Saudi Journalist Disappears in Saudi Consulate in Turkey

So they are going for the throw the entire alledged 'kidnapping' team under the bus route for screwing up and killing him.
So they are going for the throw the entire alledged 'kidnapping' team under the bus route for screwing up and killing him.
I feel sorry for whoever writes Sergei's official stance. They will have to change his story completely now.
I'm dubious.

If a govt agency REALLY wants somebody dead...then there are umpteen ways of achieving so without gaining international opprobrium or compromising themselves.

We had Novichok and the Turks have fingers extracted one by one...

These people in the command seat really need to learn you could pay an Eastern European to hit & run someone for about 500 quid. It really would save a lot of hassle.
A conversation in a palace somewhere in Riyadh: "Ah, Mohamed bin Supermatelot, I hear you have been going about insulting my favourite camel. She has the most beautiful eyes with long eyelashes! She is the joy of my heart! Let me show you this little movie I had made of the last person who insulted my camel."

Twenty minutes later Mohamed bin Supermatelot leaves the palace looking somewhat pale but agreeing that he had been very mistaken and the camel in question was indeed the most lovely and charming of all beings in creation.
The EU and UK could impose sanctions and limit arms sales quite easily, with little loss to the UK except profits, particularly if they can continue trade with Iran post Nov 5. For the US, though, it's a different matter as their sanctions on Iran can only work if they keep their relationship with the KSA unchanged.

I'm not sure which is more hypocritical, but despite being disgusted by pretty well everything Trump does I'd be surprised if the UK's holier than thou attitude but lack of action isn't worse.
That's because you're an idiot.

The rest of us live in the real world.
So they are going for the throw the entire alledged 'kidnapping' team under the bus route for screwing up and killing him.
"Alledged team" less one already dead plus Consul plus three more. No surprises there at all, and all loose ends neatly tied up.

Edit: reportedly plus Maj Gen Ahmed Assiri, deputy intelligence chief and Saudi al-Qahtani, royal court adviser, fired.
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It was very interesting (even the EU stuff). His verdict re. the ability of the Turkish Sy chaps, the incident, and MBS, had an air of authority and, fwiw, I am more certain now about the key parts of the the incident than previously (the impact of an Oxbridge accent!).
He may have an accent but Nottingham, St Andrews, Jo’berg and Harvard. Okay, the last is in Cambs in the USA :) As above, I found him pragmatic and on this topic speaking from a posn of authority. I was particularly interested in his views on the Turkish Security Services. I’d caveat it, as with all those who are out of the current loop, as happened with the certainty of a former General on Syria.
I agree with you re. approval though imagine he would have informed someone in HMG of the broad direction of his remarks / article.
Possibly. I also wonder if there’s an SIS Rumour Service where the cynics say ‘he never said this when he was in the chair publically’ and ‘does he have a book coming out?’ Much as we hear when former CDS and CGS make statements.
Fwiw, this thread is my main source re. this incident. The subject knowledge here is v impressive (I take the role of asking layman's questions as I have limited, quite biased, views about KSA :))
:) freedom of thought and speech. Long may it continue, despite the efforts of the trolls
The Guardian , as usual, has a good analysis and update. Despite the doubts, I'm sure Trump will be convinced and equally sure he won't be the only one.

... and at the same time, to be fair, the incompetence of the 15 man team throughout does give it at least some credibility.
This a) has to be the worst botched job in the history of sanctioned killings or roughing someone up b) Saudi really wants to send a loud message across to dissidents c) a combination of all

There is a story from roughly 7 months ago which has some peripheral relevance to the recent events. The story originates with The Intercept, but was covered by Business Insider and CBS who used The Intercept as a source for their stories.
Saudi Crown Prince Boasted That Jared Kushner Was “In His Pocket”
Saudi Arabia's crown prince reportedly bragged about having Jared Kushner 'in his pocket' after being told classified information meant for Trump
Report: Saudi crown prince says Kushner was "in his pocket" - CBS News

I won't go over the whole story, but the relevant parts are the following. First, Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been very widely reported as having great influence in the government due to his connections with his father-in-law. Jared Kushner had extensive access to confidential intelligence reports at the highest levels and reportedly read these reports extensively, including the president's daily briefing reports.

