Some lie and some die: Saudi media and Khashoggi affair

    Instead of providing meaningful information about Khashoggi’s disappearance or even offering substantial counter-evidence, the Saudi media’s reaction ranged from total denial and obfuscation to the construction of baseless conspiracy theories.

    After almost three weeks of denials and blame deflection, the Saudi authorities finally backtracked on Oct. 19, 2018, announcing that Khashoggi died during a “brawl” inside the consulate on Oct. 2 and that 18 Saudis have been arrested in connection with this case. Moreover, two top aides of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), as well as three other intelligence agents, have been sacked.

    Regardless of the Saudi version’s dubious veracity, the gruesome murder and likely dismemberment of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which took place on Oct. 2 inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, convey not only a sinister picture of the Saudi regime but also an extraordinarily poor impression of their media.

    It should be noted that the Saudi regime has a long history of kidnapping opponents. Luring dissidents to meetings and kidnapping them appears to be a regularly used tactic. For instance, Naser al-Sa’id, one of the first opposition leaders against the Saudi royal family, disappeared in Beirut in 1979. Similarly, Prince Sultan bin Turki was abducted in Geneva and put on a plane destined to Saudi Arabia in 2003 after calling for reforms in Saudi Arabia. Likewise, Prince Turki bin Bandar Al-Saud, a former police chief, was also snatched overseas in 2015 and rendered against his will to Saudi Arabia.

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