Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 22, 2018

Khashoggi Drama - A Deal Is No Longer Possible - Erdogan Demands That MbS Goes

The Khashoggi saga continues to influence Middle East policies.

On Friday the Saudi regime admitted that Khashoggi was killed in its consulate in Istanbul. Since then they have changed their story twice:

After weeks of denying involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance, Saudi Arabia said that he was killed in the Istanbul consulate, saying his death was the result of a "fistfight". A Saudi source close to the royal palace later told CNN that the Washington Post journalist died in a chokehold. On Sunday, its foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, went further, describing Khashoggi's death on Fox News as a "murder" and a "tremendous mistake."

Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudi clown prince and effective ruler, does not seem to have any good media advisors. By not sticking to one story all further Saudi accounts will immediately come into doubt.

The Saudis originally claimed that Khashoggi had left the consulate. We now know why they felt safe to make that claim. CNN has a new Turkish story of a decoy which was send out to make it look as if Khashoggi left. They provide pictures to prove it:

One member of the 15-man team suspected in the death of Jamal Khashoggi dressed up in his clothes and was captured on surveillance cameras around Istanbul on the day the journalist was killed, a senior Turkish official has told CNN.

CNN has obtained exclusive law enforcement surveillance footage, part of the Turkish government's investigation, that appears to show the man leaving the consulate by the back door, wearing Khashoggi's clothes, a fake beard, and glasses.

While Khashoggi was half bald, the decoy in Khashoggi's cloth seems to have full hair.


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Bit by bit the Turkish government leaks more of the sorry tale. It helps to keep the issue on the political agenda.

YeniSafak, an Erdogan aligned broadsheet, claims (Turkish, machine translation) that Khashoggi was put on the phone with MbS while he was in the consulate. He was allegedly told to return to Saudi Arabia. After he rejected to do so he was killed.

A later YeniSafak report (Turkish, machine translation) says that Saudi teamleader in the consulate, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, made a total of four calls to bin Salman's office manager Badr bin Mohammed Al Asaker in Riyadh. Al Asaker is the head of the crown prince's foundation and his 'invisible hand'. Mutreb allegedly used the cell phone of the consul. Another call was made to the U.S., presumably to Khalid bin Salman, the brother of MbS who is the Saudi ambassador in Washington DC. Khalid has since returned to Riyadh. Al Jazeerah Arabic had earlier reported of such calls, and of 19 additional WhatsUp calls to MbS himself.

If the news of these calls proves to be true, the killing of Khashoggi was undoubtedly premeditated murder on the direct order of the clown prince.


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Turkish police also found an abandoned car that is owned by the Saudi consulate. It can be seen on CCTV footage of the consulate on the day that Khashoggi was killed.

All this proves that the spy-craft of the Saudi assassination team was abysmal. All cellphone networks store records of each call. Any foreign official's phone in Turkey is under surveillance of the country's intelligence service. Only some throw-away phone with an anonymous prepaid card could have given some protection.

It seems that the Saudi team simply did not care. It tried to obscure the incident by removing the body, but did otherwise little to hide the operation. They likely expected to get away with this. Their boss, MbS, certainly did:

As the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi escalated into a diplomatic crisis, Prince Mohammed was shocked by the backlash. He couldn’t understand why Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance was such a big deal, according to people who recently interacted with the prince.
...
On Oct. 10, eight days after Mr. Khashoggi went missing, Prince Mohammed called Jared Kushner, the adviser and son-in-law to President Trump, according to people briefed on the phone conversation.

Why the outrage, Prince Mohammed asked in English.
...
The prince’s confusion soon turned into rage. “He was really shocked that there was such a big reaction to it,” said a person close to the royal court. “He feels betrayed by the West. He said he would look elsewhere and he will never forget how people turned against him before evidence was produced.”

No one seems to care how many Yemeni's Mohammad bin Salman kills each day. There was no harsh reaction when MbS kidnapped the Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri, nor when he incarcerated nearly 400 princes and tortured them to steal their money. Why would anyone care about Khashoggi?

Because that is how human psychology works:

The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.
Josef Stalin

We humans care way more for a single persons we know, than for a mass of people we have no relations with.

Khashoggi was a personal friend of Erdogan. He was a columnist at the Washington Post, the CIA's most favored news outlet. Mohammad bin Salman is an enemy of both. Neither the neocon opinion editor of the Post, Fred Hiatt, nor Erdogan have any love for the Saudi clown prince. They would of course raise a ruckus when given such a chance.

They will pile on and air the Saudi's dirty linen until MbS is gone. Yesterday the New York Times exposed the twitter brigades the Saudis hired to manipulate the public. Today the Washington Post has a detailed report of Saudi influence peddling through U.S. stink tanks. The Middle East Institute, CSIS and Brookings get called out. Lobbyists for the Saudis are canceling their contracts. More such reports will come  out. Years of lobbying and tens of millions of dollars to push pro-Saudi propaganda have now gone to waste.

The affair is damaging to Trump. He built his Middle East policy on his relations with Saudi Arabia. But he can not avoid the issue and has to call out MbS over the killing. His own party is pressing for it. Yesterday the Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, dismissed the Saudi version of the story on CNN and called (vid) for consequences:

"It is my sense, I don't know yet, but based on the intel I have read, based on the other excerpts that I have read, it is my thinking that MbS was involved in this, that he directed this and that this person was purposefully murdered."
...
There has to be a punishment and a price paid for that.
...
Do I think he did it? Yes, I think he did it. [...] We obviously have intercepts from the past that point to involvement at a very high level, so let's let play this out.

On Sunday Erdogan was on the phone with Trump. The Turkish readout of the call hints at negotiations over Syria, the lifting of sanctions against Turkey and other issues. But the Khashoggi case has now gone too far to allow for a deal to be made over it.

Erdogan's mouthpiece, the somewhat lunatic columnist Ibrahim Karagül, gives an insight into Erdogan's thinking and sets out his aims:

The real trap was set against Saudi Arabia. Even though a Saudi Arabia-U.S.-Israel rapport was established and discourse about shielding the Riyadh administration from Iran, the objective was to destroy Saudi Arabia through Salman and Zayed. The next front after the Syria war was the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia. They never understood this, they could not understand it. Turkey understood it, but the Arab political mind was blinded.

Now Saudi Arabia is in a very difficult situation. The world collapsed over them. Crown Prince Salman is going through a tough test via Zayed, who has control over him. If the gravity of the situation after the facts revealed with the Khashoggi murder is not comprehended, we will witness a “Saudi Arabia front” in less than a few years.
...
The Riyadh administration must dethrone Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at once. It has no other choice. Otherwise, it is going to pay very heavy prices. If they fail to quash the trap set up targeting Saudi Arabia through bin Zayed, they will be victims of Trump’s “You won’t last two weeks” statement, and the process is going to start to work in that direction.
...
This duo must be taken out of the entire region and neutralized. Otherwise they are going to throw the region in fire.

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed is Mohammad bin Salman's mentor and partner in crime in Yemen. MbZ is smarter than MbS - and will be more difficult to dislodge.

Erdogan announced that he will describe more details of the case on Tuesday in a speech to his party's parliament group. He will probably not yet play the tape from inside the consulate that Turkish intelligence claims to have. But he may well confirm the revealed phone calls and threaten to release their content.

Erdogan's aim seems clear. The chance for deal is gone. MbS has to go. He will try to play the case out until that is achieved.

Posted by b on October 22, 2018 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

Comments
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b-"Khashoggi was a personal friend of Erdogan"

Say's who?
Did they visit?
Vacation together?
Spend the holy days together?
Travel together?
Why should anyone take that as a statement of fact?

Posted by: anonymous | Oct 22, 2018 12:12:50 PM | 1

#1
This is a matter without importance.
If the two were the best of friends it would not change a thing. The Americans are the big losers here. Whoever replaces the Crown Prince is not going to pay for protection that MBS did not get for all the billions-of poor mens money that he spent to please Trump and Israel (another big loser)..

Posted by: bevin | Oct 22, 2018 12:20:35 PM | 2

The price to pay? They have to go, to shield Trump, Kushner, whoever, yet will that be enough? Will MBS have to give up all the rich's he stole from his cousins? A lot of questions, that only time will give answers to.

Posted by: Eugene | Oct 22, 2018 12:22:25 PM | 3

Here are some cables that Wikileaks released in 2015 showing how the Saudi royal family tries to control the world's media:

http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2016/01/how-saudi-arabia-controls-its-own-media.html

The Saudi Royal Family has bottomless pockets when it comes to controlling the negative press coverage.

Posted by: Sally Snyder | Oct 22, 2018 12:23:08 PM | 4

Fish stinks.
More lipstick needed.

