Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 17, 2018

Saudis Stonewall On Khashoggi But Pressure Will Increase

The most interesting aspect of the botched assassination of Jamal Khashoggi is the insight it creates into political conflicts in U.S. domestic and international policies.

The Saudi clown prince Mohammad bin Salman unwittingly did a huge favor to Turkey's president Erdogan when he send a crew to abduct or kill Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Erdogan is in a historic geopolitical conflict with Saudi Arabia over supremacy in the Middle East.

The Turks had the Saudi consulate bugged. Every country in the world tries to plant listening devices into foreign embassies and consulates. It is no surprise then that the Turks know what happened within the consulate and use the evidence to squeeze the Saudis. Erdogan knows how to play the media and does his very best to drag out the story. He will press the Saudis for financial and political gains.

On Monday the White House floated the idea that a 'rogue killer' was responsible for the ghastly deed in Istanbul. Trump himself led the campaign:

President Donald Trump on Monday repeatedly highlighted the Saudi King's denial of involvement in the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, at one point offering up an alternative theory that "rogue killers," rather than agents of the Saudi regime, were involved.

U.S. media made it seem as if the Saudis were flying that test ballon. But the Saudis rejected it way out. They say, to this day, that they are not aware that anything happened in their consulate at all. It was likely Netanyahoo's errand-boy in the White House, Jared Kushner, who floated the 'rogue killer' tale:

A senior Trump administration official said Kushner has a close relationship with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the heir to the Saudi throne, and the pair have been in direct phone conversations about Khashoggi. These calls have been part of a White House push to get Saudi Arabia to participate in an investigation into Khashoggi’s case.

Anyway - the ballon was filled with lead. Erdogan had already made sure that such a story would not fly.

This site reported on Wednesday October 10 that the men the Turks had identified were directly related to the clown prince:

The Turkish government published pictures of 15 men who had come from Saudi Arabia and were in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul shortly before Khashoggi visited it to get his divorce papers. They moved Khashoggi to the residence of the consul and later that day flew back on the same two private Saudi jets that had brought them to Istanbul.

At least 8 of the 15 men have been identified as Saudi royal military. At least three are bodyguards of the Saudi clown prince Mohammad bin Salman. It is thereby obvious that the clown prince himself gave the order for the operation. One of the 15 is Dr. Salah Muhammed Al-Tubaigy, the head of forensic evidence at the Saudi General Security Department.

It took the U.S. media a week to explain to their readers that the killers are part of MbS' personal entourage. Today the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post finally put the above 'news' onto their frontpages.

Why did the media held back on this so for so long?

After the Saudis rejected the 'rogue' fairytale. Trump stepped back from it and points to the lack of any confession:

President Donald Trump launched a concerted defense of Saudi Arabia for the disappearance and suspected murder of Jamal Khashoggi, saying the country's crown prince "totally denied" knowledge about the suspected death of the Washington Post journalist and complaining that the country was being assumed "guilty until proven innocent."

This is fully in line with the Saudi strategy. They do not admit anything, not even something 'rogue'. They do not want to make a deal - yet. When Secretary of State visited yesterday they did did not even talk about the publicly known facts:

Reporter: Did they say that Khashoggi was alive or dead?
Secretary Pompeo: I don't want to talk about any of the facts. They didn't want to either.

They Saudis only promised to investigate themselves.

Some people seem to believe that the Turks somehow vanished Khashoggi and fabricated the evidence. But there has been no explanation by the Saudis or anyone else for the two Saudi jets, owned by the king, that were tracked flying to Istanbul and left the same day to return to Riyadh.

Flight data collected by AirNavRadarBox, a firm that tracks private and commercial planes all over the world, showed that the first of the two planes left Riyadh late Oct. 1 and touched down in Istanbul the following day at 3:15 a.m.
Flight data shows that a second private jet, believed by investigators to be transporting the rest of the team, touched down in Istanbul at 5:15 p.m. It is unclear whether those on board traveled to either the consulate or the residence. It departed an hour and 15 minutes after it arrived, heading for Cairo. Twenty-five hours after its arrival in Cairo, the plane left for Riyadh.

There are also hotel records and CCTV video showing the Saudi team. There is no way Turkey could have faked all of this. The Saudi government made no serious attempt to explain why these people, including the clown prince's personal body guards, flew to Istanbul and were in the consulate when Khashoggi entered it. MbS also had a motive. Khashoggi was a Muslim Brotherhood and intelligence asset that had turned into a mouthpiece for the internal opposition against the Salmans.

MbS is the first Saudi ruler who broke the families rules of consultation and monopolized the decision making. He jailed and tortured other princes to rob them of their money. The people MbS hurt were talking to Khashoggi who had a public perch at the Washington Post to vent their grievances:

[Prince] Ahmed was appalled at the destructive nature of MbS' policies and his recklessness. [..] Jamal Khashoggi knew this. While it spoke volumes about his agreeable nature, it also sometimes was a curse that senior royals liked to sound off to him.
There are other Saudi royals out there, less in seniority to Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, yet also sons and nephews of kings. It is their reaching out to Jamal, relayed to MbS by his fawning apparatchiks, that created an incendiary environment in his office and led to that death warrant.

That explanation makes sense. One of the Saudis identified in Istanbul was Maher Abdilaziz Mutreb, a body guard who is regularly seen traveling with MbS. In 2011 Mutreb was trained in the use of spy software by the Italian surveillance malware vendor Hacking Team. He is one of MbS' 'fawning apparatchiks' who spy on other royals and their contacts to journalists in the west.

We can lay the conspiracy theory that Erdogan faked the incident to rest. He was simply lucky that MbS was stupid enough to let his hapless bodyguards kill Khashoggi in Turkey, where he had top connections to an anti-Saudi ruler who did not hesitate to escalate the issue into a larger conflict.

After the Saudis rejected the 'rogue killer' plot and the first attempt of a deal failed, the well managed bit by bit revelations from Turkey restarted. Erdogan wants to make sure that the story stays on the frontpages until he gets his deal. Yesterday evening anonymous Turkish officials started to brief reporters about the content of the tape they have of the incident:

It took seven minutes for Jamal Khashoggi to die, a Turkish source who has listened in full to an audio recording of the Saudi journalist's last moments told Middle East Eye.
Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, who has been identified as the head of forensic evidence in the Saudi general security department, was one of the 15-member squad who arrived in Ankara earlier that day on a private jet.

Tubaigy began to cut Khashoggi’s body up on a table in the study while he was still alive, the Turkish source said.

The killing took seven minutes, the source said.

As he started to dismember the body, Tubaigy put on earphones and listened to music. He advised other members of the squad to do the same.

“When I do this job, I listen to music. You should do [that] too,” Tubaigy was recorded as saying, the source told MEE.

The described scene proves that the Saudis are very 'moderate', even kuffaar (unbelievers) in the eye of extreme Islamists. As an experience Middle East correspondent snarked:

Elijah J. Magnier @ejmalrai

I tell you what is the difference between #ISIS & #SaudiArabia practice:
- #ISIS will never listen to music while beheading & dismembering their victim
- #SaudiArabia, due to the moderate reformer MBS, listen to Music while cutting the body of #Khashoggi

Parts of the audio tape were handed over to a Turkish outlet but are not yet public. They will be released when it fits Erdogan's strategy.

Yesterday the Turkish police tried to search the residence of the Saudi consul in Istanbul. The killer team went there after they left the consulate. The police assumes that Khashoggi's body, or its parts, are buried in the residency's garden. But the consul left unexpectedly to Riyadh and warned that the residency is under diplomatic protection. The police has no right to search it without Saudi consent.

Secretary of State Pompeo tries his best to negotiate between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. His task is to limit the damage the incident does to the house of Saud and especially to MbS. But the Saudis stonewalled, while Erdogan played the tape to him.

As longer the dealing takes, the more gruesome will be the details dripped from Turkish sources.

The backlash against the Saudis in U.S. media and in Congress will only increase.The incident has international consequences. The managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, announced that she will not attend next week's Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh. She follows a long list of CEOs and media moguls who canceled their attendance. The foreign ministers of the G7 issued a statement demanding an investigation. The scandal is bad for the future of Saudi Arabia's economy. The mood in Riyadh is fraught.