Kushner is in the property business. This is inherited money, belonging to his family (much like with Trump). In 2007 Kushner bought a large building in New York for $1.8 billion, raising the down payment largely by selling off the family's other property holdings. The building was widely regarded as overpriced, and when the financial crisis hit, the value plummeted, wiping out much of their investment. In February 2019, a large mortgage payment comes due.
In 2007, Kushner bought the landmark Manhattan building for $1.8 billion, putting down $500 million in cash raised largely by selling thousands of rental units the family had owned in New Jersey. It was widely regarded as overpriced at the time, and when the financial crisis hit, the value plummeted, wiping out much of the initial investment. The clock is now ticking toward a February 2019 deadline when a major mortgage payment will come due.
Since 2011, the Kushner family have been searching for a new investor to bail them out.
Since 2011, Kushner and his relatives have been searching the globe for a new investor.
In April of 2017, Kushner's father approached the government of Qatar to invest to invest in the building.
As recently as the spring of 2017, Charles Kushner, Jared’s father, asked former Qatari prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani to invest in the building. Then in April 2017, Charles Kushner made a direct pitch to the Qatari government through the country’s minister of finance.
Qatar rejected it as a bad investment.
Qatar rejected the deal as not financially viable.
In May, Trump travelled with Kushner to Riyyadh, where the following famous picture was taken.
In May, Trump traveled to Riyadh with Kushner, where the famous glowing orb photo was taken.

Following that meeting, Saudi Arabia initiated the blockade of Qatar.
In the wake of the meeting, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and a handful of allied countries announced the blockade of rival Qatar, accusing it of fomenting terror. The crisis continues today.
In June, prince Mohammed bin Salman took over as next in line to the throne, ousting Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.
In June, Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman ousted his cousin, then-Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and took his place as next in line to the throne, upending the established line of succession.
In October, Kushner made a trip to Riyadh and held long confidential conversations with bin Salman.
In late October, Jared Kushner made an unannounced trip to Riyadh, catching some intelligence officials off guard. “The two princes are said to have stayed up until nearly 4 a.m. several nights, swapping stories and planning strategy,” the Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported at the time.
Bin Salman told associates that Kushner had given him names of Saudis who were "disloyal" to bin Salman. Kushner's lawyer denied this.
What exactly Kushner and the Saudi royal talked about in Riyadh may be known only to them, but after the meeting, Crown Prince Mohammed told confidants that Kushner had discussed the names of Saudis disloyal to the crown prince, according to three sources who have been in contact with members of the Saudi and Emirati royal families since the crackdown. Kushner, through his attorney’s spokesperson, denies having done so.
A week after Kushner returned to the US, bin Salman started his "anti-corruption" drive. Dozens of high level people were arrested. The names mentioned in the presidential briefing reports (which Kushner read regularly) were among those arrested.
On November 4, a week after Kushner returned to the U.S., the crown prince, known in official Washington by his initials MBS, launched what he called an anti-corruption crackdown. The Saudi government arrested dozens of members of the Saudi royal family and imprisoned them in the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh, which was first reported in English by The Intercept. The Saudi figures named in the President’s Daily Brief were among those rounded up; at least one was reportedly tortured.
Bin Salman reportedly bragged that he had Kushner “in his pocket”.
One of the people MBS told about the discussion with Kushner was UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, according to a source who talks frequently to confidants of the Saudi and Emirati rulers. MBS bragged to the Emirati crown prince and others that Kushner was “in his pocket,” the source told The Intercept.
Those arrested were forced to sign over billions in personal assets to the Saudi government. Maj. Gen. Ali al-Qahtani was reportedly tortured to death, with his neck twisted as if it had been broken, bruises, and burn marks.
In the months that followed, the arrestees were coerced into signing over billions in personal assets to the Saudi government. In December, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported that Maj. Gen. Ali al-Qahtani had been tortured to death in the Ritz. Qahtani’s body showed signs of mistreatment, including a neck that was “twisted unnaturally as though it had been broken,” bruises, and “burn marks that appeared to be from electric shocks,” the New York Times reported earlier this month.
Senior US government officials were worried that foreign governments would try to influence Kushner through his family's business connections.
Senior U.S. government officials have long worried about Kushner’s handling of sensitive foreign policy issues given his lack of diplomatic experience. They have also raised concerns about the possibility that foreign officials might try to influence him through business deals with his family’s real estate empire. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly examining Kushner’s business ties as part of his ongoing probe.
Kushner's foreign policy ventures cause enough concern that Tillerson reportedly said “Who is the secretary of state here?”
The Washington Post reported this week that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster “expressed early concern that Kushner was freelancing U.S. foreign policy.” According to the Post, Tillerson once asked staffers in frustration: “Who is the secretary of state here?”
Kushner was reportedly so close to the head Saudi and UAE princes that he communicated with them directly via WhatsApp, bypassing the professional diplomats.
Indeed, Kushner has grown so close to the Saudi and Emirati crown princes that he has communicated with them directly using WhatsApp, (...) Kushner’s unconventional communications with regional leaders excluded diplomats during the summer of 2017, when Saudi Arabia and the UAE initiated an economic blockade aimed at weakening their Gulf neighbor Qatar.
During the Qatar crisis, Kushner and Trump bypassed Tillerson, leaving him largely in the dark.
Tillerson’s attempts to mediate the crisis were quickly undercut by Trump and Kushner, who supported the blockade. Three State Department officials told The Intercept that Tillerson was largely in the dark about Kushner’s communications with MBS during that period.
I'll cut the story off at this point.

