By Ramin Hossein Abadian

Riyadh's childish narrative of Khashoggi’s demise

October 22, 2018

TEHRAN - Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist, political activist and critic, disappeared about three weeks ago after arriving at the Consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul, Turkey, and no sign of him gas been discovered since then. The Saudi activist never got out of the Saudi consulate alive.

Since then, different media outlets such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, reported that he was killed by Saudi senior security officials sent by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

During this period, Saudi officials have not had constructive cooperation with the Turkish authorities to investigate the fate of Khashoggi. The Riyadh authorities have not cooperated in the search for clues about the fate of Riyadh's critical journalist. This has merely reinforced the perception of Riyadh's involvement in the killing. To this day, no one doubts the engagement of Riyadh's senior officials in the crime.

Childish narrative of Riyadh

After the passage of nearly three weeks since the disappearance of Khashoggi, the Saudi authorities finally had to admit his death, but they still refuse to take responsibility for the crime. To cover up their horrific crime, the Saudis presented a childish and ridiculous narrative to the public, so that they could overcome criticism.

Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb announced that Khashoggi was killed in Saudi's consulate in Istanbul. In a statement, Saud al-Mojeb confirmed the killing and said that on October 2 the journalist died in brawl. "Discussions that took place between him and the persons who met him … at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul led to a brawl and a fist fight with the citizen, Jamal Khashoggi, which led to his death, may his soul rest in peace," the attorney general said in a statement.

The Attorney General noted that the suspects went to Saudi Consulate in Turkey to bring Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia. A Saudi state –run news agency, in a statement, quoted Saudi Attorney General saying that 18 suspects were arrested in connection with the case. According to Saudi sources, bin Salman's adviser, Saud al-Qahtani, and Major General Ahmed al-Asiri are among the intelligence officials dismissed by Riyadh for involvement in the killing of Khashoggi.

To keep media attention away from Mohammed bin Salman, the House of Saud has created fabricated and the childish narratives, and the Saudi prosecutor’s remark is nothing more than a ridiculous ruse to mislead the public.

The overall content and ambiguity of the statement

A number of questions have been raised regarding the statement issued by the Saudi Arabian prosecutor's office, most notably its ambiguous content, with no details. The statement doesn’t point out why Khashoggi was going to the Saudi consulate, as well as the cause of the conflict in the building.

In addition, the statement also does not say why 15 Saudi intelligence officials were at the consulate building at the time Khashoggi was there. Of course, it is obvious that the team had gone to the consulate to execute the MBS’s order against Khashoggi.

The story behind the 15 security member team

Saudi Arabia's prosecutor's office also did not address what happened to Khashoggi after his murder, or where his body is. This untold fact can also suggest that the reports of mutilation of the body and its placement in various pieces of luggage was true. The body was taken out of the embassy by the team afterwards, in pieces.

The other issue here is why after three weeks Saudi officials decided to reveal the secret behind the killing of Khashoggi? How could the Saudi Consulate officials, including the Saudi Consul General who was at the time of the incident in the building, have been unaware of such a problem? No one in his right mind can believe such lies.

Wasting time to win alliance support

Saudi Arabia is a country with high level of tyranny and dictatorship and is governed by the power of the Saudi family. But no one believes that a crime at this level also takes place in the consulate in Istanbul without the knowledge of senior officials. The upshot could be regime change.

Undoubtedly, the main reason behind the failure of the Saudis to reveal the secret of the killing for weeks was the necessity of making up a false narrative about the incident.
Naturally, Saudi officials need the support of their allies in their narrative of Khashoggi’s murder, especially the United States. Thus, they took three weeks to receive support from their allies prior to presenting this narrative to the public.
U.S. President Donald Trump has fully supported the childish and ridiculous statement of the Saudi Attorney General. Receiving $100 million from Riyadh can shut the mouth of the US president.

Public opinion against Saudi Arabia  

The House of Saud is now left in a new crisis. The ridiculous narrative of Riyadh has not been received well by the public and the media in various parts of the world and they have described the narrative as highly questionable and dubious.

In line with that, the New York Times wrote:  "Saudi Arabia lies about the killing of the Khashoggi are quite obvious and unbelievable. If Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman fails to take responsibility for the killing of Khashoggi, this will be a green light for him. Bin Salman had already denied responsibility for the abduction of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri and keeping eight million Yemeni people hungry.”

The Washington Post also wrote: “Audio tapes released on Khashoggi’s murder would make it difficult for the White House to accept Saudi Arabia’s statement in pretending that the killing of Khashoggi was a mere incident. The CIA officials have listened to recordings of Turkish officials saying they have reasons to believe that Khashoggi’s body has been mutilated.”

Fake narratives in Riyadh's foreign policy

Amnesty International announced on Saturday that Saudi neutrality is a matter of inquiry into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. The non-governmental organization said in a statement that Amnesty International and other human rights institutions are calling for is the UN's impartial investigations to reveal the truth and enforce justice.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on illegal executions stated that Saudi Arabia's explanations for the arbitrary murder of Saudi journalist Khashoggi are not logical and rational. He added that no government should accept Saudi Arabia's statements or believe that they are conducting research in this regard. "We need a credible and transparent investigation to identify the killers of Khashoggi," the United Nations official said.

To wrap up, experience has illustrated that Riyadh authorities always ignore the wisdom of the public, creating childish and ridiculous narratives to cover up their crimes. The Saudi prosecutor's statement on the murder of Khashoggi is even a reminder of the false narrative of the Riyadh authorities about the shooting around the Al-Khazami Royal Palace; an incident that Riyadh alleges involved a toy drone over the palace.