The Washington Post, for which Khashoggi wrote opinion pieces, will not let go of the issue. Nor will other U.S. media.

Everyone but Trump wants to see MbS leave. Even Senator Graham Lindsay, a warmongering ally of Donald Trump, promises to get rid of Mohammad bin Salman:

“I’m not going back to Saudi Arabia as long as this guy is in charge,” Graham said of bin Salman. “I’ve been their biggest defender on the floor of the United States Senate. This guy is a wrecking ball. He had [Khashoggi] murdered in a consulate in Turkey and to expect me to ignore it, I feel used and abused. The MBS figure is to me toxic, he can never be a world leader on the world stage.”

“It’s up to the president, but what I would do — Well, I know what I’m going to do. I’m gonna sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia,” Graham added when asked if Trump should impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia.

One wonders what Graham's motives are. On several issues - Iran, Israel, Syria - MbS is fully in line with his policies. Who then is lobbying him to work against MbS? It is not the Zionist lobby. The Israelis surely want to keep MbS as they can play him like a fiddle.

Could the United Arab Emirates and their current strongman Mohammed bin Zayed be behind Graham's stand?

While MbZ is publicly a dear friend of MbS, both have recently clashed in their common attack on Yemen. MbS wants the Yemeni oil fields, a pipeline from Saudi Arabia through west Yemen, and a port where Saudi oil can be shipped from without passage through the Iran controlled Street of Hormuz.

But the ports of Yemen are the bounty MbZ wants to win for Dubai Port World which is “one of the instruments of [the UAE’s] global affirmation strategy.” He wants to control all of the Yemeni coast and all of its islands. The clash between Saudi Arabia and the UAE in Yemen is obvious for the people on the ground. The UAE even hired U.S. mercenaries to kill off locals leaders belonging to the Islah party which is a Saudi assets.

It is the UAE and its ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba who spend more on lobbying Washington than any other Arab country - at least $21.3 million in 2017. There are connections between UAE lobbying and Lindsay Graham through Elliott Broidy who also raised funds for Trump's election campaign.

A major Trump foreign policy is the new sanction regime against Iran. But without extra oil pumped by the Saudis the new sanctions on Iranian oil, which go into effect in early November, will increase oil prices and tank the U.S. economy.

It seems that MbS decided to sit out the storm over his murder of Khashoggi. He can pressure Trump by holding back oil exports. Trump would probably like to follow that strategy, if only to avoid any oil shortages. But the domestic and international pressure seems to become too big. As Erdogan continues the drip by drip release of sensational evidence and the Washington Post piles on, Trump will have to do something more than sending Pompeo for useless talks.

Stopping all U.S. support for the war on Yemen would be good start.

But it would not be enough. MbS needs to be removed.

The Trump administration has no ambassador in Saudi Arabia. The White House connection to the Saudi rulers ran solely through the Kushner-MbS phone-line. But that line is now useless. Trump will need to send someone who has good relations with the King himself. Only he can remove the clown prince. The King is 82 years old and not in good health. MbS might well be ruthless enough to suddenly let him die. Trump will have to act as soon as possible. 

Posted by b on October 17, 2018 at 17:47 UTC | Permalink

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Skripal and Khashoggi: A Tale of Two Disappearances

Two disappearances, and two very different responses from Western governments, which illustrates their rank hypocrisy.

When former Russian spy Sergei Skripal went missing in England earlier this year, there was almost immediate punitive action by the British government and its NATO allies against Moscow. By contrast, Western governments are straining with restraint towards Saudi Arabia over the more shocking and provable case of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Posted by: Samba | Oct 18 2018 9:25 utc | 101

Senator Graham Lindsay

Sounds like a New Guy. Whatever happened to his namesake Lindsay Graham ?

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | Oct 18 2018 9:54 utc | 102

@90 Circe

Dude, the 28 pages were released. Even allowing for censorship (I refuse to go along with this "redaction" newspeak), these showed that the Saudis were guilty as hell. It was so blatant that yes, there are unavoidable questions if the US Govt didn't want to notice what was brewing. Now of course those pages are not infallible gospel, but what is a fact is that the whole system immediately went about downplaying the whole thing.

Russia always hopes for "the truth will set you free" regarding who's fighting vs who's supporting terror (even as they themselves now give hardcore Islamists a pass so long as they're Turkish not Saudi proxies). But we're living in the Brave New World for years already. Or has it always been this way, only now the internet enables us to see the glitches in the matrix; looks like that will be taken from us soon enough anyway.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Oct 18 2018 10:01 utc | 103

The convenient elimination of the suspects is beginning in the Wahhabite Kingdom. Who is next?

A Turkish newspaper reported on Oct. 18 that one of the suspects involved in the disappearance of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi died in a “suspicious car accident” in Riyadh.

Posted by: Virgile | Oct 18 2018 10:24 utc | 104

Hoarsewhisperer 81

Seeing Oz wanting to move the embassy to Jerusalem just makes my total disgust of the fascist puppet state my country has become complete. Was reading that the most visited country for Oz sniveling politicians is...Israel. Are they a major trading partner, a nearby country, of any importance to us at all? Are they going for the sun, sand, culture, or just paying homage to their paymasters?
I'll be retiring to Asia soon enough, then Ill just tune out the news (especially Oz) and get on with more productive endeavors.

Posted by: Rancid | Oct 18 2018 10:56 utc | 105

Another good piece by Magnier on how Russia and Syria are waiting for the right time to retake Idlib ('the first line of defense for the US')


""Sources close to decision makers in Syria said: “There is no doubt the entire Syrian territory will return to the control of the Syrian government, including Idlib and al-Hasaka. The Qunietra and Nasib crossing between Syria and Jordan has reopened. Soon the borders between Syria and Iraq will re-open now that there is a new prime minister in Iraq”.""

""Saudi Arabia and its allies are no longer willing to continue the war in Syria and they have stopped financing jihadists and rebels.""

""Middle Eastern leaders and the Arab League are prepared to receive back among them the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad as they acknowledge that the regime change operation has failed. Turkey has been given more time and the liberation of Idlib has been postponed. The jihadists and rebels are not yet convinced that the war is over and haven’t yet realized that no country will supply them with weapons any longer. They are only buying time and their fate is sealed. In al-Hasaka Kurdish militants will come to understand that the US forces can’t stay for long. The US base at al-Tanaf will be abandoned mainly because the al-Rukban refugee camp – 80,000 to 90,000 refugees supplied by the US and surrounded by the Syrian and Iraqi armies – has become a burden and because the al-Bu Kamal crossing will reopen soon. It is time for the Kurds to understand that they can only survive by coming to terms with Damascus.""

Nardeep Pujji

Replying to @nytimes

the same Journo-Jihadi Jamal Khashoggi who praised the ISIS beheadings of 200 captured Syrian soldiers in #Raqqa as an “effective psychological military tactic”
Khashoggi was tortured and dismembered the same way the ISIS does it.

Its called Karma

Posted by: financial matters | Oct 18 2018 11:27 utc | 106

Ref.: KSA Pulp Fiction/Evidence
The electric saw has spoken.
"Fingerprints found during the search include those of Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, an autopsy expert from Naif Arab University for Security Sciences.

He is among the 15 men suspected of forming a Saudi hit squad to kill Khashoggi. His fingerprints were found around an electrical socket in the consulate."

Or someone here will tell me the guy needed to shave?

