Jamal Khashoggi's death: what will Saudi Arabia do next?
Paris demands an in-depth investigation of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said. The German authorities also consider the information provided by Saudi Arabia regarding Khashoggi's death insufficient, Berlin strongly condemns the incident and expects transparency from Riyadh regarding the circumstances of the death and its background, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the head of the German Foreign Ministry Heiko Maas said in a joint statement on Saturday.
The Guardian writes in the article Jamal Khashoggi's death: what will Saudi Arabia do next? that statements from the official Saudi Press Agency and ministry of foreign affairs released around midnight local time said Jamal Khashoggi had been killed after a fight broke out with Saudi officials during his visit to the consulate on 2 October. The men involved then took part in in a “cover-up” of his death. Eighteen suspects had been arrested in relation to the case. It was also announced that Saud al-Qahtani, an influential adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and General Ahmed al-Assiri, a senior intelligence official, had been removed from their posts. The acknowledgement of Khashoggi’s death comes after two weeks of blanket denials that Riyadh was involved in his disappearance.
What does the Turkish evidence say?
Steadily released leaks from Turkish investigators over the last two weeks designed to pressure the Saudis into admitting Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate paint a very different picture of what happened the day he died. Investigators allege he was tortured and murdered by a team of 15 men sent from Riyadh to kill him. His body was then cut up and police are searching wooded areas outside Istanbul for his remains. Surveillance footage from outside the consulate on 2 October shows several men entering the building. They were also filmed entering and leaving Atatürk airport with Saudi passports the same day.
What will Riyadh do next?
The crown prince will head a ministerial committee to restructure the General Intelligence Agency following the firings and continue its ongoing investigation into Khashoggi’s murder. The identities of the 18 men Riyadh says it has arrested are currently unknown. Bin Salman, who appears to have insulated by the statement, will still oversee all security institutions in the country.
Who are the two fired officials?
Qahtani, a media adviser to the royal court and close confidant of Bin Salman, has been described as Saudi Arabia’s Steve Bannon. He is a well-known figure on social media, asking followers to send him the names of the kingdom’s critics to be added to his blacklist. Assiri, the deputy head of the Saudi intelligence agency, is one of the crown prince’s most trusted generals. He was previously a senior air force officer and spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
What did they say about Khashoggi’s body?
Several Saudi officials said on Saturday that the body had been handed over to a “local collaborator” who disposed of it.
Did they say Khashoggi was a target of the authorities?
No, although a Saudi official told Reuters on Saturday that there was a general policy of returning critics to the country. The crown prince himself had no knowledge of the operation, the official added, although many people with an understanding of the workings of the Saudi state say he would almost certainly have sanctioned such an undertaking.
Have the Turks accepted the Saudi explanation?
Turkey’s investigation into Khashoggi’s death is ongoing, using DNA samples. An official from the ruling AK party said on Saturday that the country would never allow a cover-up in determining what happened to Khashoggi.