Smoke without Fire? Assessing the Impact of the UN Report on the Khashoggi Killing

    This policy outlook looks at the findings of a UN report on Khashoggi’s murder, the damning details that links the killing to Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and whether or not the report will be able to provoke any action against the Kingdom as a result of its findings.

    On October 2nd 2018, veteran Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and was never seen again. In the following days and weeks, amidst accusations, denials, and deflections from Saudi Arabia’s leadership, the disturbing details of Khashoggi’s murder began to surface. Eight months later, a damning report by UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard, has revealed that there is credible evidence linking Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and other highlevel officials to the killing of Khashoggi. Saudi officials have dismissed the report, and continue to maintain a position of innocence through a show of apologies to Khashoggi’s family, and seeking to placate the international community through questionable legal proceedings against those who have been accused of his murder by Saudi Arabia itself. This is not the first report of its kind since the killing; a month after the incident, the CIA released its own findings which concluded that MBS had ordered Khashoggi’s murder. However, a major concern is that the report will ultimately accomplish little other than to simply redirect attention to the killing. Many members of the international community, particularly those with close political and business ties to the kingdom, are reluctant to pursue action to make an example of MBS so that the same type of action is not pursued once again against dissidents and those deemed a threat.

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