Posted by: Mina | Oct 18 2018 11:51 utc | 107

Us explanation:
complete f@cking nonsense.
No roque killers happened to walk into a consulate. This does not happen in a dictatorship, Everybody is watched.
This was sanctioned from highest levels , IF it indeed did happen.
But the action is much in line with the reputatuion of the Saudi secret service, thugs, thieves and muderers, it is not Smiley's People.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Oct 18 2018 11:59 utc | 108

I bet Hillary "it's all monica's fault" Clinton is glad this is one "phonecall" she didn't have to deal with. She might have been expected to return all the "donations" her "foundation" received from the Saudis

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Oct 18 2018 12:13 utc | 109

@ Brian 75
That is a very good comment.
I would say the hint leads to the Evil Empire, because most nasty stuff has origens in the CIA or Mossad. I doubt it was Mossad this time though, they would not be that stupid.
Zio Israel better lay low. so we are waiting.
It is not possible to stock up provisions for a 20 year haul. Not to say for 4 persons.
I am honestly worried.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Oct 18 2018 12:14 utc | 110

if they didn't want to hear the guy scream and gurgle they could have killed him first.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Oct 18 2018 12:17 utc | 111

I have been told the tapes are real. They are in the hand of all , if not every intelligence organ in the world.
Source anonymous person/persons in Turkey.I have not heard it or seen it, but someone I know said it was probably very true. And he is in the know.
Now whether this is a scam, I dont know, but a very expensive (favors) phonecall said so much.
I know nothing more.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Oct 18 2018 12:25 utc | 112

Posted by: Circe | Oct 18, 2018 1:18:45 AM | 90
(9/11 Commission Report)

If the Top Secret 28 pages fail to explain what caused NORAD to go Missing In Action on 9/11, for the first time in its history that US faced an external threat, tailor-made for NORAD, including whose(**) "brilliant" idea it was to divert Air Traffic Control's hotline to NORAD, from NORAD to an unattended telephone in the Pentagon, then they can shove the 28 pages where the sun doesn't shine.

Prior to 9/11 NORAD was chasing every suspicious aircraft movement in the USA to a conclusion. I recall an incident in which NORAD was alerted to a Lear Jet which was in breach of its flight plan and not responding to ATC communication attempts. NORAD checked it out and deduced that the fogged windows meant that it had de-pressurised and everyone on board was either dead or incapacitated. NORAD kept the Lear Jet under close observation to ensure it didn't endanger assets on the ground, until it ran out of fuel and crashed in an unpopulated rural area. Had it endangered people on the ground NORAD would have followed SOP and shot it down.

(**) My favourite rumour says it was Rumsfeld (Mr Unknown knowns).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 18 2018 12:55 utc | 113

Posted by: Mark2 | Oct 17, 2018 7:01:56 PM | 57

Politics is like cards or chess you don’t want to show your opponent your hand
Treating International Politics as a game of poker is one of the very big reasons why the US hegemony has voluntarily put itself in danger.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 18 2018 13:03 utc | 114

Khashoggi is said to have entered the Saudi consulate around 13:30 Oct.2. His fiancée allegedly waited for him in front of the building until 21:00, five hours after closing time. This is what a NYT article told:
that appeared the same date. East Coast Time was 2:00 p.m. when Hatice Cengiz is said to have raised alarm at the earliest.

A timeline Al Jazeera gave yesterday:
contradicts the initial NYT-report.

It was sunday the 7th when the Turkish Government, Erdogan himself, finally reacted officially in an appeasing statement. Earlier there were just rumors, spread relentlessly by WaPo, NYT and Reuters. E.g. Reuters 10/06:

But as early as Oct. 10th U.S. Senators Bob Corker and Bob Menendez, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Lindsey Graham and Patrick Leahy of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, triggered an investigation and Global Magnitsky sanctions determination regarding the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.
This would be the most "deadly" non-lethal weapon against the allegiance of MbS the US-UK have.

Wouldn't you say this timeline is telling, meant to be telling?

Posted by: TomGard | Oct 18 2018 13:12 utc | 115

Here's a very cutting article on why Facebook [actually together with Google and Twitter, of course] are the critically rigging the US [and other worldwide] elections:

The People 'Stopping Election Interference' Are the Ones Who Are Actually Rigging the Election

Posted by: BM | Oct 18 2018 13:21 utc | 116

B. has written:

Some people seem to believe that the Turks somehow vanished Khashoggi and fabricated the evidence. But there has been no explanation by the Saudis or anyone else for the two Saudi jets, owned by the king, that were tracked flying to Istanbul and left the same day to return to Riyadh.

Someone else pointed to the joke before: Do you really believe, 15 high ranking Saudis are needed and send for a simple hit-job? This kind of "evidence" is much more exonerating than incriminating!

Posted by: TomGard | Oct 18 2018 14:02 utc | 117

Check this out:

Saudi Arabia’s Great Tumbling Down – The Boy Who Wanted to be King is No More

Posted by: William Bowles | Oct 18 2018 14:05 utc | 118


Senator Bob Graham former Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee during 9 /11 was interviewed by at least two news channels this week including CNN. During both interviews he specifically states that the Trump Administration is refusing to release incriminating documents that prove the Saudi Government was directly involved in 9/II and other incidents.


I mistook his statement for the 28 pages which were released but in redacted form during the Obama administration. Apparently there is OTHER MORE INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE. Perhaps the still classified documents refer to ALL foreign involvement including Israeli involvement. Trump the flag hugger can't have his closest TWO allies and financiers exposed.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 18 2018 14:47 utc | 119

Why was Khasoggi killed? The motive is perhaps the most perplexing part of this mystery. Now that it has happened it seems the chequebook is open. Already a $100 million for refugee freedom fighters in Syria. Erdogan must not have gotten what he wants because the leaks keep dripping. Has anyone else noticed he has a name out of Lord of the Rings, and is a character out of Game of Thrones.

Posted by: steve | Oct 18 2018 14:49 utc | 120

Laguerre @ 114
Totally agree with your comment, if we lived in an ideal world, but as we don’t our high morals don’t apply surly you’d agrree ! The topic discussed is war you can’t expect one side to give the other side plenty of notice of it’s future battle plans ! would be counter productive and to be avoided, as in this case under discussion. far better to make the world beleave the battle for Idlib was the main plan, whilst gaining a multi state bloodless agreement with numerous Middle Eastern states. After all there all being ‘ played’ by US &co
But as stated my comments are only optimism Good will to you.

Posted by: Mark2 | Oct 18 2018 15:05 utc | 121


And burj khalifa is the tower of Sauron in Mordor, better yet the 21st Century tower of Babylon.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 18 2018 15:21 utc | 122

If there were 15 Saudis meeting with Khashoggi at the Embassy, why do we assume that they were a hit team? Sounds like a many Saudis does it take to murder one journalist?

What's the Saudi equivalent of 'Hasbara'?

Maybe it was a negotiation.

Maybe it was a chess team.

Posted by: denzel_oats | Oct 18 2018 15:34 utc | 123

CE | 14
Thanks! So no apparent Saudi-government connection there… Instead they opted for the privacy and neutrality of small-scale commercial chartered flights. They also split up into 2 teams. Plus, as someone else here has pointed out, weird stopovers on the return flights. Almost looks like an attempt to have at least a minimum of cover and deniability, in spite of the rashness and improv.

Lysias | 15
Yes, my mistake! The consul-general.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Oct 18 2018 15:41 utc | 124

If the Turks have wired the Saudi Consulate to get the recordings and a video ( The Apple watch story is a fantasy), it implies that they knew about the plot to kill Kashooggi. By not warning him, they are accomplice to the murder.
Therefore the Turks will oppose any UN or independent investigation as it would reveal their complicity in the crime.
Despite been a Moslem Brotherhood and Qatar sympathizer, Kashooggi was not a friend of Turkey as he supported Saudi Arabia and wanted a greater involvement of the USA in the region( Support of the Kurds, Invasion of Yemen).
Turkey had not trouble to let him be sacrificed for the great power they would get over Saudi Arabia and the USA

The Turks have a huge responsibility in the death of Kashooggi by allowing it to happen. I hope it will be exposed.

Posted by: Virgile | Oct 18 2018 15:51 utc | 125


MbS would be S.auron or Nim.rod. It could be art imitating life or history repeating itself.

