Jamal Khashoggi’s Disappearance


Julia Virnelli, Staff Writer

Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent journalist and critic of Saudi rule, planned on going to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to pick up a document on Tuesday. Despite the warnings from many of his friends and family of the danger this trek may hold, he insisted on going. On Tuesday afternoon, Khashoggi entered the consulate and has not been seen since.

Turkish investigators believe that 15 Saudi agents killed him inside the consulate. “He was killed and his body dismembered,” head of the Turkish Arab Media Association, Turan Kislakci, says. However, Saudi Arabia denies it, saying that Khashoggi left right after he entered.

On Monday, Donald Trump said that the king of Saudi Arabia denied knowing anything about Khashoggi, but decided to send his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to meet with the Saudi leader. Pompeo was sent immediately after President Trump had a phone call with the Saudi King, who denied any knowledge or responsibility of this event.

Two weeks later, Saudi Arabia finally admitted that Jamal Khashoggi was dead. Since this investigation is still ongoing, the information we know is still very limited. However, we do know that Khashoggi was killed after an argument and fist fight with unidentified Saudi men. As a result, 18 men were arrested and are under investigation. Maj. Gen. Ahmed al Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, was let go, along with many other high-ranking Saudi officials.

President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he now believes that Khashoggi is officially dead, and conveyed a feeling of trust in reports from multiple sources saying that the involvement of Saudi Arabia in Khashoggi’s death was high. “ Unless the miracle of all miracles happens, I would acknowledge that he is dead. That’s based on everything- intelligence coming from every side,” says President Donald Trump. When asked about the consequences Saudi Arabia would face as a result of this event, he responded, “Well, it’ll have to be very, very severe. I mean, it’s bad, bad stuff.”

Much of the evidence that suggests Saudi Arabia was involved comes from Turkish authorities and pro-government news outlets. A Turkish news outlet released photos of a close associate of Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad Bin Salman entering the consulate the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance. Along with this, a senior Turkish official described an audio recording of how Khashoggi was killed and details of how he was beheaded and dismembered.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister publicly apologized to Khashoggi’s family, saying that the death was a “tremendous mistake,” and out of their authority and responsibility. After the release of this apology, and in an attempt to increase the pressure on Saudi Arabia, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they would reveal everything they know about Jamal Khashoggi’s death. Many of their officials suggest that Khashoggi’s death was deliberate, and ordered at the highest levels of the kingdom. The president of Turkey says he has much more to say on this matter but has not released any of this information as of now.

As this article goes to print, there is still a lot more to observe and learn, such as the Turkish investigation results, America’s response, and how Saudi Arabia will overall deal with this pressing issue. No matter what the outcome may be, Saudi Arabia must shed more light on this topic. As one columnist, Mahmut Over wrote, the Crown Prince “has no chance to emerge clean from this.”