Crown Prince The Barbarian – How Did The Assassination Of Khashoggi Go Haywire

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Oct 25 2018
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday there was evidence to show that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was the victim of a “cruel, violent murder.” Coming from the mouth of Erdogan, the leader of the second-largest military force in NATO (after the U.S.), it speaks volumes the seriousness of the assassination scandal to Saudi Arabia.


Although Turkey continues to assess additional information, Erdogan said that all the evidence points “to the fact that the assassination was pre-planned, premeditated.” He also warned Saudi Arabia – “Whitewashing such barbarity will of course injure and wound the conscience of all humanity”, suggesting that the Turkish president isn’t ready to cover-up for King Salman.


Erdogan would have kept quiet if his intention was to blackmail King Salman for some immediate tangible benefits. But he didn’t, suggesting he wants to nail and get rid of the king-in-waiting – Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. And it’s not hard to understand why the crown prince cannot be allowed to take the throne as King Mohammed, the youngest king of the kingdom.


The crown prince has an impulsive, immature and ruthless nature, despite his reformer image. His violent and reckless character will cause unthinkable instability to the geopolitical landscape in the Middle East. The favourite son of King Salman could and would go to war with Turkey in the Saudi’s war against Muslim Brotherhood. Even the assassination of Khashoggi was sloppily done.


In spite of Saudi government’s laughable claims that the journalist was accidentally killed due to a “fistfight” involving a number of Saudi intelligence operatives inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, they could not explain why a strong 15-member “hit squad” was needed to be flown in from Saudi Arabia to Turkey.


The presence of Dr. Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy – the head of forensic evidence in the Saudi general security department – was already a big giveaway. The world now understands why the crown prince himself had assured Bloomberg that Khashoggi left the consulate shortly after he arrived, a statement which would later contradict with an admission that the journalist was killed.

Jamal Khashoggi With His Fiancee - Hatice Cengiz

Apparently, there was a plot to cover up the murder of Khashoggi. The silly cover up involved the journalist “body double”, played by Mustafa al-Madani – suspected of working for a Saudi intelligence agency. Mustafa, 57, who is of similar height, age and build to Khashoggi, 59, was used as a decoy for the journalist and was part of the 15-member team flown in on a private jet.


Clearly, Saudi doesn’t need a body double for a normal interrogation, if indeed it was true that the kingdom had no plan to assassinate the journalist in the first place. Mr. Mustafa was caught on CCTV exiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul Oct. 2 wearing a fake beard and glasses, as well as the pants, shirt and jacket that Khashoggi was seen wearing when he entered the building earlier in the day.


The journalist’s fiancée Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside the consulate’s front entrance, had raised the alarm when he didn’t return. The body double was also captured on video at The Blue Mosque, a historic mosque and tourist attraction in the city. However, there was a silly screw up. Mustafa was wearing “different shoes” than Khashoggi wore when he entered the consulate.

Jamal Khashoggi Body Double Mustafa al-Madani - Wrong Shoes

Saudi has also another set of story – that the original plan was to convince Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, to return to Saudi Arabia. If he refused, the next step was to drug him with a tranquilizer and take him to a safe house in Istanbul for 48 hours. If Khashoggi still refused to return to Saudi, the 15-member team was to leave, and a “local collaborator” was to let him go.


The Saudi also claimed that a forensic expert was present to erase all evidence of Khashoggi’s presence at the consulate and safe house, so that there would be no proof if the journalist later said he had been kidnapped. Still, there is one big problem with this half-baked story. They could not tell why the forensic expert came equipped with a bone saw.


Unable to prove that Khashoggi had exited the consulate for obvious reason, Saudi had no choice but to admit that the journalist was indeed dead inside the consulate. The kingdom’s U-turn after another U-turn also makes President Trump looked like an idiot as he was forced to play to the tune as well. Eventually, Trump says Saudi’s staged “cover-up” was the worst he has ever seen.

President Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Asked by a reporter in the White House Oval Office how the Khashoggi killing could have happened, Trump, who had initially told all and sundry that he believed King Salman and his crown prince’s denial, said – “They had a very bad original concept. It was carried out poorly, and the cover-up was one of the worst in the history of cover-ups.”


Perhaps the crown prince would have a better success story had he outsourced the entire operation to CIA, and perhaps that was what Trump meant when he said the cover-up was the worst. But how could the Saudi intelligence screw up so badly? Perhaps the answer can be found in a report by the Wall Street Journal. The crown prince could not understand why everyone was so shocked with Khashoggi killing.


Yes, there was something very wrong with the crown prince from the beginning. Mohammed bin Salman was shocked to discover Khashoggi’s disappearance provoke such international outrage, so much so that he was forced to call the White House adviser Jared Kushner – Trump’s son-in-law – to ask why, suggesting that the prince could have done similar murders against his critics before.

Jared Kushner and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Kushner and John Bolton, the US national security adviser, reportedly told the crown prince in response that he had to solve the crisis quickly. Kushner, who is very close to Crown Prince Mohammed, was reportedly had advised Trump to stand by Saudi Arabia until the crisis is over. The crown prince became angry that the episode had turned into a diplomatic crisis.


The public’s belief is that the operation that ended up killing Mr. Khashoggi could not have gone ahead without the knowledge and blessing of the Saudi crown prince. Yet, in another damage control gone haywire, Khashoggi’s oldest son Salah was summoned by the Saudi monarch so that a photo-op of the King Salman and his crown prince extending condolences could be staged.


Social media has slammed such drama as another brutal act from the royal house – forcing Khashoggi’s son to receive condolences from the person suspected of murdering his father. Mr. Salah has been barred from leaving the kingdom, presumably to keep Khashoggi’s relatives who are already in the United States from speaking out about the killing.

Jamal Khashoggi Assassination - Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman


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