Conclusions? It would indeed be interesting to know to what degree Kushner mixes personal business and the affairs of state and just how much influence bin Salman does have over him. Kushner's influence with Trump derives from his wife Ivanka, whom Trump absolutely dotes on.

As to whether bin Salman really does have Kushner “in his pocket”, what matters is whether bin Salman believes that he does. If he does believe this, it would explain why he also believes he has carte blanche to do whatever he wants. In bin Salman's world, personal connections bring personal power, and when you have enough power nobody can call you to account for it.

The above relied heavily on a story by The Intercept, which although also cited by several other major news media organizations still amounts to a single source relying heavily on anonymous sources. As such, I don't take it as unquestionable. However, I do regard it as an interesting direction for further investigation.
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Here is the CBC version of the "fist fight" story. After denials, Saudis admit journalist Khashoggi died in consulate | CBC News
The location of Khashoggi's body is still unclear. Even at this late date, the results of an independent autopsy may make the "fist fight" story even less plausible.
The official said the whereabouts of Khashoggi's body were unclear after it was handed over to a "local co-operator" but there was no sign of it at the consulate.
Influential US senator Lindsey Graham says he is skeptical about the new version of the story.
"To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement," said Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally who has been sharply critical of Saudi Arabia over the incident.
Bin Salman is denying knowing anything about anything.
The crown prince had no knowledge of the specific operation that resulted in Khashoggi's death, a Saudi official familiar with the investigation told Reuters.

"There were no orders for them to kill him or even specifically kidnap him," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity and adding that there was a standing order to bring critics of the kingdom back to the country.

"MbS had no knowledge of this specific operation and certainly did not order a kidnapping or murder of anybody. He will have been aware of the general instruction to tell people to come back," the official said.
This a) has to be the worst botched job in the history of sanctioned killings or roughing someone up b) Saudi really wants to send a loud message across to dissidents c) a combination of all

It is mainly cock up (and an ongoing one if the 'fist fight' story is the best excuse KSA can muster). It will now be very interesting when the audio or transcript thereof is released, and compared to the current KSA line.
Well, Trump has more or less said that 'getting' Iran - in which it needs KSA as an ally - is more important than the KSA killing its citizens in other countries. It is clearer (to me at least) that we are heading towards another attempt at regime change in the ME and that distractions such as Kashoggi's murder are not going to be allowed to derail that. The anti - Iran direction of Trump's ME policy is not new, just how open he's been about that being important in this case.

Kashoggi's murder is a case where 'whataboutism' is important. The US (and poss the UK but developments awaited) turning a blind eye towards the KSA shows those in the region that there is no great Western standard about human rights and democracy. There are just dictators of whom the West approves, and those of whom it disapproves.

If the ME is headed towards more conflict, whether a Syria-style internal uprising in Iran, stirred up and supported by the US and KSA, or direct military intervention against Iran, people (well, Trump) need to step back and think.

Trump's verdict ('Hey, Kashoggi's dead, sad face. But the KSA, what a great bunch of lads') is, well, I am somewhat lost for words (despite the long post...).

And, lastly, the insult to common sense that is the current Saudi story of Kashoggi's death. And the upcoming 2018 KSA version of a Stalinist show trial. Hopefully the Turks will at some point release the audio of the killing and show the story to be just that.
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