The Global Implications.
A Saudi government-planned international conference in the Saudi desert was by Oct. 18 boycotted by top world government leaders and CEOs of the largest companies in the world. Suddenly, Saudi Arabia by Oct. 18 had become internationally isolated, with the world media giving top coverage for all reports about Khashoggi's murder. Condemnation of Saudi Arabia was implicit in the public comments of world leaders by Oct. 18. World commentators highlighted the brutality of Saudi Arabia and toxicity of MiS. As a toxic man, MiS kept silent and the Saudi government and all the media in the kingdom were mute and openly embarrassed.
Khashoggi, now would be aged 59, had in 2017 moved to the US capital in self-imposed exile, fearing that MiS wanted his head. He wrote columns for The Washington Post daily's opinions section. He counted many US intellectuals and journalists among his friends. But being frightened, he only spoke to people close to him. He stopped writing his opinion pieces to the Washington Post, although the newspaper eventually published reports about Khashoggi being stuck in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
In the US, as well as the Washington Post, leading Republican and Democratic law-makers on Oct 13-16 issued notes of alarm over the reports of Khashoggi's death. They threatened repercussions against Saudi Arabia, say8ing they will act more effectively if the reports about the Istanbul Consulate's story were proven to be true.
Saudi authorities later vehemently denied the claims about the consulate drama as "baseless allegations" and said a team of Saudi investigators had arrived in Istanbul to assist the Turkish inquiry into Khashoggi's dis-appearance. Saudi officials in Istanbul took a team of journalists inside the Saudi consulate in a bid to prove their innocence. Meanwhile, reports in the Saudi media attempted to dis-credit the accounts of Khashoggi's Turkish fianc?e, who was the first to report that he was missing on Oct. 3.
No Turkish official had yet publicly confirmed that Khashoggi was dead. In remarks made on Sunday Oct. 14, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an said only that the mystery was "very, very upsetting" and he was "chasing" the matter. But at the same time, Qatar's al-Jazeera and other media gave top play to all reports of what was going on in the Saudi consulate (Since 2016, Qatar and its ally Turkey have been critical of Saudi Arabia and willingly giving prominent to report about the real personality and mental condition of MiS.
But many Turkish officials seemed confident in the assessment that the Saudis had carried out the murder. In a Sunday Oct. 14 interview with CNN T?rk, an adviser to President Erdo?an's Justice and Development Party (AKP), Yasin Aktay stated: "There is concrete information; it will not remain an unsolved case".
The Trump administration had not responded to the allegations. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as State Department spokes-woman Heather Nauert, spent the weekend on a mission to the Korean Peninsula. President Trump issued no tweets on Khashoggi. That was not surprising. While Trump and his lieutenants routinely pointed to the "malign" actions of Iran in the Middle East, they have both enabled and ignored abuses carried out by the Saudis - particularly by MiS and his aides.
Since becoming the heir to the throne in 2017, MiS has touted his reform plans, promising to liberalise his country and earning plaudits from a host of American commentators. But in reality, MiS was a liar. MiS's de facto reign has seen him terrorise rivals and arrest numerous feminists and civil-society activists, including some who now face the death penalty. Analysts argue it is part of MiS's need to further consolidate his power. Yet, MiS has muzzled not only the Saudi media but the entire media sector in the Arab world. In reality, he was threatening to kill any Saudi journalist who wrote stories against him.
The team of Turkish officials finally left the Istanbul Consulate on Oct. 18. Also on Oct. 18, Secretary Pompeo visiting Saudi Arabia, met with King Salman at the latter's palace in Riyadh. But Trump by Oct. 18 had been giving statements strongly critical of the Saudi regime.