Posted by: Jared | Oct 22, 2018 12:26:48 PM | 5

It appears like a very ambitious plan to get rid of MbS and MbZ, but I have to agree that it's critical. They along with Netanyahoo are the biggest threat in the ME.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 22, 2018 12:27:36 PM | 6

"No one seems to care how many Yemeni's Mohammad bin Salman kills each day. There was no harsh reaction when MbS kidnapped the Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri, nor when he incarcerated nearly 400 princes and tortured them to steal their money. Why would anyone care about Khashoggi?

Because that is how human psychology works:

The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.
Josef Stalin

We humans care way more for a single persons we know, than for a mass of people we have no relations with."

You are naive person, b, and this section does not belong to MoA articles.

This is not about human psychology. Its about targeted media attention. Media could create a hysteria about Yemen too, but only if the elite wanted that. Then you would see lots outraged people and large protests against the war in Yemen. But elites do not want that. So that is not going to happen.

It is very simple how that works. When elites want, they bring massive media attention to something. When elites do not want, they cover up things and the media is silent.

If elites wanted to adress the issue of the Yemen war, you will see similar media hysteria to the ones about Idlib or Aleppo. Since the elites do not want that, media will be generally silent about the killings in Yemen and will keep things under control.
In this case, there are important western elites behind this, so you are getting lots of media coverage. So this has nothing to do with what Stalin said or with human psychology, and everything to do with the fact that elites control media and public attention.

This is being used as a way of attacking Trump.


For more information, you can check Adam Garrie and Andrew Korybko, it seems that some european, US deep state (behind Trump's back), and of course turkish interests are behind the increased media attention.

Posted by: Passer by | Oct 22, 2018 12:39:05 PM | 7

Where is the body (or its parts)? Having arrested 18 the Saudis must know the answer to this question. Why the delay on this question?

But as Pieraccini hinted a few days ago the American Congress and its associates want MbS gone because he's a bad business manager. (Look at what happened to the "Vision" thing although Munchkin today indicated business deals more important than anything else.) Trump will need to get over his sentimentalism to go along, and he needs to do this fast with midterms two weeks away.

Posted by: Sid2 | Oct 22, 2018 12:47:51 PM | 8

I'm loving all this holier-than-thou BS now attending MoA, as with this passerby comment @6 and others recently, associating themselves with exactly what this forum loathes--the supremacist, arrogant stance. What happens, I think, is remarks like this and attacking b end up like the dog turd on the corner--you step around it and avoid it (i.e. stop reading that person).

Posted by: Sid2 | Oct 22, 2018 12:54:55 PM | 9

@6

Passer by........keep walking.

Posted by: Alpi57 | Oct 22, 2018 12:57:04 PM | 10

Trump will now have to turn on his own dog to try and save himself. Puts a hole in his plans for the Persian gulf, though he could use this to make a grab for Saudi oil.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22, 2018 1:01:18 PM | 11

Hmm, it seems there was another nearby ruler that Erdogan also demanded should leave...

Posted by: worldblee | Oct 22, 2018 1:01:26 PM | 12

Ref
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/20/us/politics/saudi-image-campaign-twitter.html
is it too much to ask that they check what these same accounts have been twitting about Syria and how many Ar'ur followers are there?

Posted by: Mina | Oct 22, 2018 1:07:52 PM | 13

Passer by @6--

The same could be said of Palestine as Yemen, along with Zionist manipulation of "Western" policy. Clearly, having to justify his actions is something MbS has seldom faced previously and has failed abysmally when it was actually very simple at the outset. If MbS gets demoted, will he flee or stay and fight? The arms contracts were never signed, so they're likely dead, which I view as a plus. I wonder if a pro-Palestinian/Anti-Zionist non-CIA captured Prince exists within Saudi that Salman might name to replace MbS, or is such a beast wishful thinking?

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 22, 2018 1:10:33 PM | 14

All this proves that the spy-craft of the Saudi assassination team was abysmal. All cellphone networks store records of each call. Any foreign official's phone in Turkey is under surveillance of the country's intelligence service. Only some throw-away phone with an anonymous prepaid card could have given some protection.

Perhaps some, but not much. Even anonymous cellphone connections can be geo-located with a maximum error of a few meters, so calls to Saudi Arabia from within the consulate could be noted. What more, the dim-witted Saudis probably would not have bothered with tack-on encryption devices.

Posted by: joeymac | Oct 22, 2018 1:11:02 PM | 15

The one death is a tragedy quote is often misattributed to Stalin. See here and here and here.

What is apparent, however, is that the large American media outlets suddenly have discovered Yemen as a club to use in retribution for the murder of one of their own.

Hal C

Posted by: Hal C | Oct 22, 2018 1:12:06 PM | 16

B's point on human psychology is good on the question why this event has attracted so much attention. Obviously in the congress the event is working in two ways: to facilitate removal of MbS, yes, by those annoyed with his and Trump's amateurish bullshit; and to appeal for votes via all the outrage. Even Trump has to play to this sentiment.

But cynical deal-making on the inside aside, the ordinary person is amused and appalled at this naked display of the psychopath with his thuggish sadism as increasingly it becomes apparent Mohammed Been Sawbones has done the deed. Plus trying to excuse it and cover it up, as Trump et al are trying to do, clashes obscenely with the usual rhetoric/propaganda.

So, yes, the specific content here is much easier and clearer to grasp than abstractions and generalities. It's a case for JQ Ordinary of "Got you! And we'll rub your face in it while we can!" In short, it's another reflection of how pissed off people are with the globe's honorable leaders.

Posted by: Sid2 | Oct 22, 2018 1:12:30 PM | 17

It is obvious that Erdogan didn’t get the deal he was hoping for probably due to Trump’s arrogance thinking that this one will blow over as well and they can fix it. Gross miscalculation.

MBS is small potatoes. MBZ as mentioned is the target. He is the ambitious one with a brain, at least he thinks so. And he has pissed off most of the gulf monarchies that have no interest in war and hegemony. They want to live quiet and make their money and get along, especially with Iran.

What is interesting here, is that this event seems to have not been a random thing, but a carefully laid out trap they walked right into.

This might be the undoing of Trump, Bolton and the rest, in the midterms first and then in their ME plans. Watch for the Russians to come out as victors, yet again.

Posted by: Alpi57 | Oct 22, 2018 1:18:50 PM | 18

"B's point on human psychology is good on the question why this event has attracted so much attention."

No, it's not. If elites did not want, there would be zero attention about it. In the same way, there would be huge attention for the killings in Yemen or Palestine, if only the elites wanted that. In fact, it would be number one news story every day and the topic of the year if they wanted that.

Posted by: Passer by | Oct 22, 2018 1:20:13 PM | 19

If Russia provides guarantees the security of SA in the face of US threats (note MbS is not a necessary player in this and dismissing him adds respectability) then Russia de facto controls the world supply of oil.

Posted by: cdvision | Oct 22, 2018 1:20:36 PM | 20

Where is the corpse?

Posted by: Meriem Peillet | Oct 22, 2018 1:28:21 PM | 21

All bets are off until we see how the impetuous one in the White House takes the growing "global consensus" and accepts defeat.

I think MBS was "supposed" to be gone 2 weeks ago ... being a well-documented loose-cannon. He was given temporary reprieve (again) as Trump and the money men "negotiated" various terms of his survival and that of the arms deal....

Erdogan may well end up with a "better" deal than he hoped for due to impeccable stage craft and and slam-dunk evidence (we'll see).

I believe I read that MBS personally assured Erdogan that Khasoghogi would be save ... assurances passed on to that gentlment before he entered the compound. If true, that also speaks massively about MBS and his "word" as a gentleman (perhaps part of reason for claims it was a "hot-headed accident")

The Saudis have such an embarassing history of failure at "stealth" like this ... if they'd just managed to abduct Khashoggi like so many others currently disappeared or simply waited. This is also riding the crest of journalist complaints of state-sponsored threats of violence towards journalism under the "fake news claims" internationally and by Donald Trump specifically in the American heart land which is pretty much bled out already when it comes to "keep 'em honest" investigations.

If, when MSB goes, it will be -imho- the first major defeat of the Trump administration, both foreign and domestic.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Oct 22, 2018 1:30:48 PM | 22

@19

“....then Russia de facto controls the world supply of oil.”

And then WW3. They are having a hard time with Nord dream 2, let alone controlling the whole shop. I’m afraid that is a fantasy that even the Russians are not going to delude themselves with. In Fact, they don’t care to control the world oil supply. Everything about Putin’s policy so far points toward a live and let live agenda. Everyone share the pie and live in peace.

Posted by: Alpi57 | Oct 22, 2018 1:35:54 PM | 23

@21

There are some who want that, in the US and especially Europe, as well as medium level ones such as Erdogan. And some who do not want that (the US administration, or Israel).

For Europe, the reaction was relatively harsh, as they use that to hit back at the US admin for its belligerent behavior. In the US, it is used by those who oppose Trump, as well as due to other reasons. Check Adam Garrie and Andrew Korybko for more on this.


As for Erdogan, it is already mentioned in the article here.

