Jamal Khashoggi, an outspoken critic of the Saudi Arabian regime, walked into the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on Oct.2. He has not been seen since.

Late Thursday, the Washington Post reported Turkish authorities had video and audio evidence that Khashoggi had been murdered and his body dismembered shortly after entering the consulate. “You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured and then murdered,” a source told the Post, where Khashoggi had a column he regularly used to write about the Saudi leadership.

The details of what really happened are still murky, but if his murder is confirmed, it may have grave consequences for Saudi Arabia’s position in the world. The kingdom is a key regional ally for the U.S. and a highly-valued trading partner — and the alliance has strengthened under President Donald Trump.

Charles W. Freeman Jr. was the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1990-1992, during the the First Gulf War. He knew Jamal Khashoggi, and currently serves as a lifetime director at the Atlantic Council.

He spoke to TIME on Thursday about Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Can you tell me a little about your relationship with Khashoggi?

I was the ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. He was a journalist. I can’t say we were very close friends, but we were acquaintances. I’ve always had great respect for his patriotism, and also for his integrity – his willingness to say things that needed to be said, that sought to improve his country rather than excuse it. I think that’s an expression of patriotism and character to be admired.

If his murder is confirmed, what would it mean for relations between Saudi Arabia and the U.S.?

At this point we have allegations from a notoriously unreliable source, the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey. We have to bear in mind that we don’t know, really, what happened. I think we are entitled to suppose the worst, but we don’t know for sure whether Jamal Khashoggi is alive or dead, and we have no idea where he is if he is alive.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the charges levied by the Turkish police are borne out. That would be something I feel with some pain, because of all the American guff about supporting the rule-bound order, even as frankly we tear it apart. In a sense Saudi Arabia is joining the orgy of destruction of the rule-bound order …read more

Source:: Time – World

      

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‘Saudi Arabia Is Joining the Orgy Of Destruction of the Rule-Bound Order,’ Former U.S. Ambassador Says on Khashoggi

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