Who’s Not Letting the Khashoggi Case Close?
NEW YORK – March 19, 2019
The American media, citing sources at the CIA, claims that the Saudi crown prince launched a covert campaign to silence dissenters prior to killings on an ongoing basis
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched a covert campaign to silence dissenters more than a year before the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the New York Times reported Sunday.
American officials with knowledge of classified reports told the Times that the group of operatives which killed and dismembered Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October carried out several other missions against dissidents.
According to the officials, who called the group the Saudi Rapid Intervention Group, members of the team were involved in at least a dozen operations starting in 2017.
Missions included forcibly repatriating Saudis from other Arab countries and detaining and abusing prisoners, the Times reported.
A spokesman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington told the Times that the kingdom “takes any allegations of ill treatment of defendants awaiting trial or prisoners serving their sentences very seriously.”
The Saudi government has maintained that the killing of Khashoggi was carried out by rogue agents as part of an interrogation that went off track. They have said that those responsibly are being prosecuted for the incident.
Saudi Arabia cracking down on dissidents is not new, but efforts to do so escalated sharply after Prince Mohammed became crown prince in 2017.
“We’ve never seen it on a scale like this,” Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst now with the Brookings Institution, told the Times. “A dissident like Jamal Khashoggi in the past wouldn’t have been considered worth the effort.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/17/world/middleeast/khashoggi-crown-prince-saudi.html - they say only about 12 cases.
In the photo is Loujain al-Hathloul. She was also abducted by The Rapid Intervention Group. Loujain al-Hathloul had been jailed for trying to drive her car into the kingdom from the United Arab Emirates.
She was not held in a prison, but was detained informally in what appeared to be an unused palace in the Red Sea port city of Jidda, according to Ms. al-Hathloul’s sister, Alia. She was locked in a small room, and the windows were covered. She was frequently taken downstairs for interrogation, which included beatings, electric shocks, waterboarding and threats of rape and murder or promises to kill her sister. She tried to commit suicide.
But the fight for democracy will be in Venezuela, where, unlike Saudi Arabia, there are even elections.
The revitalization of publications on the Khashoggi case is related to the fact that an active backstage war continues around the decision to withdraw American troops from Syria.
On the one hand, Trump made promises to Erdogan to withdraw the American troops in exchange for stopping the Turkish revelations on the Khashoggi case. On the other hand, Trump is attacked by his hawkish entourage led by Bolton, trying to delay or cancel the deal with Erdogan.
All this results in contradictory statements when they first talk about the withdrawal of all troops, then that there will be 200 soldiers, then 400 will remain, and then the whole 1,000. Then the Pentagon declares that it’s all lies and so many soldiers aren't planning to leave.
This is quite a visual reflection of the internal contradictions in the American military-political establishment and the hard struggle going on inside it.
Democrats take advantage of this situation and do not miss the opportunity to poke Trump with the Khasoggi case, even at the cost of further complications in relations between the US and Saudi Arabia; hence the periodic revelations of the Crown Prince Salman's involvement in the dismembered murder. Attempts by the Saudis to stop this story are regularly torpedoed by leaks from Qatar and the United States, although Turkey, pending the fulfillment of Trump's promises to withdraw troops, has exponentially ceased the publication of revealing materials. But if Trump will loop and tries to play back, you can be sure that Erdogan will note who was behind the team of dismemberers.