I was wondering about a comment someone posted regarding the Turks having fore-knowledge of the plot against Khashoggi through spying on Saudis. It's possible that they intercepted conversations. In that case wouldn't they also have concrete proof MbS was involved but are reluctant to prove it by that means because it would also show they failed to foil the plot? The Turks may be hiding catch-22 intelligence.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 18 2018 15:56 utc | 126

reply to
"Perhaps a war with Saudi Arabia over Kuwait (some of the royals suggesting the use of force) is needed, then occupy Saudi Arabia after wiping out the House of Saud and seizing all their assets outside SA, and restricting supply of oil to the rest of the world to save the planet and support the new reserve currency (carbon dollar) with the US empowered to collect the carbon tax from those who purchase oil under their control. Pretty wild if thats to happen."
Posted by: Pft | Oct 17, 2018 7:42:24 PM | 63

Wow! Now that's a plan! I was going for something simple like a palace coup:)
I think at this point in time if the Prince doesn't shape up THEY are more likely to go for a palace coup and a simultaneous war against Iran than to play their much maligned Global Warming Card.
True they might use the war as an excuse, but there are still far too many skeptics worldwide. They need a few more years of HARP, vaccines and fructose syrup before they go for a World Green Tax IMO.

Posted by: frances | Oct 18 2018 16:22 utc | 127

Putin comments on Khashoggi:

"As far as I know, the missing journalist lived in the United States. He didn't live in Russia, but in the US. In this sense, of course, the US bears some responsibility for what happened to him. It goes without saying....

"First of all, we have to wait for the results of the probe. How can we, Russia, start souring relations with Saudi Arabia without knowing what really happened there? We don't know what really happened there. So why do we need to take some steps towards the deterioration of our relations if we don’t understand what is happening? But if someone understands and someone believes that a murder occurred, then I hope that some evidence will be provided. Based on this, we will make appropriate decisions."

As I anticipated, Putin commented on the similarity with Skripals without mentioning their names. Putin would certainly be briefed on the results of his ministers's visit to Saudi last Sunday & Monday and has perhaps talked to Erdogan or another Turk official on this topic. Putin may have said more than Sputnik relates, but I haven't seen the full transcript yet. His words about US involvement are certainly cryptic.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2018 16:24 utc | 128

@ Virgil 124,

While the Turks almost certainly let him walk to his doom, there is simply no way to ever prove it. First, because the Turks will never admit to bugging the embassy (hence the implausible apple watch story) Second, because even if they did admit it, they will always claim that they had no reason to believe KSA would murder a Saudi citizen walking into a consulate for routine paperwork. By they time they knew, it was too late to warn him.

Lastly, because the Turks are in possession of all the evidence and no one else is, they will decide what to release and what not to. So while we can strongly suspect Turkish foreknowledge and cynical use of Kashoggi followed by crocodile tears, no one will ever be able to prove it. OTOH, it looks like MBS involvement can be proven and not merely suspected. Which makes a world of difference.

Posted by: lysander | Oct 18 2018 16:46 utc | 129

@ Karlof1, 127

Putin is wise to mind his own business here. Neither the victim, nor the perps, nor the witnesses have any ties to Russia. This affair has all of Russia's enemies tied in knotts. Best to sit back and munch on popcorn.

Posted by: lysander | Oct 18 2018 16:50 utc | 130

@55,karlof1 and @58, uncle tungsten

I disagree with royal decree theory. The decree, secret of course, needs to bring back the defendant back to SA for a trial, albeit a kangaroo court and a sham. And when found guilty, his head would have been chopped.

But, if the reports are proved, dismemberment while listening to music does not qualify for a royal decree execution. It is a barbaric mafia style murder and no amount of royal decree can whitewash that. This has gone beyond those remedies as Lindsey Graham te al will not be able to back track from their harsh words and will have to go all the way. As cunning as they are, they also have to be able save face as clearly stated by Graham.

If they are able to sweep this under the rug, the least that will happen, will be that congress will force a pull out of Yemeni war, the war with Iran and even possibly sanctions against them have to be placed on hold.

This turd couldn’t possibly be polished this way, i.e a Royal Decree and business as usual.

Posted by: Alpi57 | Oct 18 2018 16:50 utc | 131

Kim Dotcom weighs in. Says this wasn't first time; check the jets used and link them to previous disappearances. But, again, the comment thread is where the real "entertainment" lies--the ignorance, naivete and arrogance are something to behold.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2018 16:50 utc | 132


I thought about it hard and I think your comments hide an agenda.

Arabs ARE fools, as it is amply demonstrated by a fool in charge of SA and another one in UAE who think they can influence world events on their own and without permission. Plus, their alliance with Israel and the zionists, thinking that in the end they will come out as victors and conquerers is further indisputable proof that they will remain and always be the fools that they are.

They will soon find out the hard way how expendable they are when they become too ambitious and deviate from the plan placed in front of them. They will be made examples of to show the rest who directs this tragic comedy called world foreign policy. History of Middle East and Latin America is full of these examples e.g. the Shah of Iran and OmarTorrijos. Compare to these two, MBS and MBZ are mere amoebas.

Posted by: Alpi57 | Oct 18 2018 17:08 utc | 133

Pft and frances

On page 22 of Trump's 2017 US national security strategy there is a section "Embrace Energy Dominance". "Priority Actions" in relation to energy dominance are on page 23.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18 2018 17:13 utc | 134

Alpi57 @130--

Thanks for your reply and critique. I'm sorry to say this but MbS will get away with his killing Khashoggi just as Obama got away with his weekly killings--there's little difference between dismemberment by drone-fired Hellfire missile and bone saws other than the rapidity. If MbS is to be judged a Barbarian, then so must Obama--and Trump, for he's doing no different.

Lysander @129--

Agreed! Putin likely knows more than he's admitting. Meanwhile, a review would show the Outlaw US Empire doesn't have as much leverage over MbS as it might think--Trump the arms salesman never got his customer to sign the actual contracts, thus no actual sale was finalized.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2018 18:11 utc | 135

Magnier has a new piece out titled "Saudi stops funding terror in Syria as the Arab League prepares to resume ties with Damascus: the time is not yet ripe for retaking Idlib"
And then reading through the last day or so of posts by ESHNI2

The Khashoggi games may be all about Idlib with Saudi's backing the Kurds plus the non Turk controlled jihadists in Idlib, Erdo may well have deliberately set the Saudi's up for a fall, rather than merely taking advantage of circumstances.

A term Putin has used often in the past "creating favorable conditions".

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18 2018 18:21 utc | 136

My comment at 135 brings me back to a much earlier question of why Khashoggi had to go to the Saudi embassy in Turkey in relation to marrying a Turkish woman. Was it an Erdogan Turkish requirement.. and then the release of the CIA pastor, so perhaps a faction - anti Trump faction - in the US working with Erdogan to set up the trap. Having Khashoggi sent to a place where unknown to the Saudi's, the Turks had total surveillance.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18 2018 18:36 utc | 137

Mnuchin has pulled out of next week's investors conference in KSA. He certainly isn't the first but he's the one that matters and it's likely a stampede for the exits will ensue.

MBS is fucking toast. Who takes his place hardly matters. Trump's all in with this toxic regime and will fall in love with the replacement just as he has fallen in love with Kim and sundry other individuals.

Meanwhile,back at the ranch, it's business as usual as the poor are stripped of their healthcare, immigrant children are caged and environmental and banking regs are rolled back so the real looting can begin. MAGA

Posted by: peter | Oct 18 2018 18:36 utc | 138

karlof1 "Putin likely knows more than he's admitting."

Magnier's piece I linked to at 135. Rather than Russia going to war with the US (they had decided that Trumps US would attack if the idlib offensive went ahead), Putin struck a deal with Erdogan and the Idlib offensive was postponed. Syrian government were at first unhappy about the deal, be recently are fully on board.
I suspect now the Khashoggi excitement is the Russian, Turk, Iranian response to the US intended attack - a takedown of MBS Saudi Arabia and Trump's US. Very asymmetrical.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18 2018 18:55 utc | 139

@lysander @128

If the Turks did bug the consulate ( an independent investigation may reveal it) then they cannot deny that they knew the guy wil be killed at his next visit. Kashoogi went once at the consulate and they told him that the paper of divorce was not ready and the Turks certainly intercepted all the discusssions about the preparations and the plan to kill him at his next visit. They also knew that 15 saudis were arriving, with a foresesic among them and that all the employees were given their day off.
We are almost sure that the Turks bugged the consulate. Therefore in my eyes they have allowed the guy to be killed.
Of course they will prevent any investigation that will reveal that they bugged the consulate and knew that the killing would take place.