Posted by: Passer by | Oct 22, 2018 1:39:35 PM | 24

#2 @ bevin

"This is a matter without importance"

Actually it's a matter of a fair bit of importance- b is linking Erdogan and Khashoggi as 'besties' and a reason for Erdogan to want MBS gone.
Therefore b should validate is statement presented as fact
b-"Khashoggi was a personal friend of Erdogan"
Or it's meaningless and takes away from the concept b is pushing


@ Bevin: "The Americans are the big losers here"


Are they? Is Israel going to lose in this?
Nothing to indicate that so far.

Posted by: anonymous | Oct 22, 2018 1:42:25 PM | 25

Meanwhile Haaretz publishes the following in its Opinion section: Why We Should Go Easy on the Saudi Crown Prince.

Posted by: S | Oct 22, 2018 1:43:55 PM | 26

Why is everybody so stunned at the attention this murder is getting?

Erdogan made sure that it did. No matter what the cognoscenti of this board think about him he has played this whole matter like a master.

And what's with this continuing blather about malign forces operating behind Trump's back to make him look bad? He went all in with a psychopath, sidelined all the seasoned diplomats, and left his fucking son-in-law in charge of his entire ME policy. Should we cut him slack when it's apparent that his own interests are paramount and he has no idea of how interactions between nations should be conducted?

Stick a fork in MbS. That was evident long before today.

Posted by: peter | Oct 22, 2018 1:44:39 PM | 27

Khashoggi.. the straw that broke the camelfucker's back :)))

Posted by: EtTuBrute | Oct 22, 2018 1:44:47 PM | 28

Forget advisors. Seems that in his purge, MbS eliminated everybody with a functioning brain. At least, from the ranks responsible for "special actions". Some princes were kidnapped shortly after he got ministerial portfolios so at that time the art of committing atrocities on kith and kin without raising undue noise was not lost.

"What is interesting here, is that this event seems to have not been a random thing, but a carefully laid out trap they walked right into.

This might be the undoing of Trump, Bolton and the rest, in the midterms first and then in their ME plans. Watch for the Russians to come out as victors, yet again.

Posted by: Alpi57 | Oct 22, 2018 1:18:50 PM | 17"

In retrospect, it seems that Khashoggi was "suicidal", but probably he thought that his government will not be so monumentally stupid to kill him or kidnap in a consulate that is under monitoring of an unfriendly government. Perhaps he was persuaded by his princely mentors who knew that he is a sacrificial pawn. The purge of people with functioning brain could eliminate the threat of assassination by MbS own protecters, but it made him vulnerable in other ways.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 22, 2018 1:44:54 PM | 29

Khashoggi may have thought Erdogan was his friend. From what I have read, they worked on a number of the same Muslim Brotherhood projects.
Turkey have the goods on the killing which means Turk intel was most likely watching or listening in real time to what was occurring in the consulate. Erdogan seems quite ruthless when setting a trap.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22, 2018 1:50:24 PM | 30

The link between Khashoggi and Erdoğan is not "fiendship", but the Muslim Brotherhood. Erdoğan made a similar scene about the Morsi's overthrow in Egypt. This is a Ikhwan vs Wahabbi spat.

Posted by: Blue | Oct 22, 2018 1:54:11 PM | 31

@30

I couldn’t imagine with the faux friendship that MBS has developed with Kushner/Mossad that they didn’t know about this and allowed him to do something like this. There is a larger play here. Why this and why now? On the surface, this will derail the Iran plan entirely, not to mention a big dent in Trump and the midterms. This a gift to democrats. Why would they risk that over Khashoggi?

Posted by: Alpi57 | Oct 22, 2018 1:56:02 PM | 32

well, so far in the "damage control" column we have not seen vast alarms about "targeted assassinations" (of journalists or scientists) or much mention of the large-scale arrests of various Trump / Israel buddies and allies or -- for that matter --- the wholesale slaughter of Mexican journalists (not to mention the usual Putin fingerpointing). There is an intersection between international crime/money laundering and this sort of "pointless" ad hoc killing of the messengers which could also be "ripe" for discussion. The Trump "coverup" has been quite successful in protecting the usual suspects.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Oct 22, 2018 2:05:42 PM | 33

#2 : he gets called "journalist" but his true vocation was professional ass kisser. it's not a huge leap of faith to assume he went from directly kissing saudi royal ass to smooching various high level turkish ones. maybe not a "friend" (but who really is at that level?) but probably a useful acquaintance.

now that we have the silly minutiae out of the way...this is still an increasingly amusing game of "let's you and him fight". the whole "ultimate game of taking down saudi arabia" idea floated by the turkish writer is just silly but it will make the royals slightly more malleable and it distracts from the "OMG iran is teh devul!!!1!!" bullshit we've been force-fed for the last few years (and decades). whether it disrupts the newish israel/saudi axis has yet to be seen but i doubt it.

i also keep thinking of the odd selective outrage - not just when it comes to yemen but going back to 9/11. 15 of those guys (going by the official story here) were saudis. relations barely skipped a beat after they offed ~3,000 of our own folks. 15 saudi guys butcher one saudi stenographer turned bezos/CIA company man and everyone shits their collective pants (including many of the most virulent "STFU trutherz!" establishment idiots and brennan CIA types who have 9/11 stink all over them). seems like a good time to dredge up any unfinished 9/11 business. after all, 3K americans = like 9 quadrillion yemenis, amirite?

Posted by: the pair | Oct 22, 2018 2:06:58 PM | 34

The Khashoggi Affair has been messier than a dog's breakfast from the get go. Is it possible that MBS is using the same team of UK "Intelligence Experts" as the nonchalant and sleazy Theresa (Would I Lie To You) May?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 22, 2018 2:13:53 PM | 35

Some western powers created and protected this abomination, the KSA, so they own this case, too.

Posted by: Choderlos de Laclos | Oct 22, 2018 2:14:32 PM | 36

peter | Oct 22, 2018 1:44:39 PM | 28

And what's with this continuing blather about malign forces operating behind Trump's back to make him look bad? He went all in with a psychopath, sidelined all the seasoned diplomats, and left his fucking son-in-law in charge of his entire ME policy.

Birds of feather congregating?

Posted by: joeymac | Oct 22, 2018 2:18:27 PM | 37

This article appears to be truth,
comes now time the great arbitrator of truth.

Posted by: John Ellis | Oct 22, 2018 2:19:54 PM | 38

peter says:

Stick a fork in MbS. That was evident long before today

yeah, really, at least since he dropped 450 million on that fake Leonardo. what a muttonhead.

Posted by: john | Oct 22, 2018 2:20:09 PM | 39

#21
Some parts were brought back home, for MbS to ej---ate
unless they were dumped in Dubai or Cairo
"Crown prince's bodyguard 'took part of Khashoggi's body'

Turkish officials believe that part of Khashoggi's body was taken out of Turkey by a well-known travel companion of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's bodyguards, according to a report by the Middle East Eye.

Maher Abdulaziz Mutrib is reported to have been seen carrying a large bag, which was not checked as he bypassed security checks through a VIP lounge at Istanbul's Ataturk airport. "
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/10/jamal-khashoggi-case-latest-updates-181010133542286.html

Posted by: Mina | Oct 22, 2018 2:28:40 PM | 40

Thanks for the questions you raise in this post, b. It is rare that we get a glimpse at what is happening behind the scenes of power, and very unfortunate that it took a life publicly and brutally taken to bring the terrible actions we all have been discussing in Yemen and other places, (Syria for the main present instance) into focus. For us on the blog it is simply that, the tip of the iceberg that a single human tragedy represents.

I would like to think that for the powers that be in other nations, even in Saudi Arabia if you think about all who have found themselves at risk under this regime, it also represents the tip of an iceberg - that they all, too, have seen a mad tyrant in control inflicting great damage on another tiny country, and had already made plans to publicly stop the carnage - maybe not as soon as we here would have liked but I do hope it is finally happening.

I don't see it as a losing proposition for Trump. Not if he plays it by the book.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 22, 2018 2:29:23 PM | 41

Khashoggi met his fiance (36 year old to his 59) in May 2018. By October 2018, they were looking to get married. One little problem. He is already married and had to arrange a separation. Did he go to the consulate of his own free will or was he 'pushed' (ie he went very reluctantly as he realised he was taking a big risk). His fiance is documentd as a PhD candidate (in what subject? At which institute? What was her background?) They managed to meet at some high level think-tank get-together. That sounds a bit unlikely for some random unconnected outsider. How did she manage to get invited to the meeting? In other circumstances (Assange, Vanunu, etc) a honeypot would come to mind.

Qui bono? Trump is negotiating with SWIFT to disconnect Iran from the world economy (an act of war?). Presumably once Iran reacts, it will be used as an excuse for an all out military attack against Iran, using Saudi airspace and ground facilities. Given Saudi has been making nice with Russia (and potentially iran via Russian mediation), some 'encouragement' seems necessary for that to go ahead. Not so long ago, Trump stated that Saudi wouldn't last two weeks without US support, possibly a not-so-subtle hint. Corrupt leaders desire nothing more than holding on to power and the benefits of said power.

