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Post Still-Unanswered Questions on Khashoggi Killing (from Gary Moore)
Created by John Eipper on 11/02/18 6:22 AM

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Still-Unanswered Questions on Khashoggi Killing (from Gary Moore) (John Eipper, USA, 11/02/18 6:22 am)

Gary Moore writes:

Two brief clarifications, in the Did-I-Read-What-I-Thought-I-Read category:

1) Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich (November 1st) pointed out a Guardian article on the Khashoggi killing and paired it with Timothy Ashby's important musing on John Bolton, the notorious Trump national security adviser, saying here was confirmation, But I agree with JE that one should look carefully at the Guardian article and see it didn't mention Bolton: not a confirmation.

But at the same time, Tim's statement seems compelling and persuasive. The Guardian was focusing on a BBC interview with Sir John Sawers, British ex-head of Mi6, who said bluntly that Saudi Arabia wouldn't have undertaken such mayhem as the Khashoggi affair without some kind of feeling that the US would tolerate it. This could be paired with Tim's thought in another way, by wondering whether the sneering, loose-cannon presence of Bolton (informed or not) may have made the prince bolder, and perhaps could give some scrap of explanation for the unexplainable: How in the world did the Saudi prince think he could get away with this stuff?

2) On my geography riddle (Google Street View looks at Istanbul), JE's comment points out an important disconnect on Khashoggi. John wondered how pieces of the murder victim could have gone down the consul's garden well if, at the same time, those pieces were smuggled out of Turkey in diplomatic pouches. This underscores how many different scenarios we've heard on what Turkish intelligence says it knows about the murder.

Another important contradiction is this: Now, Turkish authorities are saying Khashoggi was strangled almost immediately upon setting foot inside the Saudi consulate. But if so, what happened to the torture, the cutting off of the fingers while still alive, and related images? Even when facts are made public about a shocking event, it's easy to read more into a printed implication than perhaps is really there. And all the more so when Turkey is withholding the specifics and dribbling out stray clues--or stray insinuations.

The failure of Turkish President Erdogan to reveal, in his revealing-all-nakedness speech, what his government knows suggests that the public picture of a landmark event now hovers on a knife's edge--between the possibility of full disclosure and the possibility that the questions may fade, forever unanswered, into the rush of the news cycle.

JE comments:  What are we to make of this piece in The Telegraph?  MbS reportedly told the White House (Bolton and Kushner) days after the murder that Khashoggi was a "dangerous Islamist."  Did he say "is" or "was" when Khashoggi was still "officially" alive?


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