Posted by: Virgile | Oct 18 2018 19:06 utc | 140

In case you missed it, Sharmine Narwani on Crosstalk regarding Khashoggi is linked along with linking to an important The Atlantic article on the topic. Also highlighted at her Twitter is an item in the Saudi English language press meant to refocus the spotlight on Khashoggi's fiancée and their connections with Daesh and al-Qaeda, which goes in tandem with Arab League's reestablishing relations with Syria and Saudi's announced defunding of terrorism announced by Magnier that Peter AU 1 links to.

Looks like MbS is going to use Obama's unconstitutional execution of an American citizen using National Security as justification for his execution of Khashoggi as they are very similar. And Obama was mostly applauded for his murder, MbS will certainly point-out.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2018 19:12 utc | 141

Posted by: stonebird | Oct 17, 2018 5:35:00 PM | 40

they need to be able to blame ALL that happened on SA. (ie disinformation designed to cover the roles of Israel, the Pentagon-Cheney/Rumsfeld, all the civilians involved in the "cover-up", and anyone else involved)

I am not convinced that Khashoggi was killed for knowing too much about 9/11 -- although King Salman (Prince at the time) blamed the Mossad for 9/11, but there seems to be a pattern of late to focus the blame of 9/11 on KSA and away from Israel and US -- as more people become awake to the 9/11 false-flag. Since the passage of JASTA, hundreds of 9/11 families have filed lawsuit against SA.

Your gist might be right. Maybe this Khashoggi incident (real or faked) is being used to lay the groundwork. Jared Kushner has cultivated a close relationship with MbS. Perhaps this was by design.

What we know is that Kushner used his security clearance to provide MbS with a 'list' of his [MbS'] enemies, which, in turn, MbS used to capture, torture and purge the people on that list. It would make sense that Khashoggi was on that list. Now, in the light of this incident, the MSM turns their collective attention on MbS and KSA in general, some by design and others as useful idiots. Then, inevitably, with the cloak of secrecy having been lifted, the attention will swing to what is happening in Yemen (and rightfully so) to further show MbS and, by extension, SA as an evil regime (which it is but it is not the only one) thus setting the stage be wholly blamed for 9/11 -- just as more people are awakening and the wheels of legal 9/11 justice are starting to spin -- leaving the main perpetrators off the hook, or so they hope.

The three conspirators—American neocons, Saudi Arabia, and Israel—that successfully pulled off the crime of the 21st century, namely the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, are infighting to the point that the layers of secrecy surrounding the 9/11 attacks are beginning to wither away.

The weakest link in the troika of conspirators is Saudi Arabia, the country that provided the manpower, finances, and hijacker personnel for the cover story—"Al Qaeda did it"—for 9/11.

Posted by: jsb | Oct 18 2018 19:20 utc | 142

But Virgile, the Turks are never going to admit they bugged the consulate. They will stick with the apple watch story to the bitter end. Even if international investigators disprove it. No investigation can force MIT to turn over all its tapes. The Turks can turn over whatever they like and say this is all we have. Any recording that implies Turkish foreknowledge would be left out.

Also, it is not at all clear what the Saudis talked about in between Kashoggi's 1st and second visit. It is doubtful anyone said out loud on tape "Tell him to come back in 2 days while we assemble a 15 man team to torture, kill him, and dismember him."

Also we have no idea to what degree the consulate is bugged. Did the Turks bug every single room so that no one can whisper a word in any part of the consulate without MIT hearing it? Even if so, the Turks aren't going to tell.

And so proving Turkish foreknowledge is nearly impossible and I doubt anyone will even try. That said, I agree with you that they knowingly let the man walk to his doom. Worse still, they might even have set him up to die to begin with. Never trust a spy from any country.

Posted by: lysander | Oct 18 2018 19:27 utc | 143

Oh-oh! One of the 15 was k .illed in a suspicious car accident.

Suspicious accident

Who'll be next??

Posted by: Circe | Oct 18 2018 19:46 utc | 144

Correction and addendum to my previous post: Posted by: jsb | Oct 18, 2018 3:20:51 PM | 141

this is the correct link: hundreds of 9/11 families have filed lawsuit against SA

Some other links I left off:

US, Israel using Saudi Arabia to cover up own role in 9/11

Donald Trump Suggested Saudi Arabia Was Behind 9/11 Multiple Times and is now using a mole, Jared Kushner, to make this suggestion stick.

Official Story of 9/11 Collapsing as Washington Blames Saudis


It’s becoming increasingly evident that the mainstream media extravaganza centering around Saudi Arabia’s minuscule involvement in the 9/11 terror attacks is yet another scheme to control the discourse and deflect attention off the designer, planner and executor of the most terrible false flag EVER: ‘Israel’.

Posted by: jsb | Oct 18 2018 19:49 utc | 145

Mere hypocritical Sunnism. Some interpretations, including the Turkish legal one (Hanafi) say that your wife must know about it (supposedly, must agree, reduced to: must know).

Posted by: Mina | Oct 18 2018 20:18 utc | 146

Link correctionto my previous post: Posted by: jsb | Oct 18, 2018 3:20:51 PM | 141

this is the correct link: hundreds of 9/11 families have filed lawsuit against SA

Posted by: jsb | Oct 18 2018 20:39 utc | 147

@ Mina, somewhere in one of these Khashoggi comment threads, honeypot was suggested. Very possible. She wrote a piece for the NYT as the tearful fiancee.

"Our love and our dreams of a new life together brought him from Washington to Istanbul, to get the required documents for our marriage. The hope of spending the rest of our lives together happily motivated Jamal to walk into the Saudi consulate building on that fateful afternoon, Oct. 2."

Erdo released the CIA pastor. Seems very much like Erdogan's Turkey and a US faction worked together to get khashoggi into this particular embassy, knowing what would happen to him and the Turks knowing they would capture everything that happened in this particular establishment on tape.
More like a hunter bullshitting the live bait into walking into the predators lair, rather than hypocritical Sunnism

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18 2018 20:41 utc | 148

Long Angry Arab thread about Khashoggi's more recent writing career fills in several holes--info you're not going to find anywhere else.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2018 20:43 utc | 149

reply to
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18, 2018 1:13:57 PM | 133
Thank you for the link to that doc, I wonder how much of it is Trump's vision.

Posted by: frances | Oct 18 2018 20:45 utc | 150

reply to
"I suspect now the Khashoggi excitement is the Russian, Turk, Iranian response to the US intended attack - a takedown of MBS Saudi Arabia and Trump's US. Very asymmetrical."
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18, 2018 2:55:49 PM | 138
That is a very interesting idea.
I had been leaning toward the CIA pulling this and wanting to get their Prince in as the new Prince of Princes, thereby allowing the CIA to more effectively bargain with Trump re their indiscretions.
However, I do see your perspective as equally and entirely possible.

Posted by: frances | Oct 18 2018 20:52 utc | 151

@karlof1 134

Agree 100% about Obama and Trump. But MBS’s mistake was to think he is and equal and is one of the boys and belongs to this permanent club.

I think they will make an example of him, just to make the rest of the clowns and despots understand that the above-the-law society is made up of a privileged few, and that membership will never be extended to Arabs and such.

But then, I could be disappointed, yet again.

Posted by: Alpi57 | Oct 18 2018 22:15 utc | 152

Cutting to the chase

Any national that works at a foreign consulate or embassy is probably ordered/expected to tell national authorities of unusual activity. This would be especially true when the foreign country is an enemy or strategic adversary. So when the staff was asked not to show up, that would've raised red flags.

Do you think the Turk employees just sat on this info? Not a chance.

So Turkey/Erdogan/MIT would almost certainly knew that Khashoggi was going into the consulate was very risky.