Posted by: Yonatan | Oct 22, 2018 2:32:51 PM | 42

@ 7

The situation is much more complicated than your rather arrogant comment suggests. The elites in the US are divided and have been since the election of Trump. The Democrats and their media have found an ideal weapon in the brutal demise of Khashoggi with which to bash Trump and bolster their chances in the mid-terms. We are perfectly aware of the hypocrisy involved by all elites. But another section of the elites, namely the military industrials and Wall Street (weapons and petrodollar) do not want any problems with Saudi Arabia, whatever MBS does or does not do. They want the story to go away. If they can get a more placid figure to lead the country all well and good but, if they can’t they will stick with “bone saw man.”

The situation has maybe come about because Saudi Arabia is concerned about lashing its future so completely to a sinking ship and a young upstart like MBS feels he is able to challenge the US, just as the Philippines’ Duterte did when he cursed Obama; just as Turkey and India and indeed the Saudis have done by ordering the S-400 from Russia. Rebellion is in the air as everyone looks East.

Posted by: Lochearn | Oct 22, 2018 2:38:03 PM | 43

I don't see how this would have any effect on the mid-terms. Most US-ians don't care. Also, pretty sure KSA is no friend to Muslim B-hood, so hard to believe that the sultan and MbS would have worked on any such projects. OTOH, it is "highly likely" that somewhere, MbZ lurks in the background. In some form or shape, he is a part of the trap (including that the trap could turn against him). This was an interesting discussion (and hear what Sharmine Narwani has to say at the end): https://www.rt.com/shows/crosstalk/441490-saudi-murder-journalist-trump/

Posted by: GoraDiva | Oct 22, 2018 2:41:30 PM | 44

Reuters How the man behind Khashoggi murder ran the killing via Skype

He ran social media for Saudi Arabia’s crown prince. He masterminded the arrest of hundreds of his country’s elite. He detained a Lebanese prime minister. And, according to two intelligence sources, he ran journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by giving orders over Skype.
...
Qahtani himself once said he would never do anything without his boss’ approval.

“Do you think I make decisions without guidance? I am an employee and a faithful executor of the orders of my lord the king and my lord the faithful crown prince,” Qahtani tweeted last summer.
...
According to one high-ranking Arab source with access to intelligence and links to members of Saudi Arabia’s royal court, Qahtani was beamed into a room of the Saudi consulate via Skype.

He began to hurl insults at Khashoggi over the phone. According to the Arab and Turkish sources, Khashoggi answered Qahtani’s insults with his own.
...
A Turkish intelligence source relayed that at one point Qahtani told his men to dispose of Khashoggi. “Bring me the head of the dog”, the Turkish intelligence source says Qahtani instructed.
...
The Arab source and the Turkish intelligence source said the audio of the Skype call is now in the possession of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. The sources say he is refusing to release it to the Americans.

Erdogan said on Sunday he would release information about the Turkish investigation during a weekly speech on Tuesday. Three Turkish officials reached by Reuters declined to comment ahead of that speech.


Posted by: b | Oct 22, 2018 2:45:08 PM | 45

Yonatan, please read the articles linked by b before asking wrong questions;
he was not married since right after he fled to the US in 2015 (trying to escape what happened to a number of his rich friends) the KSA regime made pressure on his family until his wife filed for divorce.
But Turkish law requests a proof of such a divorce to allow a man marrya Turkish woman.
Some good rants by PLang lately
https://tinyurl.com/yc9fg9xu
https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/10/did-the-chihuahua-do-it.html

Posted by: Mina | Oct 22, 2018 2:45:19 PM | 46

Trump has unilaterally begun economic warfare wherever and whenever he wants. He does not conduct foreign policy in consultation with anyone, least of all the Republican Party. If he or his own are taking bribes from Saudi, then he is likely going to retain MbS no matter the whining. It's not like the US is a democracy. If Kashoggi gave up something against Trump, so that Erdogan thinks he has something, Erdogan is overplaying his hand. Trump is bullet proof politically, and he will almost certainly resort to violence if needed. Although cell phones can be cloned and placed from a car in front of an embassy, it is likely there were nineteen calls to MbS personally. The thing is, this is rather strong evidence the murder either was not premeditate...or the real point was the interrogation. We know nothing about what Kashoggi said. All this blather about the incident is drivel until we know that.

The effects of the midterm elections depend entirely on turnout. The Democrats have been trying to run to the right, which suppresses popular turnout. The centerpiece has been the Kavanaugh nomination, which they lost. Losing depresses turnout. The Republicans are consciously suppressing turnout. If people turn out, yes, there's a blue wave. But every indication is there's not going to be the kind of turnout. If turnout is low, the Democrats may even fracture as the few Democratic Party winners will be anathema to the moderate conservative paymasters. And, after Trump pretends not being massively rejected at the polls means he is massively popular instead of people being in despair at having no one for them, Trump will be even less inclined to dump MbS.

Erdogan is soft on Iran and Russia because the US insists on limiting his slice of the pie, in favor of Israel and Saudi. He's miscalculated the balance of forces.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Oct 22, 2018 2:57:35 PM | 47

Khashoggi was member and of late a lobbyist for the Muslim Brotherhood . You know that wonderfol brand of political Islam so loved by the Brits the Atlanticists, once in power in Morsi's Egypt, still in power in Erdogan's Turkey, Qatar and Iran. In an article published in august in Wapo, Khashoggi lamented that Saudis were trying to neuter support for the Muslim brotherhood in Washington, even that some people were proposing to put it on the shitlist of 'terrorist' organization. http://archive.is/14Enk
And now we have Senator Rand Paul, long known for his fierce loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood (he was already defending them during Morsi's deposing http://www.thenewsburner.com/2013/07/09/pro-muslim-brotherhood-senator-rand-paul-rips-texas-governor-rick-perry/) at the forefront of the Clown Prince must go pundits.
Eric Zuesse in an article on the Duran's site gives a concise description of the rivalry for control of the middle east between the Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood, and how western powers (including Russia) are supporting both/ using both sides to further their ends : http://theduran.com/the-earthquake-in-international-alliances/
He writes: "There has long been a global competition between two fundamentalist-Sunni groups: the Saud-funded Al Qaeda versus the Thani-funded Muslim Brotherhood. Ever since the Saud family and the Wahhab clergy agreed in 1744 to take control of all Arabs and to convert or kill all Shia, the Sauds have been (and are) anti-Shia and insist upon fundamentalist Sunni rule. Al Qaeda represents the Wahhabist and Saud view, which advocates elimination of Shiites and accepts hereditary monarchy as the power to impose Sunni Islamic law and rejects democracy; the Muslim Brotherhood represents instead the more tolerant Thani view, which accepts Shia and also accepts imposition of Islamic law by means of democracy, and not only by means of dynasty. "
Well yes , except I wouldn't call Turkey, Iran, or Qatar 'democratic' ..

Posted by: bm | Oct 22, 2018 3:01:01 PM | 48

Thought it may have been the head. I guess that's resting on a platter in Riyadh now. A good chance the Turks have by now collected most of the other bits and pieces.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22, 2018 3:13:08 PM | 49

Tomorrow will be the opening of the Arab Economic Summit (that MBS's was staking KSA's future on) apparently competing with Erdogan's "weekly speech" ... Watch what happens (except KSA/MBS could have scarcely engineered quite as effective a "kick me" sign to affix on the back of their robes.

KSA's economic development/innovation (rather like US infrastructure investment) is decades shopworn with little to show for it (AFAICT) AP Saudi prince's future put to the test at investment forum. Millions of bitterly disappointed over-educated young Saudis could be hard to contain given how long they've been fed empty promises of jobs-jobs-jobs and meaningful lives.

Erdogan has been handed a "golden football" to run with wrt knocking KSA's "dominance" into proportion (American's don't know there are any non-KSA lover's except evil Iran) I'm curious what the summit will produce, from whom ... strange to realize the Saudi's are publicly admitting to need to recruit investment to bankroll their future ...

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Oct 22, 2018 3:15:14 PM | 50

Agree with GoraDiva @46 that this will have negligible impact on midterms as Trump and 2/3s of Senate aren't on ballot. It may, however, have some impact on Trump's ability to help stump for other Reprehensibles.

Passer by @25--

I disagree with Korybko's take that Russia will be happy to fill the vacuum caused by the Outlaw US Empire's abandonment of its longtime ally if MbS remains. Most important is the media war being waged on Russia--Russia will be further demonized if it befriends MbS, which comes at a time when its image is recovering. IMO, Russia won't launch any new initiatives until the situation eases being content to continue its current policy.

Related to this affair is Caitlyn's latest penetrating essay: The Screens, which complements her earlier essay about narratives.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 22, 2018 3:17:58 PM | 51

Tomorrow will be the opening of the Arab Economic Summit (that MBS's was staking KSA's future on) apparently competing with Erdogan's "weekly speech" ... Watch what happens (except KSA/MBS could have scarcely engineered quite as effective a "kick me" sign to affix on the back of their robes.

