December 2, 2018
It has been nearly two months to the day since Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul hoping to retrieve papers needed to marry his Turkish fiance – only to be killed and butchered by a 15-man Saudi murder squad.
In the intervening weeks, the Saudis have suffered remarkably little blowback (considering that the uproar elicited by Khashoggi’s murder nearly triggered a global diplomatic crisis): To date, the US and Canada have levied sanctions against a 17 Saudis suspected of participating or orchestrating Khashoggi’s murder, and a handful of countries who don’t sell arms to Saudi Arabia have said they will stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, both Canada and the US have balked at similar measures because they would inevitably kill jobs.
Clearly concerned about the flagging interest in holding Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accountable for his suspected role in ordering the killing, the CIA has decided to pick up where Turkey left off.
Last week, somebody inside the agency leaked a preliminary report to the Washington Post detailing the agency’s determination that MbS had ordered the killing. And on Saturday morning, the Wall Street Journal published the latest (illegal) intelligence agency leak when it reported on the contents of intercepts revealing that during the hours after and immediately before the killing, MbS had exchanged 11 messages with Saud al-Qahtani, a close aide to the prince who is believed to have supervised the murder squad.
Notably, the WSJ report followed a vote in the Senate earlier this week to open debate on a measure to withdraw US support for Saudi Arabia’s proxy war in Yemen (the kingdom’s brutal bombing campaigns have reportedly resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of innocents and created one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world). The Trump Administration has…