But USA hasn't rebuked Turkey!!! Instead, CIA quickly released a statement that said that IF THEY KNEW that Khashoggi was in danger, they would've warned him away.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

PS I've been saying for a long time that the "Turkey has turned to the east" meme is exaggerated and the apparent coup attempt in 2016 is very suspicious as both Erdogan and USA got what it need from that event: Erdogan got stronger and USA got to be closer to the Kurds.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 18 2018 23:00 utc | 153

Jackrabbit 151

My thought is that Erdogan climbs aboard any bus that's heading his way, no matter if its US or Russian. In that sense he is heading for the multipolar world rather than turning east or west.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18 2018 23:12 utc | 154


As with the previously similar Divine Right of Kings doctrine, that "permanent club" needs to vanish from the pages of time. Many thought that "club" was put to rest with the advent of the UN Charter and a law-based international order, but it was those who initially proposed the order's formation that worked to undermine it as soon as it began and have now brought us our several ongoing humanitarian crises. Unfortunately, too few people know the facts behind that sentence, which is one reason why we face our current dilemmas. I've always been curious as to whether trolls question the dogma they spew or if they have their heads so far up their asses they're blinded, not that it really matters.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2018 23:13 utc | 155


As with the previously similar Divine Right of Kings doctrine, that "permanent club" needs to vanish from the pages of time. Many thought that "club" was put to rest with the advent of the UN Charter and a law-based international order, but it was those who initially proposed the order's formation that worked to undermine it as soon as it began and have now brought us our several ongoing humanitarian crises. Unfortunately, too few people know the facts behind that sentence, which is one reason why we face our current dilemmas. I've always been curious as to whether trolls question the dogma they spew or if they have their heads so far up their asses they're blinded, not that it really matters.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2018 23:13 utc | 156

Looks like the Turks gave Pompeo a look at what they are holding.
...“Unless the miracle of all miracles happens, I would acknowledge that he’s dead,” Mr. Trump said. “That’s based on everything — intelligence coming from every side.”
A short time later, Mr. Trump reiterated to reporters at Joint Base Andrews that he believed Mr. Khashoggi is dead, and said the consequences will “have to be very severe.”
“I mean,” he said, “it’s bad, bad stuff.”

The Times interview occurred after the president was briefed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia and Turkey."...

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18 2018 23:21 utc | 157

So a couple of recent reports confirm the coming of Saudi Gate , in anticipation of the Democrats coming defeat in elections no doubt

1. One report says Saudi government spent $10 million on lobbying in 2016. By 2017, that number had nearly tripled, increasing to almost $27 million.

2. Democrats write a letter to Trump requesting information regarding any financial ties between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and his family business interests,"

Khashoggi is Magnitsky. MBS is Putin. Saudi Arabia is Russia

Will this replace or just complement Russia Gate? Will we soon have a Khashaggi Act?

Of course, MBS might soon have an accident and it all goes away. Saudis buy 20% of US weapon exports and have a 20% investment in Black Stones 100 billion dollar US infrastructure project fund, not to mention a future Aramco IPO. A complete break like with Russia does not seem possible despite some similarities between the 2 Gates

Posted by: Pft | Oct 18 2018 23:33 utc | 158

MBS’s hubris has caught him - and his Allies, especially the US & Trump - Political Leprosy.

My only regret is that the US Deep State is more isolated.

Still, it’s nice to see the Empire’s Alliance in a bt of disarray.

Posted by: Featherless | Oct 19 2018 0:44 utc | 159

Big Development: "French President Macron suspends all political visits to Saudi Arabia in coordination with Germany, UK and Netherlands until #Khashoggi’s disappearance clarified - Al Jazeera."

Comments on thread are revealing. Canada has apparently joined, too.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 19 2018 0:49 utc | 160

I wonder what deals Erdogan wants to - forcibly - sign with the KSA, to make his recordings of Kashoggi’s murder disappear.

I wonder if the Saudi/MBS offer will be enough. If they are, Erdogan’s evidence of Kashoggi’s murder would disappear.

Or will MBS be a complete idiot, and not make a smart deal with Erdogan, and his Political Life - as well as possibly his Earthly Existence - will be DONE.

Posted by: Featherless | Oct 19 2018 1:26 utc | 161

Personally it reminds me of that old Sun Tzu strategy of letting your enemy make self-sabotaging mistakes.

Which DEFINITELY brings my heart some CHEER.

Posted by: Featherless | Oct 19 2018 1:30 utc | 162

@ Virgile 139

Surely the bugging of embassies is standard MIT practice of longstanding, not specific to this event.

1) Could the bugs pick up all sounds throughout the embassy? - unknown.
2) Was the Saudi planning actually done, or even discussed, in clear terms within the embassy? - unknown.
The current narrative (Oct 18) suggests that the tape indicates the consul being surprised and protesting as the visitors get rough.
3) Those knowledgeable about MIT capabilities appear not to doubt that MIT may have successfully bugged the Saudi embassy, beyond Saudi sweeping abilities. Nonetheless, is there a way to verify that whatever audio tape exists is authentic, and does in fact represent what the Turks and others assert - the killing of Khasshugi?

Posted by: smoke | Oct 19 2018 1:36 utc | 163

Apparently the Turks have a quite competent Intelligence Agency, and every Embassy on Turkish terrain is doubtlessly bugged to the hilt. Also, It’s much easier to put microphones than install cameras.

Of course they will push the “Apple Watch” story to cover their tracks.

MBS and KSA didn’t even know how much they have stepped in a morass of shit.
But I bet they know now !

Posted by: Featherless | Oct 19 2018 1:57 utc | 164

Not so long ago, I was wondering about Erdogan, and thinking “this guy is a snake in the grass”.

BUT, thinking about it, Turkey is right at the center between the West and the East, so Turkey is kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. Heckuva position to be in !

As someone mentioned earlier, I get an impression he might be recently hotlining with Putin.
One could definitely do worse !

Posted by: Featherless | Oct 19 2018 2:02 utc | 165

Featherless 159
Erdogan's foremost concern seems to be regaining ottoman territories. In Idlib the jihadists not controlled by Erdogan are backed by the Saudi's and US - not to mention the Brits and France. In north east Syria the Kurds and others are funded by Saudi Arabia.
I would guess Erdogan's main demand to the Saudi's would be to stop supporting the Kurds and other jihadists he does not control. If he plays it right, there's a good chance the US will turn on Saudi Arabia. And as b has put in his articles, both KSA and Erdo's Turkey consider themselves the leader of the Islamic world.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2018 2:14 utc | 166

b, and commenters-
More informative and cogent than mainstream and most other sources, as usual. Thank you.

Timelines are always interesting.

the first of the two planes left Riyadh late Oct. 1 and touched down in Istanbul the following day at 3:15 a.m.
Flight data shows that a second private jet, believed by investigators to be transporting the rest of the team, touched down in Istanbul at 5:15 p.m. It is unclear whether those on board traveled to either the consulate or the residence. It departed an hour and 15 minutes after it arrived, heading for Cairo.

I had missed this detail, that the second plane arrived in Istanbul 15 hours after the first. Also, if I have the timeline clear, well past the time Khasshugi had entered the embassy, been drugged and sawed.

Further, "unclear whether those on board" left the airport, seems to be the gist. So what was the purpose for this "chaser" plane? How long is flying time from Riyadh to Istanbul? Did the "15 Saudis" all arrive on the first plane?

Then more timelines @TomGard 115.

Why would the fiancee wait so long outside the embassy? How long would one expect it to take to pick up documents for which one had a prior appointment?

The timing of the various press, unofficial leaks, and eventually official (Erdogan) announcements of a crime mystery is provocative. I wish I understood what TomGard intends by "meant to be telling."

To me, the first stories from those particular news services, all with ties to western intelligence, suggest either a) that intel services have lost a sheep OR b) they wish the world to notice that a sheep has been lost at the hands of a barbaric and lawless leader. As for Erdogan, one assumes that he was conferring and negotiating with numerous interested parties during this time, while collecting and lining up all the evidence ducks in order.

What am I missing, TomGard and anyone?

Posted by: smoke | Oct 19 2018 2:15 utc | 167

@smoke 165 correction:

"the second plane arrived in Istanbul 14 hours after the first."

Posted by: smoke | Oct 19 2018 2:20 utc | 168

The US is at the crossroads of strategic nowhere. Taking a hard line against KSA means its prime foreign policy objective of the past 35 years...the destruction of Iran...hasn't even got a single leg to stand on. There can be no anti Iranian moves without KSA. The Saudis of course understand this. Therefore, when all is said and done, there isn't much the US can do. It's too big a story to ignore without making an absolute mockery of everything the US likes to pretend it stands for. And yet acting seriously upon it means the end of any and all plans the US ever had for the middle east.