KSA's economic development/innovation (rather like US infrastructure investment) is decades shopworn with little to show for it (AFAICT) AP Saudi prince's future put to the test at investment forum. Millions of bitterly disappointed over-educated young Saudis could be hard to contain given how long they've been fed empty promises of jobs-jobs-jobs and meaningful lives.

Erdogan has been handed a "golden football" to run with wrt knocking KSA's "regional dominance" into proportion (important in light of those not.so.eager to go to war with Iran) (Americans don't know much about history or geography or anything else .... except that KSA is "our guys" I'm curious what the summit will produce, from whom ... strange to realize the Saudi's are publicly admitting to need to recruit investment to bankroll their future ...

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Oct 22, 2018 3:19:34 PM | 52

Both is true: B's point of the psychology dictating that we humans care more about ppl we have relations to AND What B said some days ago: That some parts of the elites/deep state use this as a tool for their personal gains.

Its not one or the other, its both! The world is not Boderline Black and white.. Also an important lesson on human psychology.. ;)

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPropaganda | Oct 22, 2018 3:27:03 PM | 53

karlof1 52

Putin's Envoy was in Riyadh a day or two before Pompeo. No Russian citizen nor Russian territory was involved. Makes me wonder if Russia is looking to see if this is an opportunity to turn KSA out of US obit.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22, 2018 3:41:30 PM | 54

The one question that matters

Khashoggi’s murder has transcended questions of foreign policy shaped by values of democracy, free speech, and due process. The Khashoggi killing raises questions of cold, unblinking realpolitik.

Three weeks into this affair and with the overwhelming evidence from the Turkish inquiry and intelligence from US and British services, world leaders have only one question to ask themselves: is Saudi Arabia safe in the crown prince’s hands?

The kingdom is not Libya under Gaddafi. Nor is it Syria under Bashar al-Assad. It is the world’s largest oil producer. It is the region’s richest nation.

For better or worse (mainly worse), it is the key Arab state. In the wrong hands, Saudi Arabia has already proved that it can determine the fate of presidents in Egypt, kidnap prime ministers from Lebanon, attempt coups in Qatar and, when that fails, blockade it. It can start wars in Yemen.

The man who runs such a country is therefore a vital strategic Western interest. It is important that he is mentally stable.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/saudi-arabia-safe-mohammed-bin-salmans-hands-1784595453

Note the interesting graph with this piece on MbS's behavior in the short time he's been promoted.

Posted by: Sid2 | Oct 22, 2018 3:43:55 PM | 55

Reuters How the man behind Khashoggi murder ran the killing via Skype

He ran social media for Saudi Arabia’s crown prince. He masterminded the arrest of hundreds of his country’s elite. He detained a Lebanese prime minister. And, according to two intelligence sources, he ran journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by giving orders over Skype.

Posted by: b | Oct 22, 2018 2:45:08 PM | 47

So this guy allegedly working for Public Relations (social media) & security (managing lists with arrests) for Crown Prince MbS was making absolutely sure that everyone would be able to follow his actions (attributed to MbS of course). We (the people) were getting fed minute details of suspects and treatment(during/after the coop in Saudi Arabia) even from the Alex Jones conspiracy show (been publicly ousted as Fake-News and Mossad ops though since he was attributing Las Vegas massacre to either MbS or rivals that tried to allegedly assasinate MbS in Vegas hinting at Iran)

Lo and behold! Las Vegas shooting October 1st 2017. Khassogi murder October 1st 2018!.

Both allagedly MbS involved!

Ain't these all suspiciuous?
There is no heaven or hell there is only the.... (let me hear it - The Israeli Intel Services Sing-Along) sing it with me.... (come on)

Posted by: Greece | Oct 22, 2018 3:48:58 PM | 56

Trump is already seeking excuses and blame-lines for the upcoming midterms and faces the problem of his followers telling him if they're not voting for him they won't vote. This is why he's been saying think of it as vote for me. Likely to lose the House. That's not minor. For one thing the House Judiciary Committee would fall to the Dems and they might re-open the Kavanaugh Question. Supreme Court Justices can be impeached. The question is how much dirt from Kavanaugh and MbS is rubbing off on Trump to encourage the turn-out.

Posted by: Sid2 | Oct 22, 2018 3:57:40 PM | 57

Erdogan should be called Mac the Knife

He eviscerated bin Salman brilliantly. I don't think anyone can take Erdogan on his home turf.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Oct 22, 2018 4:02:47 PM | 58

From b's post in the comments--worth emphasizing:

Qahtani himself once said he would never do anything without his boss’ approval.

“Do you think I make decisions without guidance? I am an employee and a faithful executor of the orders of my lord the king and my lord the faithful crown prince,” Qahtani tweeted last summer.

And here's more "babble" for you:

Middle East Eye speaks of team of assassins MbS uses to silence critics

From a “source”:

14 phone calls after Khashoggi taken; 7 of them to the crown prince

recent death of Bostani, in “car crash” was not that but locked in a cell and food poisoned; he held a lot of secrets

MbS has promised he will cut the fingers off any who criticize him

https://www.middleeasteye.net/tiger-squad-saudi-hitmen-khashoggi-mbs

Posted by: Sid2 | Oct 22, 2018 4:06:56 PM | 59

Khashoggi met his fiance (36 year old to his 59) in May 2018. By October 2018, they were looking to get married. One little problem. He is already married and had to arrange a separation. Did he go to the consulate of his own free will or was he 'pushed' (ie he went very reluctantly as he realised he was taking a big risk). His fiance is documentd as a PhD candidate (in what subject? At which institute? What was her background?) They managed to meet at some high level think-tank get-together. That sounds a bit unlikely for some random unconnected outsider. How did she manage to get invited to the meeting? In other circumstances (Assange, Vanunu, etc) a honeypot would come to mind.

Posted by: Yonatan | Oct 22, 2018 2:32:51 PM | 44

Indded. These are some good questions.
Nobody asks anything about the fiance.
Like she is not even there.

Posted by: Greece | Oct 22, 2018 4:10:22 PM | 60

Obamabots trying to reverse history will find it hard to do. That they're trying is significant.

I've seen a few reports musing SKYPE was used during the brief interrogation. If true, then all advanced intel services will know its content.

Peter AU 1 @55--

Yes, I was aware of that. TASS reports:

"Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told reporters on Monday.

"'Yes, we [had] visits, our interministerial top-level delegation went, there were meetings,' the diplomat said in response to the question about whether Russia still plans to attend the summit in the wake of Khashoggi’s murder."

Russian and Saudi cooperation in the energy field trumps other events. China will also attend.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 22, 2018 4:11:25 PM | 61

@Alpi57 #18

It is highly unlikely that the Khashoggi affair will have even the slightest impact on the upcoming U.S. midterm elections. Americans are woefully uninformed and indifferent towards international affairs. They base their votes on the domestic economy, cultural issues and ideology. I doubt that more than 25% of Americans know who Jamal Khashoggi was and why his name is in the news all of a sudden.

Posted by: Rob | Oct 22, 2018 4:16:47 PM | 62

@45 have a lootk

https://friendsofsyria.wordpress.com/2018/10/22/is-the-saudi-prince-becoming-a-zionist/

Posted by: dmake | Oct 22, 2018 4:18:01 PM | 63

Some western powers created and protected this abomination, the KSA, so they own this case, too.

Posted by: Choderlos de Laclos | Oct 22, 2018 2:14:32 PM | 38

Same as they did with modern Turkey back at 1917/1922. It's cornerstone stands on a pool of blood of innocent Greeks/Armenians etc.
The World get's used toitin the end. Turns their gaze the other way.
Babysteps towards the Great War.

Posted by: Greece | Oct 22, 2018 4:22:31 PM | 64

Telling a story using photoshop. This isn't directly connected to what follows.

Will Qahtani be the one to take the fall? If SKYPE was indeed used and he said "bring me the dog's head," then MbS becomes insulated from the order, but will that be enough to fend off those smelling blood?

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 22, 2018 4:23:22 PM | 65

There is a larger play here. Why this and why now? On the surface, this will derail the Iran plan entirely,

Posted by: Alpi57 | Oct 22, 2018 1:56:02 PM | 34

Ship Tracker: BARBAROS HAYREDDIN P - Research Vessel

Track it down.

Posted by: Greece | Oct 22, 2018 4:32:39 PM | 66

Meh, Erdogan said "Assad must go" as well. These kind of decisions don't get made in Ankara.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Oct 22, 2018 4:34:10 PM | 67

I don't know.
I'm having these waves of suspicions.

I wouldn't put the current narrative past MbS at all, that's for sure.
And he deserves everything he currently gets -- foremost over Yemen.

