Words and things, mostly words.
I’ll profess a bit of surprise that this story hasn’t been forced out of the public spotlight, but here we are. Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance on October 2nd, at the Saudi embassy in Turkey, has sparked a month of tense diplomatic talks, and has forced the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to both admit that the self-exiled Washington Post writer was in fact murdered and dispense some form of justice upon the perpetrators. The issue has shifted from “did someone have him killed ” to “who had him killed” and, most importantly, “did the Crown Prince know about this?”
The last bit has been a sticking point, as Turkey seems to be using the incident to neutralise the Crown Prince, as the countries have not been on good terms. (That’s being very mild about it, yes.) It seems like Turkish intelligence have reams of information on the matter, as audio recordings of the execution — inside the Saudi embassy — have been provided to other world governments. The KSA has indicted almost two dozen individuals in connection with the killing, although they remain adamant that Mohammed Bin Salman had nothing to do with the incident.
Late last week, the CIA initially released a report concluding that the killing was either ordered by MBS or proceeded with his permission. There was also a revelation that the Trump administration had earlier considered extraditing exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen back to Turkey, in some sort of deal to get Tayip Erdrogan to ease his pressure campaign against the Crown Prince. The whole ordeal seems to get more and more absurd as it remains in the spotlight, although I still do not expect an outcome beyond the punishment — and likely execution — of a few scapegoats.