Here’s what we know for sure: On October 2, Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain paperwork necessary to get married. He hasn’t been seen since then.
Since that day, leaks from Turkish officials have painted a grim picture of what happened to the Saudi journalist and dissident: On Friday, The Washington Post reported that Turkish authorities possess audio and video recordings that show a Saudi security team interrogating, torturing, and, ultimately, killing Khashoggi inside the consulate.
The Khashoggi case has become a cause célèbre for human-rights and free-press advocates, as well as critics of Saudi Arabia. And it’s putting the strong U.S.-Saudi relationship under intense scrutiny. Saudi Arabia’s own response to the incident could provide clues to how the issue may ultimately be resolved—or not.
The Saudi media’s coverage of Khashoggi’s disappearance has ranged from casting aspersions about his motivations before the leaks about his fate became public to, subsequently, expressing concern about him, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which tracks and translates regional media. Many of these reports say Khashoggi, who until recently was a consummate Saudi insider, has ties to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and other anti-Saudi groups and countries.
Upon Khashoggi’s disappearance, columnists for the Jeddah-based newspaper Okaz, which is broadly considered pro-government, called him a “traitor” and an “apostate” who collaborated with “enemies of the state” against Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is widely known as MbS, and the kingdom, MEMRI pointed out. But after it was reported that Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate, the tone in the Riyadh-based Al-Riyadh, which is also pro-government, was one of concern about his fate, MEMRI said. Still, according to MEMRI, a columnist dismissed the accusation that Saudi security personnel had killed the journalist. A columnist in Okaz, meanwhile, suggested that the accusations against the Saudis were conjured up by Iran, Qatar, and Turkey, MEMRI added.
Gerald Feierstein, a former U.S. ambassador to Yemen who also served in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, told me that there is an effort underway in Saudi Arabia to either downplay Khashoggi’s fate or to suggest that he was in some way involved in nefarious activities. “I know that there have been these rumors that he was pro-Muslim Brotherhood. There was some suggestion that this was some Turkish-Qatari agitprop initiative,” Feierstein, who is now at the Middle East Institute, said. “It does …read more
Source:: The Atlantic – Best of