So my guess is a lot of sound and fury that ends in a whimper. MBS might not survive, but I'm sure some other equally hideous creature will replace him and life will go on without him.

Posted by: lysander | Oct 19 2018 2:32 utc | 169

One of Khashoggi’s 15 suspected killers dies in crash

In related news, one of the fifteen men accused by Turkey of participating in Khashoggi’s murder was killed earlier on Thursday in what Turkish media said was a "suspicious" car crash in Riyadh.

Mashal Saad al-Bostani, a 31-year-old lieutenant in the Saudi Royal Air Forces, had been seen in consulate videos as part of the 15-member hit squad that allegedly murdered Khashoggi.

Turkish Daily Hurryiet news site accused bin Salman of trying to destroy the evidence to cover up the murder of Khashoggi.

The website warned that Saudi Consul General Mohammad al-Otaibi could be the next person to be "executed."

Posted by: ninel | Oct 19 2018 2:37 utc | 170

The whole charade unravels when you realize that Erdogan/MIT must have known that Khashoggi's entering the Consulate would put his life in danger as explained in my comment @151. How could it be otherwise?!?

But there is no rebuke toward Erdogan. Possible reasons:

1) What appears to be the surprising death/disappearance of Khashoggi is an opportunity to force Saudi to complete the arms deals.

2) This was planned well in advance.

a) AFAIK Khashoggi met his finance in May of this year (or that is when they began dating).

b) Khashoggi's dealth/disappearance occured almost exactly one year after King Salman visited Moscow and signed a MOU to purchase S400. Is that merely a strange coincidence?

The October 5th 2017 visit was termed "an unexpected rapprochement" and a "shift" in relations:

More than 15 cooperation agreements worth billions of pounds were signed, ranging from oil, military and space exploration, leading the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, to claim the visit marked the moment when Saudi-Russian relations “reached a new qualitative level”. In one of the most remarkable deals, the Saudis said they would purchase the Russian S-400 defence[sic] system.... The visit has been in the works for months, if not years, but the Trump administration’s failure to give the Saudis unambivalent support in its dispute with Qatar earlier this year disappointed the Saudis.
But Saudi disappointment likely also extends to Trump 'just for show' bombing of Syria, continuation of the 9-11 lawsuit, bungling of Iraq, unwillingness to do what is necessary to bring the Yemen war to a successful conclusion (basically win the war for them), etc.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 19 2018 2:38 utc | 171

Oh, one more thing. Saudis joined the War on Syria to counter Iran. AFAIK, that was not their first choice.

Prior to 2011 when the Syrian color revolution began, the Saudis had wanted to start a nuclear program of their own to counter Iran's. This would've been very lucrative for the US nuclear industry. But using Jihadis against Syria was preferred by US/Israel because Israel wouldn't feel safe with a nuclear-capable KSA.

Saudis (and others) were told that "The Road to Tehran runs through Damascus!"

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 19 2018 2:45 utc | 172

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18, 2018 2:36:11 PM | 136
The entire marriage divorce thing is always complicated because while most countries used to recognise each others marriages with minimum documentation, divorce has always been excluded from that and laws plus religious conventions of several countries can come into play.
Divorce gets really complicated as I once learned.
As I understand Kashoggi's situation (from one of the many, many Wapo columns written by a colleague about Kashoggi) Kashoggi had been happily married to his wife for life right up until he split Riyadh, but once he had been gone a few months and ignored the seemingly polite requests to return, he got a message from the Saudi Govt instructing him that his wife, unable to countenance his treason any longer, had divorced him.

The amerikan 'journo' alleged Kashoggi was really distraught about this and became even more depressed when he was told through intermediaries that his wife's family had been put under all sorts of carrot and stick blandishments & threats for her to divorce her husband and father of her children.
Allegedly this was a new line for the Saudis who had previously always left a man's family out of the horror show. He had left his wife behind because he had imagined she would be safe. mbs doesn't follow any rules or conventions - sometime soon he will regret this as those type of controls develop because the blow back for powerful, rich arseholes can be really, really bad - much worse for such a person when the ordure does hit the ventilator.
eg all bin Salman's children may discover that they, as well as daddy-0, have been deemed surplus to requirements; so no sinecure as members of the royal lineage for them, instead they are put in chains as potential enemies of the state. In the short time 'Fishy' bin Salmon has been putative bossfella he has injured, offended and robbed at least a coupla hunnerd fellow princes. They will insist that a message be telegraphed to anyone one else up the list who may consider Fishy's methods effective.

But back to the point It isn't in the least unusual for Turkey, or for that matter amerika, to insist Kashoggi has a hard copy of his divorce before he can remarry. In Kashoggi's case as a devout koran basher, he likely needed two pieces of paper, one from government legal authorities and the other from a senior wahabi Imam.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Oct 19 2018 3:43 utc | 173

@ Debsisdead

Thanks for the rundown on marriage and divorce between people of different nationalities.
I looked up Turk laws on number of wives and first off the list was wikipedia
Turkey is a predominantly Muslim nation that has abolished polygamy, which was officially criminalized with the adoption of the Turkish Civil Code in 1926, a milestone in Atatürk's secularist reforms. Penalties for illegal polygamy are up to 2 years imprisonment.[1] Turkey has long been known for its promotion of secularism[2][3][4] and later introduced even stricter bars on polygamy. Even the ruling moderate AK Parti effectively banned polygamists from entering or living in the country.[5]

It does seem that by Turkish law Kasho would have needed official divorce papers.
If his tearful fiancee or honeypot - whichever she is - is to be believed, that still leaves the question of his requirement to travel from Washington to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain the divorce papers. (I linked the NYT piece she wrote and quoted the relevant paragraph somewhere back in this comment thread)

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2018 4:43 utc | 174

@ smoke (165)

The initial NYT-report I mentioned (115) gave a timeline that left it practically impossible to be released by an eminent paper at the date of Khashoggis disappearance without foreknowledge of the affair to come and without Hatice Cengiz having a different role, than she claims. And, as you noticed, it defies reason, that she should have waited 5 hours after closing time of the consulate although she was "instructed" to raise alarm with Erdogans adviser Yasin Aktay, a personal friend of Khashoggi (Al Jazeera) in case the latter wouldn't come out. Thus Al Jazeera (linked in 115) told in its timeline, Cengiz had asked for Khashoggi at closing time (15:30 local, 8:30 pm east coast time), was told he had left by the back door and raised alarm soon after. This could at least possibly account for the NYT-report, albeit very unlikely.

The NYT made no mistake, its timeline is not casuaally given, it is stressed. Hence this initial report was meant to give strong evidence of a secret service operation against MbS and Trump. This kind of practice has regulary been used by CIA and Mossad to awe political adversaries. In this case the turkish MIT could have adopted it with or without collaboration with those two or - and this would be my best guess - with NATO-operatives, namely General Dunford.

Posted by: TomGard | Oct 19 2018 6:17 utc | 175

Correction: 8:30 AM, not PM

Posted by: TomGard | Oct 19 2018 6:24 utc | 176

@ jr and etc.. what about the saudi embassy being bugged by russia? russia passes the info on to erdo.. either way, i don’t see how turkey could have prevented it, anymore then the us could have... in fact kashoggis death served too many beneficial purposes, not least the msm mandrins who lidentified with kashoggi showing just how vacuous they are as agroup.. more outrage over kashoggi then yemen people shows just how depraved the msm is...

@165 smoke... fiance is a honypot.... 70/30 was a set up.. people knew what they were doing.. my take.
at this point wapo has slightly more legitimacy then nyt....

see fb ali post at sst..

Posted by: james | Oct 19 2018 6:40 utc | 177

@ TomGard

It seems the US faction who are involved gain an opportunity to take down Trump and at the same time gain the release from Turkish prison of their CIA pastor. Turkey's rewards, if they play it right is Saudi's ceasing their opposition to Turkey in Syria and in the best case scenario, US destruction of KSA.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2018 7:16 utc | 178

The more I look at this, the more I think his good 'missus to be' was a honeypot rather than a tearful fiancee.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2018 7:19 utc | 179

@ james can you link fb ali's posts at SST when you see them. I rarely read the comments there now. The comments that I used to look for rarely appear there now.

