US. Thus he could be using this crises as an opportunity to show his as a statesman of magnanimous standing in the IC (and knowing that KSA now owe him 'big time').
  • The growing narrative of some rogue operatives who had an 'oops' moment in the Consulate suits all parties. Turkey can demonstrate that they diligently investigated this (they have); KSA can appear a little contrite and punish these 'rogue elements' (the CG has been recalled to Riyadh); the UK and US can return to status quo ante after a cooling off period and Erdoğan can claim to have brokered all of this and reaffirm his standing as a regional leader.
The next week or two will see this issue move on from the grisly investigation and into the world of international relations and damage limitation, and should be very interesting.
 
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seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
Trump is clutching at straws, hoping he can get away with believing the implausible pack of lies offered by the KSA. Why? because of the effect on jobs of a stoppage of US arms sales.


Who sups with the devil must use a long spoon.


ETA today's news is that Kashoggi was dismembered, while still alive, on the consul-general's desk.
 
Trump compared the Khashoggi incident in Istanbul to the Kavanaugh circus in the US.
Trump criticizes rush to condemn Saudi Arabia over missing journalist | CBC News

I interpret this as meaning that it is now political and finding out what happens matters less than not being seen to be wrong.

The ruling party in Turkey have said they will not accept a "whitewash" of the investigation.

If this is sincere, then it sounds like anything which looks like letting the Saudis off the hook will not go over well with the wider political scene in Turkey.

More businesses have pulled out of the planned Saudi business conference, including the heads of HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, and Credit Suisse.


Influential US Senator Lindsey Graham said he believed that Mohammed bin Salman was responsible for the murder of Khashoggi, and that he "has got to go." Graham plans to "sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia."

This could be a very significant political development, particularly if Graham (a prominent Republican) gets more political support for this in the coming months.
I'd suggest the only change of any significance is that there's no change of any significance, and that those who do know anything of significance, namely the Consul and possibly others from the Consulate, have been allowed to leave Turkey and return to the KSA with no questions being asked, no requests for them to remain, no attempt to detain them until such a request could be approved, no request to talk to them in them in the KSA (for example when Pompeo was there) and minimal publicity apart from as footnotes to other articles.

All that's left in Turkey are minor Manuel's who can honestly and pointlessly say 'I know nothing' and a lot of circumstantial but inconclusive physical evidence.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
My old Granddad told me a few stories about these Arab types - from during his war days. Needless to say he hated them and didn't trust them one bit. As I get older and wiser to the world - I pretty much can see where he was coming from......this kind of activity carried out in Turkey by the Saudi's only reaffirms what I already suspected. I just hope and pray that one day a rogue asteroid hits the middle east and wipes it out - end of problem!
[SARCASM]Totally reasonable response[/SARCASM]

Harold Shipman - Wikipedia
Fred West - Wikipedia
Trevor Hardy - Wikipedia

etc ad infinitum.

I will never understand the mentality that assumes all people are alike just because of [nationality / place / skin colour / whatever]. Particularly when I'm almost certain, should I be bothered, I could find stuff with you whining about how someone was applying this same mentality to you in a way you dislike.

Your neighbour might be a twat. That makes you a twat too, right? Totally fair.
 
US Secretary of State - Mike Pompeo - arrives shortly in Ankara to discuss with Erdoğan his meetings with the King and MBS in KSA. His meetings are likely to be a bit more cordial now that Pastor Brunson has returned to the US, however an article in the pro-Government Daily Sabah warns that US-Turkish relations are still fraught with issues - such as the continued US support for the Syrian Kurd dominated FSA and the YPG in NE Syria.

