Jim Denison: Why a Journalist’s Disappearance Is Globally Significant

Jamal Khashoggi, a famous journalist and critic of Saudi Arabia’s leadership, walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain some documents. He has not been seen since.

His fiancée is afraid he has been kidnapped or killed. Turkish authorities claim to have evidence that he was tortured and murdered by Saudi agents. Saudi officials insist he left the consulate shortly after arriving.

Let’s survey what we know this morning, then we’ll explore the reasons why his disappearance is so significant to the Middle East and to the West.

Who is Jamal Khashoggi?

Jamal Khashoggi was born in Medina in 1958. His grandfather was the personal physician of King Abdulaziz Al Saud, the founder of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His cousin, Dodi Fayed, was dating Princess Diana when the two were killed in 1997.

A longtime critic of the Saudi government, he relocated to the US in 2017 and began writing for the Washington Post. He founded a new political party this year directly opposing the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

On the afternoon of October 2, he went inside the main entrance of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul to obtain a document proving he was divorced. He could then marry his fiancée, a Turkish citizen, who waited outside. After he did not come back out, she reported him missing. The Saudi government claims he left the consulate through a back entrance.

What happened to Khashoggi?

CNN reported on Monday that the Saudis were preparing a statement acknowledging that Khashoggi’s death was the result of an interrogation gone wrong. According to CNN’s sources, the interrogation was intended to lead to his abduction from Turkey. The report would likely conclude that the operation was carried out without clearance and that those involved will be held responsible.

However, Turkish officials now claim that Saudi operatives beat, drugged, killed, and dismembered Khashoggi in the presence of the kingdom’s top diplomat in Istanbul. They state that a group of fifteen Saudi nationals was “most certainly involved” in the crime. The New York Times has reported that several of the fifteen have direct links to Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman.

Republican senators are calling for answers and retaliatory action over the journalist’s disappearance. The Washington Post has now published a column it received from Khashoggi’s assistant the day after he disappeared, an article calling for a free press in the Arab world.

The president stated yesterday that he would receive a “full report” from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he returned Wednesday night from his meetings with Saudi and Turkish leaders.

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Source: Christian Post