Is the global response to Khashoggi killing tough enough? | Inside Story

Saul Bowman
October 28, 2018

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The murder of the Washington Post contributor has severely dented the worldwide reputation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who has spearheaded a reform drive in the kingdom.

First, Saudi Arabia said Khashoggi had left the building alive, then that he had been killed in a "fist-fight" inside the consulate.

Many worldwide business leaders pulled out of the Future Investment Initiative, the kingdom's main economic forum, after the October 2 killing of The Washington Post columnist inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Allegations in Turkish media have pointed the finger at powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but Riyadh has angrily denied such claims with the foreign minister saying operatives who acted "outside the scope of their authority" were to blame.

After the killing, many global business leaders and Western officials pulled out of the forum, including the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Uber, Siemens and Blackrock.

On Tuesday, Trudeau seemed reluctant to cancel the deal with Saudi Arabia, billed as the largest arms deal in Canadian history.

Representatives of the Central Intelligence Agency declined to comment on Haspel's review of the recording. It may have taken the Khashoggi killing to force a change, he said.

Dogu Perincek, leader of Turkey's Rodina party, also claimed in an interview that the journalist's body parts were discovered in a well in the garden at the consul general's home, Haberler reported.

"It is very important for the inquiry to be carried out by an impartial Turkey will pursue this matter to the very end.This incident has occurred in Istanbul, so this team of 18 people should be tried in Istanbul", Erdogan told the Turkish parliament in Ankara on Tuesday. "The word from President Erdogan this morning that this brutal murder was premeditated, preplanned days in advance, flies in the face of earlier assertions that had been made by the Saudi regime".

But in the bluntest sign yet of strained ties, one of Erdogan's advisers wrote in a Turkish newspaper that Prince Mohammed had "blood on his hands".

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It finally said that Khashoggi had been murdered in a "rogue operation" that the leadership had not been aware of.

Whatever the USA response, US ties with its Gulf ally have hit rough waters. But when he was asked whether Crown Prince Mohammed might have known, Trump said, "Well, the prince is running things over there more so at this stage".

The killing overshadowed a major business conference in Riyadh this week but Prince Mohammed, striking a defiant tone, told worldwide investors on Wednesday that the furore would not derail the kingdom's reform drive.

Pedro Sanchez told lawmakers that protecting jobs in southern Spain was central to his decision last month to go ahead with a controversial bomb shipment to Saudi Arabia.

Rather than cancel their participation altogether, some companies sent midlevel executives. The poll has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

The crisis has presented a threat to bin Salman in a way that a bloody war in Yemen, the alleged abduction of the Lebanese Prime Minister, and a crackdown on dissent at home, have not.

"When I last spoke to Jamal in May, he complained about the increasing use of travel bans, describing them as the "favourite form of punishment" used by MBS against families of critics", Morris tweeted.

But in the forum's vast and ornate auditorium, thousands of people who did attend rose to their feet to applaud the 33-year-old heir whose strong showing underscored his reputation for being bold and assertive.

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