Top Aide To Saudi Crown Prince Allegedly Ordered Khashoggi Murder Via Skype
A top aide to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman reportedly ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by instructing members of a hit squad via a Skype call to “bring me the head of the dog.” Saud al-Qahtani, a close confidant of bin Salman who has been relieved of his duty as media adviser, is accused of directing the murder that took place in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Khashoggi’s disappearance sent shock waves across the globe, with European countries now calling for an arms embargo on the conservative Muslim nation. For his part, United States President Donald Trump has been put on the defensive, after making Sunni Saudi Arabia a centerpiece of his foreign policy goal to curb Shiite Iran’s regional expansionism and potential nuclearization. Turkish authorities claim that an audio recording exists that proves Khashoggi was tortured and dismembered, and President Recep tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday asserted in a televised parliamentary speech that “intelligence and security institutions have evidence showing the murder was planned.” Meanwhile, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, a primary conduit between Washington and Riyadh, cast doubt on Saudi Arabia’s explanation of the events. The House of Saud initially denied any responsibility for the killing before two weeks later suggesting that Khashoggi lost his life in a fight in the mission during a botched interrogation by rogue operatives. The kingdom’s foreign minister over the weekend called the ordeal a “huge and grave mistake” and insisted that bin Salman played no role in and was not even aware of the operation.