Just before news of Pompeo's visit to King Salman's palace in Riyadh on Oct. 18 was reported, the BBC said a Turkish team of investigators had just visited the residence of the Saudi ambassador to Turkey. And later the Turks were allowed to search both the Saudi embassy in Ankara and the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Lindsey Hilsum, the international editor of Britain's Channel 4 News, wrote of MiS: "He wanted everyone to understand that women were being allowed to drive not only because they had campaigned for it, but also as their ruler had issued a decree to that effect. The point was clear: It was then reported: "Civil dis-obedience will not bring results; changes will come only from submission to a monarch who will decide what was to be best" for all the Saudis.
Later on Oct. 18, a senior US official was reported as chastising Saudi Arabia for having got half the world abuzz over a botched disappearance of Khashoggi. Trump was not bothered by the monarchical excesses in Riyadh. (On a visit there in 2017, however, Trump had celebrated the Saudis as stalwart friends who would partner with the White House in its effort to confront Iran. But Trump, a transactional businessman-turned president of the US is a lover of Saudi money. He has also repeatedly hailed the Saudis' willingness to lavish tens of billions of dollars on American military hard-ware).
In Congress, however, there was growing dis-quiet over the apparent free hand the White House had given the Saudis, particularly as the US continued to back the bloody Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, which still did not prevent the world's public opinion to see the Americans complain about mounting civilian casualties both in the Greater Middle East (GME) and around the world when-ever US nationals were among casualties in a series of incidents during the period from Oct. 2 to later in that 2018 month.
Columnist Karen DeYoung wrote: "Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle [in the US], long suspicious of Saudi religious extremism and historic ties to terrorism, more recently have been highly critical of Saudi actions in Yemen and at home.
Only last month, they were dissuaded by the [Trump] administration from stopping US military sales and assistance to the kingdom the world's largest purchaser of American defence hard-ware and a key partner in White House plans to bring Iran to heel and to forge an Israeli-Arab alliance" through MiS.
It was also reported that, if the murder of Khashoggi was to be officially confirmed, US political scrutiny would only deepen. And while the American public may not be bothered by the dis-appearance of an out-spoken Saudi journalist, Khashoggi's case is likely to shadow all discussions of US-Saudi relations in Washington for month or even years to come.
American commentators who conducted lengthy interviews with MiS as part of Riyadh's PR push earlier this year have already sounded off, demanding action. In addition, it was reported, the "brazenness of Khashoggi's assassination" was to send a chilling message to other Arab dissidents in the GME.
Although Turkey, a key GME power bordering both the Arab Word and Europe, as well as being on the Black Sea, has its own "atrocious record of detaining journalists", Istanbul has become a sanctuary for exiled opponents of regimes across the vast region. The disappearance of Khashoggi who, in his columns for The Washington Post, was a thoughtful, constructive critic of the Saudi leadership suggests that other critics may not be as comfortable as they think.
That seems to be the goal of MiS and his father, King Salman. "Their foreign policy is based on a single doctrine: establishing the supremacy of Saudi Arabia in order to make it the sole arbiter of Arab affairs and the main point of entry for all international powers into the Arab region". Madawi al-Rashid, a UK-based academic and critic of the Saudi government, in a new collection of essays on the kingdom, also wrote of Riyadh's tendency of always seeking to safeguard this Saudi supremacy.
Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch tweeted: "Every single Saudi I know is terrified reading this [story out of Istanbul and the consulate], openly or secretly. It really means the Saudi government can kill any of them, anywhere. No escape. And that is exactly what MBS (MiS) wants them to think".
Turkish officials speaking to The Washington Post and Reuters on Oct. 13, said that Khashoggi was killed "in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul this week". She was referring to the Oct. 2 murder. But Qatar was leading a campaign against Saudi Arabia and MiS.
The Turkish officials have so far provided no evidence or detail on how they arrived at this conclusion. But an un-named Saudi consulate official in Turkey dismissed the reports in an interview with the Saudi state news agency SPA. The Saudi Press Agency reported: "The [Saudi] official strongly denounced these baseless allegations and expressed his doubt that they came from Turkish officials that are informed of the investigation or are authorized to comment on the issue".
