Jamal Khashoggi’s Secret Interview Released After His Death Confirmed


In a sprawling Saturday New York Times report looking at the Saudi Arabian leadership's social media campaign to silence critics and influence thinking, one detail stands out: The story of former Twitter employee Ali Alzabarah.

Those fired included Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's adviser Saud al-Qahtani and deputy intelligence chief Maj.

In an attempt to contain the damage, Riyadh said it had sacked several officials, including Ahmad al-Assiri, a top general in the General Intelligence Agency (GIA) and a close aide to bin Salman.

In contrast, Turkish media have reported that Turkish investigators have evidence, including recordings, that Khashoggi was tortured, killed and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad sent to the consulate ahead of his arrival.

The public prosecutor said 18 people, all Saudi nationals, have been detained in connection to the probe.

Khashoggi went missing on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents needed for his upcoming marriage.

"And now", he added, "its implication and involvement in the death of a journalist makes it very clear at this point that we can no longer continue to sell arms to Saudi Arabia".

"The United States acknowledges the announcement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that its investigation into the fate of Jamal Khashoggi is progressing and that it has taken action against the suspects it has identified thus far".

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "stresses the need for a prompt, thorough and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mr Khashoggi's death and full accountability for those responsible", spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Trump said he found Saudi Arabia's explanation "credible" and described it as an important first step. "We have nothing to hide", says the crown prince.

The announcement could ease strains with the US and Turkey but leaves lingering questions about the extent of Prince Mohammed's role in and knowledge of the incident.

However, amid the rising global pressure, Turkey and Saudi Arabia conducted a joint search of the Saudi consulate. "I don't think it is possible for the Saudi government to get away with this crime by saying 'x person has committed it'".

"We're seeing a lot of countries taking now a much more dim view of their business relationship with Saudi Arabia", MacKay said.

Those responsible then tried to cover it up, a Saudi statement said, but there is no mention of what happened to the journalist's body.

Khashoggi also criticised Prince Mohammed's lack of "proper advisers".

The episode had threatened to create a diplomatic crisis with the U.S., which sees its alliance with Riyadh as the cornerstone of its West Asia policy, and Turkey, which has tenuous ties with Saudi Arabia.

Mr Trump stressed the importance of Saudi Arabia as a counterbalance to Iran in the Middle East, and pushed back against the need for sanctions against the country in light of the new information, talking about the effect of such a move on the USA economy. "That's why this is so sad", Trump told reporters in Scottsdale, Arizona, after signing a memorandum on Western water rights.

However, the admission, which came amid increasing pressure on Riyadh, has done little to ease worldwide demands for accountability.