But --be honest-- this all seems a bit too convenient for Erdogan, and at a too convenient time.
Id est, a too inconvenient time for his opponent, that was until two weeks ago holding Erdogan's ambitious head in a bucket of water -- Trump.

With the midterms only a few weeks away, look who's holding whose head in that bucket, who is holding whose feet to the fire.

If this is truly a coincidence, I'm beginning to believe Allah is Turkish.
But at the moment I cannot believe someone has so much luck like Erdogan has. He stands to gain in the short term, in the long term, tactically and (geo)strategically.
From just a stroke of luck, that came to his country, that came to him, for which he didn't even need to get out of his chair?

Maybe we're asking the wrong questions.
Are factions within the CIA at work, setting up elaborate plans with the ambitious Erdogan to get rid of Trump and MbS, for the sake of what... strategically increasingly important depleting oil fields? ... a better position to strangle Iran?

Posted by: bjd | Oct 22, 2018 4:46:37 PM | 68

The more details that emerge, the more this story sounds like a snuff movie starring the Keystone Kops.

The international Rogues' Gallery of officials and VIPS allied with SA are desperately hoping to tapdance their way past this atrocity and public-relations nightmare, but the Saudi regime isn't helping.

I suppose that autocratic despots are accustomed to having their statements accepted as truthful and honorable, no matter how preposterous or ludicrous they are to rational observers; MBS in particular seems infuriated, astonished, and genuinely perplexed to find that everyone not under his oily thumb is laughing in his face.

In the macabre spirit of the Halloween season, this came to mind: the next time Trump visits, his Saudi hosts may wheel out The Orb again, forgetting that it had been replaced by Kashoggi's head.

I'd love to see Trump and his partners in crimes against humanity spin their way out of that one!

Posted by: Ort | Oct 22, 2018 4:46:54 PM | 69

6

Erdogan wants to be New Caliph. That's all this is. Caliphate wars. MbS is Erdogan's blood enemy. MbS-IL-US is shading the New Caliphate! Duhh! Erdogan doesn't want a Kurdistan martyr in Khasshogi either. He wants to totally control-dissent The Parable of a Man Walked Into an Embassy New Revelations. Erdogan wants to be supplicated by US and IL for His permission to transit Syria and Kurdistan. Erdogan wants to be Putin's go-to guy in Ankara for Assad. This total psyop, and every piece of 'evidence' in it, is coming from Ankara Intel operatives! Khashoggi could has as easily been re-dressed in a thwab, then frog-marched under the cameras into the waiting Mercedes. His discarded clothes could have been paraded in front of Ankara's street cameras by Turks. Hey, they had two weeks of preparation. You can make a full length Blair Witchcraft in two weeks.

Cui bono? Erdogan, Iran Oil transit and EU/RU weapons systems dealers. That's why Germany has jumped on the bandwagon, lol. Expect the whole krew to toe the line, and Putin left with a jumbled mess on the chessboard.

BREAKING: 15,000 RABBLE ARMY MARCHES ON TEXAS BORDER! TRUMP-CRUZ MILLION MAN HOUSTON SHOW SCHEDULED TONIGHT!

It's all pure stress-positioning foreplay! JustGoVote!

Posted by: Anton Worter | Oct 22, 2018 4:50:52 PM | 70

B, amazing work again, thrilling to read. Though this is a yet unfolding story, you manage to write about it in a profound way.


Regarding the manner in which MbS operates here and subsequently reacts towards other people’s reactions is certainly telling, at least to me. First off, the coercion – “come back or else…” – flat out. The ruthlessness vis-à-vis the victim, the complete disregard for that individual’s life. The crassness of the methods applied. The carelessness concerning the risks and the half-assed way in which this exercise, by and large, was carried out. Once word got out, being utterly taken by surprise that this murder should draw so much attention and should shock and outrage people – like, at all! Followed by, of course, a sudden switch from ever-so-charming to furious rage…
That’s textbook psychopathic behavior. MbS is a psychopath. I don’t mean that as an insult, but as the descriptive term and category that it is. It was already palpable in all the other incidents, which was duly pointed out here by people at the Moon. To me, it’s also in his eyes. But the thing is, as such, MbS is a befitting representation of his country. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the way that it works, how it’s organized, its history, its outlook on the world – it’s the equivalent among states of a psychopath. I certainly agree, the sooner MbS gets kicked off the stage, the better for them and for us. But he’ll be replaced and SA will still be the equivalent among states of a psychopath – and act accordingly. There’s much more to be done than just put an end to MbS’ games. In that vein, I’d be appalled if Russia were to seriously consider sucking up to SA should they break away from the US orbit.


On another aspect: I don’t really see how this would seriously upset Trump. Sure, it’s a huge challenge and a lot of accommodating will have to be done, which is always annoying. But if Congress were to take action, why shouldn’t he give in and play along?

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Oct 22, 2018 5:00:53 PM | 71

@63 Rob

.....unless the democrats make it an issue and mention it at every turn. Even the stupid have to turn on the news and read a few pages once in a while.

But I completely agree with the naïveté and lack of interest of the American population, from the president on down. They don’t realize they are their own worst enemy.

Posted by: Alpi57 | Oct 22, 2018 5:06:30 PM | 72

a heinous kushner on cnn keeps whitewashing the saudi gov.
if these people are so clean, why can't journalists interview walid ibn talal or hariri and ask for their opinion??

Posted by: mina | Oct 22, 2018 5:21:14 PM | 73

At long last, Valdai Club questions about Saudi-Russian relations were added to transcript. Here is the relevant passage, which mostly repeats what was posted from news stories:

Putin: "If someone understands it and believes that a murder has been committed, then I hope that some evidence will be presented and we will adopt relevant decisions based on this evidence. This gives me a pretext to say something else.

"From time to time, there are steps taken against Russia and even sanctions are imposed, as I have repeatedly said, on the basis of flimsy excuses and pretexts. They groundlessly claim that we have allegedly used chemical weapons, even though, incidentally, we have destroyed our chemical weapons, while the United States has failed to do so despite the obligation to that effect it assumed.

"So, there is no proof against Russia but steps are being taken. According to claims, the murder was committed in Istanbul, but no steps are being taken.

"Uniform approaches to problems of this kind should be sorted. To reiterate: Our policy towards Saudi Arabia has evolved over a long period of time, over many years. Of course, it is a misfortune that a man has disappeared, but we must understand what has really happened."

The policy investment "over many years" isn't one Russia will suddenly jettison. Yemen is obviously a much greater tragedy but Russian-Saudi relations haven't suffered--Geopolitics creates strange bed-fellows. Russia's international relations are built upon fundamental principles of International Law of which the sanctity of Sovereignty reigns supreme. As much as we may dislike it, the Khashoggi Affair falls within the realm of an internal Saudi affair although it occurred in Turkey; thus, it's up to Saudis to solve. Putin's pointing to the Double Standards relates to that reality. Would Russia sell weapons for Saudi to use on Yemen? I have no idea, although I'd like to think it wouldn't. It's quite possible some new inroads have opened for Russian diplomacy, but they remain hidden from public.


Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 22, 2018 6:02:10 PM | 74

Khashoggi has ties to Lockheed Martin through his late uncle Adnan Khashoggi, who used to be one of Saudi Arabia’s most powerful weapons dealers. MBS is considering buying Russias S-400 instead of Lockheed Martins 15 billion THADD. Interesting fact but unlikely to be important IMO

This Khashoggi story never lasts more than a week in MSM unless there is a psyops operation in place by the Deep State. Media saturation and persistence is the key to any operation. Inconvenient truths are reported and then dropped and forgotten. Lies without evidence are repeated constantly until they are accepted as truths, in some cases inconsequential truths that are convenient serve the same purpose

So regardless of the truth of Khashoggis disappearance there is a Deep State operation in place, the evidence is in the media saturation and persistence and bipartisan support. Its purpose may be as simple as coercing MBS to buy more weapons. Perhaps it may even be that a replacement for MBS even more pro-Israel has been found. Israels influence on the media is not neglible. This saturation coverage does not happen without them supporting it or at least not using their influence to suppress it Another more disturbing possibility should MBS stand his ground , is conditioning the people to accept MBS as the new OBL and Saudis Wahhabis as the new AQ and repeating history.

There simply is no way to know. Just have to watch and see but whatever it is probably wont be good

Posted by: Pft | Oct 22, 2018 6:08:19 PM | 75

Parroting / Aping that "Stalin" red-rag quote betrays a woeful ignorance or else deviousness. There is a great abundance of evidence that it was coined in the early 20c by the German playwright Tucholsky, based on earlier similar expressions, and subsequently recycled by many, including for example, Remarque.

Furthermore, close reading of almost all recorded sources of that and similar observations shows that has usually been used an an expression of hopelessness or fortification, and not of cruelty or indifference.

That the erroneous attribution to Stalin originated in the Washinton Post in the 'forties ought to tell even the dim-witted among us something useful about gullibility and scepticism.