A spokesman with the US State Department told CNN the agency was monitoring the situation in Istanbul but could not confirm the reports of Khashoggi's death at that time.
Khashoggi had been missing since he entered the consulate in Turkey's largest city on Oct. 2, when he was killed. Saudi Arabia has strenuously denied any involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi, calling the claims "false").
A Saudi official openly lied by saying Khashoggi left the consulate shortly after he visited. The Saudis did not, however, release any surveillance footage or other proof that Khashoggi had left.
The Turkish government launched an investigation into the disappearance, according to Turkey's state-run news agency Anadolu. Omer ?elik, spokesman for Turkey's ruling AK Party (AKP), on Oct. 13 said at a party meeting in Ankara Turkey's news agency Andolu, adding: "His where-abouts and who is responsible will be uncovered".
Khashoggi's disappearance came amid a wave of arrests of Saudi critics of the kingdom's leadership, steered by MiS. The crack-downs have targeted clerics, journalists, academics and activists, some of whom were detained outside Saudi Arabia.
Turkish officials said they believed Khashoggi remained inside the Saudi consulate. On Oct. 4, MiS told Bloomberg he was willing to allow Turkey to search the consulate. He said: "The premises are sovereign territory, but we will allow them to enter and search and do what-ever they want to do. We have nothing to hide". On Oct 6, journalists were allowed to look around in the Istanbul consulate.
But the media did not stop attacking Saudi Arabia over its secrecy imposed on the entire Istanbul story. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on Saudi officials to say what happened to Khashoggi. CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said: "The Saudi authorities must immediately give a full and credible accounting of what happened to Khashoggi inside its diplomatic mission. The country has stepped up its repression of critical journalists in the past year at home. We hope this has not now spread abroad". But MiS ordered a tight lid over the whole of Saudi Arabia.
Turkish police have examined surveillance footage from the area surrounding the Saudi consulate. And said there was no sign of Khashoggi leaving the consulate.
MiS policies were targeted in some of Khashoggi's work. This later caused MiS to order a blanket search for Khashoggi, hoping to arrest him and probably kill him as the Saudi journalist himself feared.
Khashoggi, known in part for his interview with terror master-mind Usama bin Laden, was a Saudi royal court insider before he left Saudi Arabia in 2017 for Washington. He was a Saudi attach? at the Saudi embassies in London and Washington several years ago.
Once having moved to the US capital, Khashoggi began to contribute opinion pieces to The Washington Post which, effectively, were critical of MiS policies. He was also critical of MiS's consolidation of power in 2017. Khashoggi was hired as a contributing writer at the Washington Post in late 2016 for his work at the Post to begin from the start of 2017.
On Oct. 5, 2018, the Washington Post printed a blank space where Khashoggi's column would be, to stress his importance as a columnist to the prestigious US newspaper. Khashoggi said the Saudi government had ordered him to stop using Twitter after he wrote a tweet cautioning against the Saudi leadership's enthusiasm about Donald Trump, then the US president-elect.
In a September 2017 Washington Post opinion piece, Khashoggi wrote: "So I spent six months silent, reflecting on the state of my country and the stark choices before me. It was painful for me several years ago when several friends were arrested. I said nothing. I didn't want to lose my job or my freedom. I worried about my family". His September 2017 column was titled "Saudi Arabia wasn't always this repressive". But he added: "Now it's unbearable".
Khashoggi at that time wrote from Washington: "I have made a different choice now. I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice. To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison".
His Turkish fiancee and two other Saudi sources familiar with the event said Khashoggi had been missing since he entered the consulate in Istanbul -- Turkey's largest city and business capital -- on Oct 2.
Saudi Arabia has strenuously denied any involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance, calling the claims "false". An un-named Saudi official claimed that Khashoggi exited the consulate shortly after he visited. But that later proved to be false. The Saudis did not release any surveillance footage or other proof that Khashoggi had left.
