Bone Saw Week Overtime: The Fisticuffs Edition
Did we say Bone Saw Week was over? Remind us never to do that again! This horror show has more episodes than the Friday the 13th movies. The pixels had barely dried on our Friday afternoon post on the murder of dissident Saudi reporter Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident, when the Saudi government came out with yet another preposterous explanation for Khashoggi's death.
What had happened was, a 60-year-old reporter walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and started a fight with 15 armed men who had flown in just hours before to meet him. Despite having told his friends that he could never safely go home to KSA, he came to discuss returning to the Kingdom with the 15 men. One of whom was a coroner. And another of whom had brought a bonesaw for the discussion. And his favorite autopsy play list. Unfortunately, a fight broke out between the reporter and the 15 men, and Khashoggi got dead. Something happened to his body, and then all the men got on a plane and went home so the consulate could get on with repainting. Several of the men made calls to the royal palace that day, but Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman never knew anything about their rogue operation. And now MBS will supervise a commission to reform his kingdom's intelligence service to ensure that no further fisticuffs take place in Saudi diplomatic facilities. So, we good?
Only they said it more fancy-like.
Preliminary investigations carried out by the Public Prosecution Office into the disappearance of citizen Jamal Khashoggi revealed that the discussions that took place between him and the persons with whom he met him during his visit to the Kingdom's Consulate in Istanbul led quarrels and an altercation, which tragically resulted in his death.
The Public Prosecutor confirms that its investigations into this case continue with 18 individuals, who are all Saudi nationals, in custody with the aim of reaching all the facts and declaring them, and to hold all those involved in this case accountable and bringing them to justice.
And Donald Trump said, "Okay, nice work boys. Let's get back to selling bombs." More or less. Then he made some more lies about $100 billion of arms sales to the Saudis supporting 500,000 jobs, only this time it was a million jobs. (The entire defense and national security sector supported 355,000 jobs in 2016.) But Jared Kushner didn't argue since, quite apart from his own personal entanglements, he redesigned American foreign policy on a deep platform of IRAN BAD, SAUDI ARABIA AND ISRAEL GOOD. And if the Saudis are bad, then maybe he's actually an idiot. (Spoiler alert!)
As the Financial Times reports,
"Jared's terrified—he has staked everything that he's done on the relationship," said the person close to Mr Trump. "He's saying [to the president]: 'Look you have to stay the course, these are our allies for 100 years, it's one single event, let the sovereign country do its investigation.'"
Meanwhile, MBS set about purging his intelligence service of all the bad apples who did those terrible things entirely behind his back. Pay no attention to the long history of kidnapping dissidents from third party countries, including Switzerland. Those intercepts showing MBS ordering his intelligence agents to bring Khashoggi home are all just a big misunderstanding. If MBS's top intelligence advisor Saud al-Qahtani was trying to lure Saudi women's rights activist Manal al-Sharif to the Saudi embassy in Australia using pictures of her son, it was for entirely legitimate purposes and without the knowledge of the Prince, who granted women the limited right to drive, and then locked up all the activists who had agitated for it.
Anyway, Qahtani and all his buddies got fired, so now it's time to get down to business and square up with the Turks. Because Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government has been driving this story by investigating the matter on its own and leaking information and audio of the killing obtained from Khashoggi's Apple watch winkwink. And they're sure as hell not doing it out of sincere affection for a free press. WaPo reports,
"The Turks have leaked information in drips and drops, ultimately in my estimation to increase the price of settlement," said Joshua Walker, a former Turkey specialist at the State Department. "Turkey has been in a tough economic situation since the summer, and as we have seen with its relationship with Qatar, it is not above leveraging its relationships," he said, referring to a pledge by Qatar in August to invest $15 billion in the Turkish economy.
There is no indication that Erdogan has asked for monetary compensation or political favors from Riyadh, but Western diplomats suspected that Saudi Arabia would compensate Turkey if it blessed the kingdom's explanation for Khashoggi's disappearance — a payback that could come in the form of large-scale debt relief, strategic buyouts or other arrangements.
There are no Boy Scouts here. And no Wonkette either, because we are DONE with Bone Saw Week! And this time, we mean it.
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