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Okay, yes, it does look BAD when a dissident reporter disappears inside your consulate and is never seen again. But there's a perfectly reasonable explanation. See, the Saudis were just trying to interrogate and kidnap dissident reporter Jamal Khashoggi, and then some bad guys wound up murdering him by accident. So, no harm, no foul, right? RIGHT?

After spending a week insisting that Khashoggi walked out of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul safe and sound, the Saudis are now admitting that perhaps they did make a wee, tiny fib, and maybe Khashoggi did get dead while his fiancée waited outside in increasing fear and panic for seven hours. The Post reports,

Over the past few days, Saudi officials have discussed issuing a statement that, in part, would mention a botched operation and call for the punishment of culpable officials, according to another person with knowledge of the discussions. The statement would be issued only after Saudi Arabia reached an agreement with Turkey on how to proceed with the investigation, the person said.

Those must be the Rogue Killers Donald Trump was guessing about yesterday. The ones who boarded two charter flights with a bone saw, coroner, and diplomatic passports in hand to meet Jamal Khashoggi for his previously scheduled appointment at the Saudi consulate. Leaving aside the plausibility of 15 guys taking a bone saw and an autopsy expert to have a conversation with one 60-year-old reporter, in what universe is Whoops, we were just torturing this guy and trying to kidnap him when he rudely up and died, so we had to cut up his body and take the pieces home in our luggage! a good explanation? How is that better?


Are they going to pretend that Jared Kushner's BFF Mohammed bin Salman was unaware that his own government officials were planning to kidnap and torture Khashoggi? Because that ship has sailed. Desperate to defend itself against accusations that it failed to warn the reporter, US intelligence agencies already leaked the existence of intercepts showing that the Crown Prince MBS ordered Khashoggi's detention. The Post reports,

The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered an operation to lure Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia from his home in Virginia and then detain him, according to U.S. intelligence intercepts of Saudi officials discussing the plan.

So, it's just possible that MBS's father King Salman was telling the truth when he told Trump he knew nothing of Khashoggi's murder. But the son is BURNT. Even Lindsey Graham's as mad as a white guy confronted with decades of sexual assault and alcoholism allegations, telling Fox & Friends,

This guy is a wrecking ball. He had this guy murdered in a consulate in Turkey, and to expect me to ignore it — I feel used and abused.

At least he will be until Trump pulls on his leash and tells him to heel. Because here's Mike Pompeo showing some love for the young despot THIS MORNING.



Embed from Getty Images


And just in case that wasn't clear enough, Pompeo would like to thank the Saudis for being such wonderful partners in promoting peace on earth and fossil fuels for all men.

SUBTLE.

Meanwhile, the Turkish authorities spent hours searching the Saudi consulate in Istanbul yesterday, and they claim to have found "certain evidence" of Khashoggi's murder on the premises. By sheer coincidence, the Saudis had repainted some furnishings or rooms in the consulate and undertaken a thorough cleaning before the investigators arrived. In yet another coincidence, the Saudi Consul Mohammed al-Otaibi left the country shortly after the Turkish government announced its intention to search his official residence.

We look forward to a transparent and open investigation. Sort of. What did that paragraph up top say again?

Over the past few days, Saudi officials have discussed issuing a statement that, in part, would mention a botched operation and call for the punishment of culpable officials, according to another person with knowledge of the discussions. The statement would be issued only after Saudi Arabia reached an agreement with Turkey on how to proceed with the investigation, the person said.

Got it. So, once they've decided the outcome and agreed on a story, they'll release the negotiated conclusion. Then we can all go back to trading oil for guns as God intended. Well, maybe not all of us. MBS did just imprison a bunch of his cousins in the Ritz Carlton Riyadh and "persuade" them to hand several billion over to the government. If this Khashoggi thing goes sideways, there might be one or two princes with a few scores to settle.

Luckily, MBS got Jared's father-in-law to vouch for him. So it's all good!

THE SPICE MUST FLOW.

[ WaPo / AP / CNBC / WaPo, again / Reuters]

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