Posted by: ploddy | Oct 22, 2018 6:21:34 PM | 76

We all tend to use 'elites' for shorthand meaning rich politically powerful f**kers who try to turn every situation into a personal wealth/power grabbing exercise, but that is all it is shorthand, there is dissension and varied opinions among the so-called elites, so that using the term as the drongo passerby has, as a collective sump for the rest of us to invest all our energies resenting and resisting, is sheer strawman debate. Create a pretend entity, add water and heat, then hold it up as proof of anything you want to hammer others about the head with is a crude tendentious and ultimately ineffective means to persuade others.

The sort of thing used by 'umbrella carriers' as I used to term the slugs found at protests who were plants inserted by the thugs. The umbrella carriers would screech "it's hopeless they're gonna kill us all" from various parts of the crowd as the thugs advanced brandishing their clubs. We took to pummeling such types to the ground as soon as they opened their traps and sure enough the thugs would form wedges to try and rescue their plants. They carried umbrellas as a way to be identified and not beaten by their allies until we also carried the same - a decent 'brolly' with a solid shaft isn't such a bad weapon either.
So 'passerby' take yer umbrella and put it you know where.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Oct 22, 2018 6:22:57 PM | 77

anonymous | Oct 22, 2018 1:42:25 PM | 26
Any alleged friendship between erdy and kashoggi is 100% unimportant because if there is one thing we have learned here over the years is that these types (ie the sort of sociopath who climbs to the top of a power structure) have no friends. Maybe Kashoggi imagined they were friends as he has constructed his life as a friend pimp getting close to people in power acting all friendly then using the friendship to crawl up another step, but Erdy would have been under no illusions about the relationship.
Another alleged friendship the despicable Kushner and the equally loathsome Fishy bin Salman, is about as real as a two dollar rolex - just watch Kushner put the boot in as Fishy goes down. He will fake tears of despair about Fishy while he says something foul to distance himself from the filthy arab to show dad and the rest of the family that he always knew that ayrabs were only fit to clean a jew's toilet.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Oct 22, 2018 6:37:28 PM | 78

Yonatan @ 44, Greece @ 61:

I posted this reply to LittleWhiteCabbage on a previous MoA comments thread:

LittleWhiteCabbage @ 223:

I would not trust Hatice Cengiz (the fiancée) even if Jamal Khashoggi did.

Apparently her family did not know she was engaged to marry him until the news of his disappearance / murder became public. She has not been living with her birth family for some time. She first met Khashoggi only in May this year. She is linked to a humanitarian aid organisation IHH whose head Bulent Yıldırım appears to have links with ISIS and al Qaeda.
https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/10/18/Khashoggi-s-alleged-fianc-e-and-ties-to-a-radical-charity-linked-to-ISIS-al-Qaeda.html
https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/former-turkish-counter-terror-chief-exposes-governments-support-for-isis-d12238698f52

Methinks we would be wise not to give this 36-year-old "girl" a pass.

Incidentally the first link is now down but you can still read the Insurge Intelligence link about IHH.

Cengiz has now been placed under 24-hour police protection in Istanbul.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 22, 2018 6:38:56 PM | 79

There is every chance that the Trump/Netanyahoo bid to war on Iran will dissipate if Mohammed bone Saw and his driver MbZ are neutered from this fiasco. Without those two Mb's in their pocket there little chance of going belligerent as it would need Israel military to initiate; unlikely but not impossible.

Simultaneously the sultan of turkey has upped his authority as leader of the sunni world, for a week or two anyway. The entire spectacle is one of fiercely armed oafs bludgeoning away in an arena.

This stupid stuff could lead to a dreadful conflagration and its always the people that get sacrificed. Don't take your eyes off Palestine as there is about to be a genocide under cover of this stupidity.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 22, 2018 6:42:56 PM | 80

To have an idea of MbS's mind, we have to take into account the following story:

A few month ago, in France, a Saudi Princess, one of so many, was angry at her
maid. As a result she insisted that her bodyguards kill her.

Since they were not on Saudi territory, the bodyguards took counsel and refused
to carry out the execution. She was mightily incensed that her orders were not
carried out.

So, if any little Saudi Princess feels she has the right to order an execution on a simple
whim, think about how proportionally stronger MbS desire to silence a
critic of his realm and his person must be.

So he will not understand that the only thing he had to do was issue a decree
condemning Khassoghi to death for treason to the crown.

Then, abducting and killing Khassoghi would have been a "legal act" that could
have been placed under the umbrella of a justice sentence.

But since he believes I am the law, anything he orders cannot be disputed.

Posted by: CarlD | Oct 22, 2018 6:51:19 PM | 81

79

Eager to jump in front of the news cycle ahead of his slumlord son-in-law Czar Kushner, who had up until now held control over any official WH statements about Isreal, KSA, Khassoghi and MbS, Donald Trump has just fatwah'd another juicy tweet:

“He’s not Lyin’ Salman any more. He’s Beautiful Mohammed! I call him Suleman Salman,” Trump explained, without explaining.

A gathered mob of sycophant Texicani acolytes accepted his fatwah as they always do: with a look of puzzlement, then a 'baby-just-dropped-a-load' smile, then rafter-ringing raucous cheers. Duce! Duce! Duce!

Outside the convention center, LGBTFs rioted over Trump's false-flag fatwah that DoJ Sessions had signed new rules into Fed law that will only recognize biological sex, and will allow full and open discrimination against those who practice 'fluid sexuality'.

Any lie, no matter how perverse, to circle the Rabbinical wagons donkey carts! On to Tehran! JustGoVote!

Posted by: Anton Worter | Oct 22, 2018 7:10:47 PM | 82

Posted by: CarlD | Oct 22, 2018 6:51:19 PM | 82

Yep one of things we tend to politely ignore , well western 'leaders' ignore, is that slavery is alive and well in KSA. It occasionally comes to light when Filipino (from Mindanao & followers of islam) or Bangladeshi 'guest workers' escape and reveal the truth about their sorry existence as a maid or chauffeur even construction worker - the same mindset applied albeit to a somewhat lesser extent in Qatar until the world cup construction projects got FIFA (which at that point was run by a club of euro-socialist turned neolibs) involved who finally couldn't deal with the horror show and lent on the emir to enact some basic labour laws. The results have been mixed. It is a mindset and I'm afraid the only way to 'fix' it rapidly is to do as the French and Russians had to, that is remove the foulness from the planet.
When humans imbibe entitlement with their mother's milk the rest of us can never be sure that the indoctrination has been totally removed.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Oct 22, 2018 7:11:49 PM | 83

@56 said;"The man who runs such a country is therefore a vital strategic Western interest. It is important that he is mentally stable."

Nope, the more compliant foreign leaders are to wants and desires of the empire, dictates their futures, not their mental state.

DJT proves that point..

@ 63 said;" Americans are woefully uninformed and indifferent towards international affairs. They base their votes on the domestic economy, cultural issues and ideology."

Exactly! Mr. K's demise won't make a ripple.

Never underestimate the sheer indifference and stupidity of the American "voter"..

Posted by: ben | Oct 22, 2018 8:03:40 PM | 84

CarlD @82--

About a week ago, I provided to fellow barflies a similar scenario/excuse MbS might utilize while noting that Saudi was one of the last holdouts when it came to the validity of the Divine Right of Kings Doctrine. And even now after all the bumbling claptrap, within Saudi none of that matters--The King/Crown Prince can do no wrong doctrinally AND legally. Most don't like it, but that's the reality within Saudi. Perhaps this incident will cause that doctrine to finally perish.

Given the Climate Crisis, removing Saudi's contribution of @8.5Mbbls/day to the global oil market would be a blessing and cause an immediate recession. But that would have to be done via the UNSC, and the only rationale it could bring forth is Saudi's war on Yemen. Unfortunately, there really isn't much that can be done justice-wise as within Saudi there's no justice.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 22, 2018 8:10:13 PM | 85

anonymous@1

"Mr. Erdogan was a personal friend of Mr. Khashoggi’s, who had worked for decades as a star commentator in the Saudi-owned media and was also a former Brotherhood member with many friends in the group. Yet even after Mr. Erdogan was briefed on intelligence reports that Saudi agents had assassinated and dismembered his friend, Turkish officials said, the president refrained from publicly accusing the Saudis, to avoid a full diplomatic rupture."

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/21/world/middleeast/erdogan-khashoggi-turkey-saudi-arabia.html

----

"Erdogan was a personal friend of Khashoggi’s, but of course it’s unlikely his government is acting solely out of concern for the dissident writer...

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/10/turkey-saudi-khashoggi-erdogans.html

Posted by: daffyDuct | Oct 22, 2018 8:31:48 PM | 86

Wheres Paul with his Putin is weak? We miss you. Passer By is correct. Important (WAPO) people have invested in this payback and Trump is one taking a hiding. However if the same 'people wanted to get Trump they could taken him down with a bombing Assad on fake White Hats and Bellingcat evidence and the reason why this is because important elites and security organizations (CIA) DON"T WANT TO END THE WAR IN SYRIA. What about Yulia Skripal who has been kidnapped by the British, no #metoo, or protest about Yulia/Sergi Skripal kidnapped and possible murder.

