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Jamal Khashoggi

Jamal Khashoggi disappeared over two weeks ago, at around 1pm on October second, inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey (Wikipedia).  Although Saudi Arabia denies any involvement in the matter (Daily Beast), the available evidence suggests that he was tortured and killed ( by a team of 15 Saudis dispatched by Saudi prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS).  The assassination team (AP), many with very close ties to MbS (Daily Sabah) allegedly included:

  • Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb
  • Salah Muhammed al-Tubaigy
  • Abdulaziz Mohammed Al-Hasawi
  • Thaer Ghaleb Al-Harbi
  • Mohammed Saad Al-Zahrani
  • Meshal Saad Al-Bostani
  • Naif Hassan Al-Arefe
  • Mustafa Mohammed Al-Madani
  • Mansur Uthman Abahussein
  • Waleed Abdullah Al-Shehri
  • Turki Musharraf Al-Shehri
  • Fahad Shabib Al-Balawi
  • Saif Saad Al-Qahtani
  • Khalid Aedh Al-Taibi
  • Badir Lafi Al-Otaibi

According to the Daily Sabah, they look like this:

khashoggi hit team

This incident would be interesting enough if it were ‘only’ a political assassination of a journalist critical of the Saudi regime (although that sort of thing is fairly common in Saudi Arabia these days).  But several aspects of this assassination make it particularly noteworthy.  While known as a ‘progressive, dissident’ journalist (The New Yorker), Khashoggi was actually a major political player (Wikipedia), and one that could have presented an actual challenge to MbS (The Spectator, Voltaire Network), so the boldness of his assassination is significant.  Because of this boldness, world attention is now focused on MbS and Saudi Arabia (NYT, Time).  This negative attention has put the president of the United States, both personally and politically, in a very difficult position (AP, NYT, NYT, Vanity Fair, Observer).  It’s not that people like Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin, or Mohammad bin Salman make him squeamish.  The problem is that Trump really wants to keep selling MbS fancy, expensive weapons.

He seems to me like the kind of guy it’s best to keep weapons away from.



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