"fiance is a honypot.... 70/30 odds" That is the conclusion I have arrived at and when renewing the page after my 177 post I saw your comment.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2018 7:27 utc | 180

hi peter... i can’t do that via this ipad... or, i don’t know how to do it.. bottom line is any intel group worth anything would have been monitoring her..

Posted by: james | Oct 19 2018 7:33 utc | 181

i see the saudi embassy council general has been dismissed... he was supposed to return to istanbul today, but that is no longer going to happe... next pin kashoggis death on him? this gets very predictable...

Posted by: james | Oct 19 2018 7:48 utc | 182

Found the fb ali comment. As to your difficulties with ipad, perhaps give the article title as a pointer to the relevant comment
"bottom line is any intel group worth anything would have been monitoring her." I read the Saudi al arabia piece on her a day or so back. At the time I tookit as Saudi bullshit but now I'm starting to think her links as described by al arabia need checking into to see what is fact and what is fiction.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2018 7:54 utc | 183

What puzzles me is kashoggi’s mind set, let’s say for a month leading up to his death ? The world he lived in he must have been fully aware of the huge risk envolved. And yet he strolled into that embassy like a lamb to the sloughter. No witness with him, was he suicidel ? No. There’s a piece missing in this jigsaw!!!

Posted by: Mark2 | Oct 19 2018 10:43 utc | 184

Just to add, were told he was there for a leagal marriage document, he had money he would of had a solicitor with him, giving a hell of a lot more safety! Simple, but no,

Posted by: Mark2 | Oct 19 2018 10:57 utc | 185

Mark2 183

Not "a hell of a lot" but, anyway, a little bit.
To me it isn't funny anymore, that everybody prefers to forget, that the Sauds could have quite leagally taken their man to Rhiyad. The consulate is exterritorial (in this, not in every case), Khashoggi is / was Saudi citizen, he had no residential status in Turkey. All they needed was a warrant from an high enough Saudi court.

Posted by: TomGard | Oct 19 2018 11:44 utc | 186

All that honeypot business is tin foil conspiracy.

Turkey is sending a message to put the Saudis and U.S. on notice as in you can try to put the blame on Gen. Assiri or someone else, but we know who's responsible. Yesterday, the Saudis were floating Gen. Assiri as the author of the crime. This is a message from the Turks that it's not this fall guy and the can prove it. Erdogan has the Saudis cornered.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 19 2018 13:09 utc | 187

If you can't get through to the story in ft just search: Turkey knows who is responsible or Jamal Khashoggi for the latest from Turkey.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 19 2018 13:14 utc | 188

My thinking that Turkey must have known probably go too far.

Its possible that Khashoggi and fiance talked with their contacts in Turkey but those contacts had not relayed the situation to MIT. Then, when the staff told MIT that they were asked to not come in to work the true import was not known until after Khashoggi went missing.

But the staff instruction is only one of several things that the Saudis botched. It probably drew increased scrutiny by MIT. Another (strange) mistake was carving up Khashoggi in the Counsul's office. Isn't that where bugs are most likely to be placed? And the way the hit squad traveled into Turkey seems amaturish - 15 people with links to MbS arrive and depart at the same time (on two planes) after a short stay.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 19 2018 14:13 utc | 189

Suddenly the formerly despicable New York Slimes and the Washington Poop are heroes of journalism? What??? Ho?
I was not in Turkey. Watching . Was anyone posting or writing here ??
No, almost everyone is washing in dirty BATH WATER.
Trust any garbage that crawls worming and creeping and sliming out of that paragon of administrative truth and excellence, Turkey? Grow up, folksies.

Not making excuses for Saudi Arabia here. Their policies are and have been pure scum. Along with all the supporting war actorship in the USA.

Get off of the damn stupid band herd following created wagon. Anyone remember the orchestrated horse crap that preceded the destructions of Yugoslavia, of Iraq, of Libya, of Syria. Anyone??????????? There is somewhere a bigger geo political issue here that explains this cheapening and preposterous orchestration.

Best example. Einstein said it. "Human stupidity is infinite."

Posted by: Joey | Oct 19 2018 14:44 utc | 190

Thanks TomGard @ 184
It all helps.what you say is important. Since my last comment/ train of thought I moved on to a new level !! Decided not to post for two reasons—one, it’s a hot potato,two not healthy for m o a !!
However events move swiftly ! An ex head of mi6 uk intel, has amazingly been reported on bbc 1pm news —- he thinks it was definatly crown prince who was behind it, definatly not a rouge group. And that trump gave permmison ! Blimy wtf !!! The chaps name was I think John Thorne.
Before this came out, I concluded to answer my own puzzle —- CIA threw him to the dogs ! Encoaraged him to make the meet, told him the back channels said he’d be safe, picked up the phone to crown prince giving him confidnece to send a big team. Job done ! All controlled by trump !
Like the ‘God father’ if you owe him a favour he owns you !!!

Posted by: Mark2 | Oct 19 2018 14:55 utc | 191

If this keeps up Syria and Iran are going to come out looking like the good guys.

"A prominent Washington think tank that two years ago received a $2 million grant from the Saudi Embassy will stop taking money from the kingdom and is pulling out of cultural programs funded by the Gulf state as a result of the apparent murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to the organization’s chairman."

Posted by: dh | Oct 19 2018 15:12 utc | 192

@181 peter, i will refernce the article next time!

@187 jr.. i think there are a number of possibilities here, but someone, especially turkey, having the enbassy bugged is the obvious bet.. as for the saud embassy council general being dismissed while on a 2 day visit to ksa, right after the turk/saud investigation, his fate looks ominous..

you know the speculation about some connection back to idlib or the kurds and how the dynamic is between turkey and ksa is a good one.. it seems to me, and i could be wrong, is clown prince went medival (ksa is medival) and erdogan was handed a gift... the usa and israel don’t benefit from this on anumber of levels...

i agree about mbz having the knives out for mbs as well.. one tyrant doing in another when their malicious agenda doesn’t gel would be typical... uae has deep pockets and continues to milk the west and msm with it too..thus this bozo graham has his girdle in a knot, lol... jump on the mbz train and get off the mbs one... slimy us politicians are in demand here!

Posted by: james | Oct 19 2018 15:22 utc | 194

Karlof1 @153

I am equally sickened by this so called elite. But I am too cynical to think they will go away in my lifetime. Only thing I can do is to get away from them, and far.

Posted by: Alpi57 | Oct 19 2018 16:24 utc | 195

AIPAC begins defense of MbS:

"Even if we conclude that MBS is largely responsible for this horrific killing (and an ugly war in Yemen), the Saudis’ value to the West stands in stark contrast to the menacing terror regime known as [Iran]."

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 19 2018 16:36 utc | 196

So incase the huge significance of this has passed eny one buy—- deep state US & U K have set up trump to set up crown prince. They made there move !!! Just before mid term ! Trump is now in it up to his neck thanks to CIA . Link I left of killary will give me nightmares ! Just when we thought things couldn’t get worse! The Zionist’s take over ! ! !

Posted by: Mark2 | Oct 19 2018 16:43 utc | 197

Western Unity Collapses Protecting Prince Salman

Evidence suggests crown prince ordered Khashoggi killing, says ex-MI6 chief | The Guardian |

Posted by: Oui | Oct 19 2018 16:46 utc | 198


Posted by: Alpi57 | Oct 19 2018 16:48 utc | 199

Alpi57 @193--

Circumstances oblige me to remain in Oregon until I'm done, so I must do what I can to resist from here. Luongo seems all over the map in the article you linked, which is understandable given the difficulty in taking the current political pulse within the Outlaw US Empire as election day draws nearer. Not everyone's boycotting MbS's Desert Davos: Pakistan's Khan, Russians and Chinese will attend. Seems Friday's Prayers have interrupted the news flow. I'd think MbS has the next move.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 19 2018 16:59 utc | 200

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