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US’ Khashoggi report ‘surprising’ but disappoints many: Award-winning journalist

Jonathan Rugman, author of The Killing in the Consulate, thinks the Crown Prince is not 'being held accountable in the court of law'.

8 mins read

A newly-declassified US intelligence statement on the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul is “unexpected,” as per British correspondent Jonathan Rugman.

Rugman, a foreign relations journalist for Channel 4 and the writer of The Killing in the Consulate, a study of the cruel murder, considers that the report’s detection of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the one who ordered the killing of Khashoggi was surprising.

“We knew from leaks of CIA findings in 2018 that the Americans believed the Crown Prince was behind the operation to capture or kill Jamal Khashoggi, but it is still very shocking to see it in black and white,” Rugman spoke.

On Feb. 26, the US intelligence group officially held the Crown Prince, aka MBS, accountable for the dreadful murder.

The Director of National Intelligence’s (DNI) long-sought uncategorized chronicle established that the Kingdom’s de-facto sovereign “approved” the act in Istanbul to “capture or kill” Khashoggi.

“The significance of the report is that the Biden administration has taken a very different stance to the Trump administration. The Trump administration said maybe he maybe he wasn’t involved,” Rugman held.

Then-President Donald Trump restrained the allegations of Saudi attachment and snubbed to make public the verdicts of government intelligence experts, judgments only released the previous month.

“The Biden administration has tried to keep to its election campaign promise to hold the Saudis accountable and specifically the Saudi Crown Prince,” Rugman commented.

“Now the Saudi Crown Prince has been held accountable by their report in the sense that it came out and it shames him and embarrasses him, and it names him.”

While Rugman alleged the Crown Prince is not “being properly held accountable in a court of law,” he further said that he was also “surprised” that “the Americans have disappeared as far as they have.”

“I know a lot of people will be disappointed that the Americans did not go further but they have sanctioned 21leading members of the hit squad, but they have not sanctioned the Crown Prince himself,” he commented.

“The calculation is clearly being made that the Crown Prince is too important to be individually sanctioned, but he is not welcome in America. He is not likely to be welcomed in America for a long time to come.”

Including this, Rugman further illustrated the report as a discontent to Agnes Callamard, the UN rapporter on summary accomplishments, as well as Khashoggi’s wife-to-be Hatice Cengiz, toting that the US strained to foray a poise in the report, as they might potentially do business with the Crown Prince in the upcoming years as he is in line for the Saudi throne.

Rugman’s manuscript

Rugman, a BAFTA-winning reporter who worked in Turkey in the 1990s, accumulated the findings of his reporting of the Khashoggi murder in a book issued in October 2019, the first anniversary of the carnage.

Rugman’s book provides comprehensive circumstantial evidence of the “dreadful” crime and looks at the abysmal, long-lasting links of US administrations with the Saudi Kingdom.

On October 2, 2018, Khashoggi, was murdered and dismembered by a group of Saudi hands soon after he arrived at the consulate in Istanbul to get a nuptial certificate.

After days of refuting connection, Saudi Arabia self-proclaimed that Khashoggi had been murdered at the embassy but demanded that the royal family had no preceding information of a conspiracy of killing him.

Rendering to reports by the United Nations and other autonomous officialdoms, he was murdered and mutilated. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman confirmed accountability for the killing but refuted ordering it.

Previously, Rugman held there was reasonably amount of indication of what occurred behind closed doors “because the Turkish government leaked some details of the transcripts on what happened in the Saudi Consulate.”

“They also leaked to the press the images of the hit squad arriving at the consulate and walking through Istanbul Airport,” he further said, itemizing Turkish government material on the killing unrestricted in the days after the horrific homicide.

He believed that considering the pictures of bags being taken out by Saudis into the consul’s dwelling, it is not laidback to say with unquestionably what accurately the bags contained.

“We believe those bags contained the body, but it was difficult,” he explained.

Outsmart by fragmented Prince

The British correspondent also assessed the two flanks of MBS, who the US tale entitled as the topmost person after the massacre of Khashoggi, the specialist who well-organized the killing.

“I think there is something rough and uneducated about the crown prince (…) He has this big, bearded, charismatic look. He looks like a sort of throwback to the tribal chieftains of the old Saudi Kingdom.” he said.

“But he also has this modernizing streak,” he expressed, referring to such moves as opening movie theaters in the Gulf country and granting women the right to drive.

“He granted women the right to drive but put in prison those who campaigned for that right, so there’s a strange split there.”

While indicating out that Saudi Arabia is kingdom, Rugman cautioned that this means dispensations given to people could also be taken away.

“So, you give women the right to drive but you imprison those who campaign for it. Because that comes from the Prince, from the King, and doesn’t come from the people,” he said, adding that the country has “no political parties, no trade unions.”

Speaking of the Crown Prince, he said: “In his hurry to transform Saudi Arabia, he has overreached himself.”

“He has taken on too much power. He has stifled rivals. He has arrested them. They’ve been accused of treason. We had that incident where hundreds of princes were rounded up in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel,” he said, referring to a November 2017 political purge.

“So there’s a pattern of reckless behavior accompanied by a desire to change, but almost an inability to be able to do both.”

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