Friends say Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a proud Arab who wanted to set up a base in his ancestral homeland of Turkey, contributing to the growing community of exiled Arabs who have taken refuge there. Eiad Alhaji, a Syrian filmmaker who was working with Khashoggi on a video about an Ottoman military figure central to Arab-Turkish relations, described their time together after work and interviews.
"We used to go together to sit and talk, two strangers outside our country and society, about what is happening with the Arabs in Turkey and in America. Me as a Syrian, and him as a Saudi Arabian," said Alhaji.
The former head of Britain’s foreign intelligence service MI6 believes “very compelling” evidence indicates that the Saudi crown prince was behind the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“It’s very hard not to point a finger at Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” John Sawers said in an interview on Britain’s Channel 4.
Saudi Arabia said on Saturday a missing journalist had died in a fight inside its Istanbul consulate and it had fired two senior officials over his death, an account President Donald Trump said was credible but U.S. lawmakers found hard to believe.
Jamal Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, tweeted in Arabic: “The heart grieves, the eye tears, and with your separation we are saddened, my dear Jamal,” she said, also asking “#where is martyr Khashoggi’s body?”
So grave is the fallout from the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi that King Salman has felt compelled to intervene, five sources with links to the Saudi royal family said. King Salman, 82, spent decades as part of the inner circle of the Al Saud dynasty, which long ruled by consensus. In four decades as governor of Riyadh, he earned a reputation as a royal enforcer who punished princes who were out of line.
Meshal Saad al-Bostani, a 31-year-old lieutenant in the Saudi Royal Air Force, is believed to have died in a ‘suspicious car accident’ in the Saudi capital Riyadh, sources told the Turkish Yeni Safak – the one that earlier covered the shocking details of the murder. A still taken from a Turkish police CCTV video, released by the Sabah newspaper, identified Bostani as he passed through Istanbul’s Ataturk airport on October 2.
In the op-ed, titled “Jamal Khashoggi wrote: “What the Arab world needs most is free expression. These actions no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community. Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation quickly followed by silence. The Arab world is facing its own version of Iron Curtain, imposed not by external actors but through domestic forces vying for power.”
Security forces began setting up barricades in front of the residence just hours after Consul Mohammed al-Otaibi flew out of the country on a 2 p.m. flight, state media reported. Saudi Arabia did not immediately acknowledge the consul left the country, two weeks after Jamal Khashoggidisappeared at the diplomatic post he ran. Saudi officials have called Turkish allegations that Saudi agents killed Jamal Khashoggi “baseless,” but reports in U.S. media on Tuesday suggested the Saudis may acknowledge the writer was killed at the consulate, perhaps as part of a botched interrogation.
If the US imposes sanctions on Saudi Arabia, it will “stab its own economy to death” the head of Al Arabiya said. Riyadh may become friends with Iran, trade its oil in yuan and invite the Russian military.
“These are simple procedures that are part of over 30 others that Riyadh will implement directly, without flinching an eye if sanctions are imposed on it, according to Saudi sources who are close to the decision-makers,” the report said.
Saudi Arabia rejected threats to punish it over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, saying the kingdom would retaliate against any sanctions with tougher measures, the official state news agency said on Sunday. “The Kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures, or repeating false accusations…” the official Saudi Press Agency quoted an unnamed government source as saying.
In a kingdom once ruled by an ever-aging rotation of elderly monarchs, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stands out as the youthful face of a youthful nation. But behind the carefully calibrated public-relations campaign pushing images of the smiling prince meeting with the world’s top leaders and business executives lurks a darker side.
“I don’t want to waste my time,” Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Time Magazine in a cover story this year. “I am young.”
President Donald Trump defended continuing huge sales of U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia on Thursday despite rising pressure from lawmakers to punish the kingdom over the disappearance of a Saudi journalist who lived in the United States and is now feared dead.
“I don’t like stopping massive amounts of money that’s been pouring into our country. They are spending 110 billion on military equipment,” Trump said.
Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist who disappeared last week after a visit to his country’s consulate in Turkey, was once a Saudi insider. A close aide to the kingdom’s former spy chief, he had been a leading voice in the country’s prominent dailies, including the main English newspapers. The U.S.-educated Khashoggi was no stranger to controversy. “As of now, I would say Mohammed bin Salman is acting like Putin. He is imposing very selective justice,” Khashoggi wrote in the Post last year after he fled the kingdom, saying he feared returning home.
“The initial assessment of the Turkish police is that Mr Khashoggi has been killed at the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate,” one of the two Turkish officials told Reuters.
The Turkish sources did not say how they believed the killing was carried out.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says Riyadh “will pay nothing” to the United States for the kingdom’s “security,” in rebuttal to US President Donald Trump who recently said King Salman would not last in power “for two weeks” without US military support.
“Actually we will pay nothing for our security. We believe that all the armaments we have from the United States of America are paid for, it’s not free armament,” the Saudi crown prince said in a Bloomberg interview conducted on Wednesday and published on Friday.