As I mentioned some pages back, Erdoğan has not been his bellicose self on this issue, which is unusual given his usual (and strategic) emnity with KSA. Why?
  • There are suggestions of a deal with KSA, who have been making overtures to the PYD (the political arm of the YPG) in recent weeks. Ordinarily this would enrage not only Erdoğan, but most Turks, who regard - with good justification - the PYD to be a continuum of the murderous PKK,
  • Erdoğan has been busily repairing his international relationships. He made a successful visit to the UK in March and a very recent state visit to Germany; the Netherlands have dispatched an ambassador to Ankara after a 2 year hiatus. And, of course, recent moves to normalise relations with the US. Thus he could be using this crises as an opportunity to show his as a statesman of magnanimous standing in the IC (and knowing that KSA now owe him 'big time').
  • The growing narrative of some rogue operatives who had an 'oops' moment in the Consulate suits all parties. Turkey can demonstrate that they diligently investigated this (they have); KSA can appear a little contrite and punish these 'rogue elements' (the CG has been recalled to Riyadh); the UK and US can return to status quo ante after a cooling off period and Erdoğan can claim to have brokered all of this and reaffirm his standing as a regional leader.
The next week or two will see this issue move on from the grisly investigation and into the world of international relations and damage limitation, and should be very interesting.
I think the big question is whether Mohamed bin Salman (or Mohamed Bone Saw) manages to avoid any blame, or whether he is disgraced and forced from power by his peers. He is already unpopular in some quarters, and I suspect that some would see this as an opportunity to displace him.

I don't think it is in the interests of the West to see the Saudi government as a whole overthrown or isolated. Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan are disasters enough without adding Saudi Arabia to the list.

However, we would like to see Saudi Arabia's behaviour changed, and get them to wind their necks in on a lot of issues. Many press stories have blamed bin Salman for the current erratic and reckless behaviour of Saudi Arabia (in many areas, not just this one) and it may not be a bad thing if power there were to pass into a more cautious set of hands.
 
US Secretary of State - Mike Pompeo - arrives shortly in Ankara to discuss with Erdoğan his meetings with the King and MBS in KSA. His meetings are likely to be a bit more cordial now that Pastor Brunson has returned to the US, however an article in the pro-Government Daily Sabah warns that US-Turkish relations are still fraught with issues - such as the continued US support for the Syrian Kurd dominated SDF and the YPG in NE Syria.

As I mentioned some pages back, Erdoğan has not been his bellicose self on this issue, which is unusual given his usual (and strategic) emnity with KSA. Why?
  • There are suggestions of a deal with KSA, who have been making overtures to the PYD (the political arm of the YPG) in recent weeks. Ordinarily this would enrage not only Erdoğan, but most Turks, who regard - with good justification - the PYD to be a continuum of the murderous PKK,
  • Erdoğan has been busily repairing his international relationships. He made a successful visit to the UK in March and a very recent state visit to Germany; the Netherlands have dispatched an ambassador to Ankara after a 2 year hiatus. And, of course, recent moves to normalise relations with the US. Thus he could be using this crises as an opportunity to show his as a statesman of magnanimous standing in the IC (and knowing that KSA now owe him 'big time').
  • The growing narrative of some rogue operatives who had an 'oops' moment in the Consulate suits all parties. Turkey can demonstrate that they diligently investigated this (they have); KSA can appear a little contrite and punish these 'rogue elements' (the CG has been recalled to Riyadh); the UK and US can return to status quo ante after a cooling off period and Erdoğan can claim to have brokered all of this and reaffirm his standing as a regional leader.
The next week or two will see this issue move on from the grisly investigation and into the world of international relations and damage limitation, and should be very interesting.
Could Erdoğan also use this incident to create some leverage re. Qatar? (would the KSA give any ground on that issue?).
 
I think the big question is whether Mohamed bin Salman (or Mohamed Bone Saw) manages to avoid any blame, or whether he is disgraced and forced from power by his peers. He is already unpopular in some quarters, and I suspect that some would see this as an opportunity to displace him.

I don't think it is in the interests of the West to see the Saudi government as a whole overthrown or isolated. Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan are disasters enough without adding Saudi Arabia to the list.

However, we would like to see Saudi Arabia's behaviour changed, and get them to wind their necks in on a lot of issues. Many press stories have blamed bin Salman for the current erratic and reckless behaviour of Saudi Arabia (in many areas, not just this one) and it may not be a bad thing if power there were to pass into a more cautious set of hands.
The other day the UNSG expressed concern about this ‘new normal’ behaviour of ‘offing’ opponents Overseas, and, basically sticking two fingers up to international norms of behaviour. He’s absolutely right; Russia has been at it, DPRK, KSA, Syria, China (apparently) and Turkey (in the past); the significant difference in this unsavoury case was using diplomatic privilege and protection to carry out this gross act.

The West have to be united in their opprobrium and actions to stop this.
 
And the Saudis nominally have access to nuclear weapons..... there may be SPF 50 million trouble ahead in the Middle East
 

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