Posted by: Col from OZ | Oct 22, 2018 8:35:31 PM | 87

@Posted by: ben | Oct 22, 2018 8:03:40 PM | 85

You guys are undoubtedly correct when considering the voters as a whole, but no one does that any more since more than 80% almost never change from the team they selected in their 30's when they first 'settled down'. There is however a small percentage of the credulous who consider themselves informed, the so-called floating voters who can change at any point, turn on a dime or whatever and those are the votes once ignored by the trumpet, which he and the rest of the republican portion of the empire party are desperate to get onside as polling over the last year indicates they have lapped up russiagate and all the rest, so are likely to return a dem house of reps which will make agent orange's projects more difficult or at least more expensive since members of the other team are gonna require considerable 'persuasion' of the lucre and increased power kind, to go against their whip.

Hence the messages from all portions of the AEP that "mbs must be brought to heel" when we know that given a choice, none of the AEP, rethugs or dems really want to do this. Those pesky elections, they are all hoping to draw the kerfuffle out until they are over but ol' Erdy doesn't seem interested in playing ball. Of course that may change too, but b's scenario is currently the most likely.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Oct 22, 2018 8:41:33 PM | 88

@87

good counter! esp. with the zionist sources. anonymous@1 is obviously a hasbara troll.

Posted by: zink | Oct 22, 2018 8:42:05 PM | 89

Actually, a more interesting contrast than Skripal vs. Kashoggi, that I have not seen pursued even in the alt-progressive media, is the contrasting reactions to the fates of Kashoggi and Assange. A Deep State toady generating more printer's ink than all the Wahabi-orchestrated deaths in Yemen and Syria combined, versus virtual radio silence by the corporate media regarding the arbitrary detention and silencing of one of the most influential journalists of this or any age.

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Oct 22, 2018 8:57:08 PM | 90

@ karlof1 with the Divine Rights of Kings history..thanks

Now we are talking about the evolution of the Western form of social organization and not palace intrigue, thanks.

Those kings with Divine Rights went to the private finance folk when they wanted to go to war.

Perhaps we have seen a pattern here. Will it be extended/repeated, as it has evolved with global plutocrats, into the future?

Are we watching sausage being made? What flavors?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 22, 2018 9:29:16 PM | 91

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRG8lA3v0sg
is an interview with As`ad AbuKhalil, Professor of Political Science in California, and a left-wing Saudi Arab-speaker.

He says Khashoggi was a Wahhabist Islamist, a mujahideen fighter against the Russians in Afghanistan, and a friend of Osama bin Laden. He became a fixer for Princes in the Saudi court, including the evil Prince Turki bin Abdulaziz and later Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. He had no problem with Saudi Royal family's medieval ways as long as he was on the inside. He also described Khashoggi as "a CIA asset". His writings in WaPo were quite different from his writings in Arabic.

The CIA asset part might explain how he got a green card and plum job at WaPo, and why the US seems to care so much about his demise. The Saudi rulers used to listen to the court's opinions before making their decisions, but MBS changed all that, not taking any family advice. Khashoggi wrote against this in Arabic.

When things seem unclear or stupid, it is because you are not fully informed.

Posted by: Palloy | Oct 22, 2018 9:35:01 PM | 92

The Saudi bmobing - with US bmobs - of the Yemeni School Bus Full of Babies was truly and completely horrifying - rotten and utterly detestable by anyone's standards (except for Trump, Hillary, Bill, Bolton, Graham, Biden, All the Bush's, Rick Scott and etc.)

And Newsworthy. But it was, instead, crickets chirping in that deep east Texas nighttime.

Khashoggi is news, because they say its news. They make it news.

Why? BC it fits an agenda. Somebody wants MBS out.

Posted by: fast freddy | Oct 22, 2018 9:50:02 PM | 93

The bigger play here is bringing turkey back into the western fold. Lose turkey you lose the whole middle east. also, a secondary play - guardianship of Mecca. SA an unreliable partner under mbs.

Posted by: m | Oct 22, 2018 10:03:51 PM | 94

A few thoughts.
If Khashoggi considered himself a friend of Erdogan's, and erdogan considered him usefull to Turkey alive, it is doubtful he would have been required to obtain official divorce papers to re-marry in Turkey. Although there are laws against polygamy in Turkey, there are a few cases, one close to the leadership according to wikipedia.
What are the chances he was required to obtain the divorce papers, and then given Erdogan's personal assurance on his safety to get him into the consulate.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22, 2018 10:35:04 PM | 95

fast freddy | Oct 22, 2018 9:50:02 PM | 94

"Khashoggi is news, because they say its news. They make it news."

sort of, remembering that in this case 'they' could be a small clique of architects/engineers or equally, 'they' could be the usual kneejerk reactionary and reactive newspeople who have never failed to sell stories which feature unwhite types in unflattering situations, played by Erdy's media sophistication. Delicately letting our eyes savour each morsel before eventually allowing us all to snack down for a taste sensation, then just as we begin to lose the palate memory, bringing forward yet another tiny treat for our visual delectation.

IOW the yemeni babies were remiss in not hiring a press agent before they got blown into pink mist.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Oct 22, 2018 11:05:21 PM | 96

The body double wasn't just masking a crime but setting up the Turkeys as the culprit.

We've speculated on a possible 'honeypot' scenario for Khashoggi ...

... is there a 'honeypot' for MbS? One that might flatter his manly ego and cajole him into taking misguided action?

Oh, we in the Administration completely understand your need to crack down on the royals - don't worry, we got your back!

Oh jeez, Erdogan is wrecking everything, look what he did now ...

Erdogan is still "turning east"! If only there was someone bold enough to do something about that guy!

Etc.


I wonder if b is suggesting that MbS's honeypot is MbZ? He is both Mentor and competitor (as he wants Yemen's ports for Dubai World).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 22, 2018 11:17:07 PM | 97

Peter AU 1 | Oct 22, 2018 10:35:04 PM | 97
Sorry Peter I still disagree on this because even if Jamal 'the Pig' had been given a civil divorce via Erdy, that wouldn't have permitted remarriage in the eyes of the old Islamic scholars who you can be certain that his prospective bride would have insisted on getting the approval of. Not to mention the amerikan immigration mob who have always struck me as being even more racist and indoctrinated into the belief that they alone are protecting their nation's culture from exotic taint than any other immigrazi in any other whitefella countries, and believe me that is really saying something since I know of few more racially biased than the front-lines of Oz, Aotearoan, english, French & German immigration departments.

As for Erdy - well he didn't get this lucky by accident. I would say he is an extremely good 'reader' of other humans. Just look at the way he dripped out the data, if this was a plan and I am by no means convinced it was, the entire play could have been destroyed on day 1 by Fishy bin Salman making a partial confession of the type he eventually had to make.
I betcha erdy didn't go into this believing he was gonna have Fishy's head in a consumme, yet that is how it is panning out simply because Fishy's megalomania and hubris wouldn't allow Fishy to imagine the reaction to what he considered was a perfectly reasonable stone-walling of the hoi polloi.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Oct 22, 2018 11:30:40 PM | 98

Peter AU 1 | Oct 22, 2018 10:35:04 PM | 97


Sorry Peter I still disagree on this because even if Jamal 'the Pig' had been given a civil divorce via Erdy, that wouldn't have permitted remarriage in the eyes of the old Islamic scholars who you can be certain that his prospective bride would have insisted on getting the approval of. Not to mention the amerikan immigration mob who have always struck me as being even more racist and indoctrinated into the belief that they alone are protecting their nation's culture from exotic taint than any other immigrazi in any other whitefella countries, and believe me that is really saying something since I know of few more racially biased than the front-lines of Oz, Aotearoan, english, French & German immigration departments.

As for Erdy - well he didn't get this lucky by accident. I would say he is an extremely good 'reader' of other humans. Just look at the way he dripped out the data, if this was a plan and I am by no means convinced it was, the entire play could have been destroyed on day 1 by Fishy bin Salman making a partial confession of the type he eventually had to make.
I betcha erdy didn't go into this believing he was gonna have Fishy's head in a consumme, yet that is how it is panning out simply because Fishy's megalomania and hubris wouldn't allow Fishy to imagine the reaction to what he considered was a perfectly reasonable stone-walling of the hoi polloi.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Oct 22, 2018 11:33:04 PM | 99

OT for psychohistorian:

STORY
Vote Yes on Measure B - Los Angeles
On November 6th, vote #YesOnB on Measure/ Charter Amendment B to take the first step towards exploring the creation of a socially, economically & environmentally responsible public bank - owned by the people of Los Angeles! #PublicBankLA
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See More


It's a beginning, but the big banks are spending millions to defeat it.

Posted by: ben | Oct 22, 2018 11:33:44 PM | 100

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