On Oct. 16, APS sources in Riyadh, Ankara and Istanbul said that, by then, the Saudi government had decided but had been un-able to stop letting reports relating to Khashoggi's murder and its international implications drag on. Confirming this, CNN's television network on Oct. 16 showed a recorded tape on that day showing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo being received by Saudi King Salman at the royal palace in the Saudi capital.
It had become clear by Oct. 16 that the Khashoggi story had become far too important for a Wahhabi kingdom like Saudi Arabia to kill all related media reports. The case had become far too important for Saudi Arabia to bend its rule and let the world forget about the Khashoggi story.
In the meantime, the Turkish government had launched an investigation into the disappearance of Khashoggi. That was according to Turkey's state-owned and run news agency Anadolu. Omer Celik (born on June 15, 1968 in Adana) is a Turkish journalist and politician. Between Jan. 24, 2013 and August 28, 2015, Celik had served as Minister of Culture and Tourism. He subsequently served as the minister of European Union Affairs and as the chief negotiator for Turkish accession to the European Union since May 24 May 2016.
Celik, spokesman for Turkey's ruling AKP, on Oct. 6 said at a party meeting in Ankara: "His where-abouts and who is responsible will be un-covered". That was reported by the Anadolu agency.
Khashoggi's disappearance came amid a wave of arrests of Saudi critics of the kingdom's leadership, steered by young Crown Prince Muhammad ibn Salman (MiS). The crack-downs have targeted Wahhabi and other Muslim clerics, journalists, academics and activists, some of whom were detained outside Saudi Arabia.
Turkish officials have said they believed that Khashoggi had remained inside the Saudi Consulate. On Oct. 3, MiS had told Bloomberg that he was willing to allow Turkey to search the consulate. He stated: "The premises are sovereign territory, but we will allow them to enter and search and do whatever they want to do". MiS was then speaking to Bloomberg in an interview in Riyadh. He said: "We have nothing to hide". He noted that, on Oct. 6, journalists had been allowed to look around in the consulate.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on Saudi officials to say what happened to Khashoggi. Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said: "The Saudi authorities must immediately give a full and credible accounting of what happened to Khashoggi inside its diplomatic mission. The country has stepped up its repression of critical journalists in the past year at home. We hope this has not now spread abroad".
Turkish police have reportedly examined surveillance footage from the area and said there was no sign of Khashoggi leaving the consulate. Turan Kislakci, the head of the Turkish Arab Media Association and a friend of Khashoggi's, told CNN that the Saudi crown prince MiS's policies were targeted in some of Khashoggi's work.
Khashoggi, known in part for his interview with Saudi-born terror master-mind Usama bin Laden, was a Saudi royal court insider before he left Saudi Arabia in 2017 for Washington. He began to contribute opinion pieces to The Washington Post which were mildly critical of MiS's policies, including his consolidation of power. Khashoggi was named a contributing writer at The Washington Post in early January 2018.
(On Oct. 5, The Washington Post printed a blank space where Khashoggi's column would be. "We need answers now. #JamalKhashoggiDisappeared @UNESCO @pressfreedom Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) Oct. 5, 2018. Pic.twitter.com/S5M86uzTDx).
Khashoggi said the Saudi government had ordered him to stop using Twitter after he wrote a tweet cautioning against the Saudi leadership's enthusiasm about Donald Trump, then the US president-elect. In a September 2017 Washington Post opinion piece titled "Saudi Arabia wasn't always this repressive. Now it's unbearable".
But he wrote: "So I spent six months silent, reflecting on the state of my country and the stark choices before me. It was painful for me several years ago when several friends were arrested. I said nothing. I didn't want to lose my job or my freedom. I worried about my family". Later on in his piece, Khashoggi added: "I have made a different choice nowI am raising my voice. To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison".
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|Publication:||APS Diplomat Operations in Energy Diplomacy|
|Date:||Oct 18, 2018|
|Previous Article:||Khashoggi's Murder & Global Implications.|