According to the American intelligence service CIA, the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Washington Post reports this Friday on the basis of sources about the research. Khashoggi was murdered at the beginning of October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The conclusion of the CIA is at odds with statements by the Saudi authorities. According to them, Khashoggi was murdered at the consulate by a team that had been ordered to bring him back to Saudi Arabia. On Thursday, the prosecutor in Ryad reported that the crown prince was not aware of the mission around Khashoggi. The journalist, who worked for the Washington Post, among others, was a critic of Bin Salman and lived in the United States.
According to the Washington Post, the CIA relies, inter alia, on an intercepted telephone conversation between Khashoggi and Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States and a brother of the crown prince. The ambassador phoned Khashoggi to tell him that he had to go to the consulate in Istanbul to get documents he needed to marry his Turkish girlfriend. He guaranteed Khashoggi that this will be safe.
Khalid bin Salman
Khalid bin Salman made the call on behalf of his brother, writes the newspaper. The newspaper admits that it is not clear to what extent Khalid knew that Khashoggi was going to be murdered. A spokesperson for the Saudi embassy denies the content of the conversation in the newspaper. In a reaction to Twitter, Khalid bin Salman writes that he had the last contact with Khashoggi in 2017. “I never spoke to him by phone and certainly did not recommend him to go to Turkey for anything. I ask the American government to release all information about this claim.”
As we told the Washington Post the last contact I had with Mr. Khashoggi was via text on Oct 26 2017. I never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to Turkey for any reason. I ask the US government to release any information regarding this claim.
— Khalid bin Salman خالد بن سلمان (@kbsalsaud) November 16, 2018
It would also play a role that, according to the CIA Mohammed bin Salman, the actual ruler is in Saudi Arabia. “The general point of view is that it is impossible that this happened without being informed or involved”, according to a source of the newspaper.
In Saudi Arabia there is also a study against the killing of Khashoggi. He would have been killed and cut short after his arrival at the consulate in Istanbul. The attorney has put 11 people into suspect. For five of them, threaten with death penalty. Five senior officials, including the head of the Saudi intelligence service, were fired.
According to the Washington Post, US authorities have “much confidence” in the findings of the CIA. We have to wait and see how President Donald Trump will respond. Saudi Arabia has so far been an important ally of the US in the Middle East. The Americans have already taken sanctions against seventeen Saudis.