Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Khashoggi's "Disappearance": A New Twist In Bitter Gulf Divisions

 It was mentioned in this post Missing "journalist" Jamal Khashoggi? Or Arms Trader Like Namesake Adnan Khashoggi? that there were serious divisions between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
 Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been on the outs for a while now
1- Turkey has good relations with Iran- To the consternation of Saudi Arabia
2- Turkey sided with Qatar- When the Saudi's tried to embargo Qatar- Both Turkey and Iran supported the nation- Certainly raising Saudi ire.
3- Saudi Arabia has been providing weapons to the PKK- this has caused  a lot of hard feelings for Turkey.  As has been previously covered here at the blog.
Also :
- Or if someone kidnapped him while on Turkish territory, though in the Saudi consulate, it might lead one to suspect that acrimony is being further fuelled between the Turks and the Saudis?  (Harkening back to the assassination of the Russian Ambassador on Turkish soil. That incident appeared to be an attempt to place a wedge between Turkey and Russia)
Who benefits from still more division in that hotly contested region?

Khashoggi's disappearance: A new twist in bitter Gulf battle
Over the weekend, the story of Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance after his entry into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul became more muddled, in the midst of an intra-Gulf media war.

At this point, lacking definitive evidence on either side, it's difficult to know what will happen, and what regional responses will look like.

Without a doubt, though, the implications of Khashoggi's disappearance are wide-ranging, aside from being traumatic and potentially tragic for his family and friends.

Further, if he has in fact been detained or killed by Saudi officials, these actions deal a severe blow to free speech and create considerable anxiety among Gulf-based and Gulf-focused academics and journalists, as well as sending a powerful message to Gulf nationals who publicly criticise government policies.

Until we reliably know what has happened to Khashoggi, however, the only thing that is certain is that his disappearance has both revealed and heightened tensions between the two sides of the Gulf crisis, as is shown in media coverage of the event across the Gulf.

The Saudi press seems to be advancing a narrative in which Hatice (Khadija) Cengiz, Khashoggi's Turkish fiancée, is potentially suspicious, with Jamal's son Saleh - who has been banned from travelling for more than a year - stating that he has never met Cengiz.
The Khashoggi family also released a statement in support of Saudi government efforts to find Jamal: "We trust the government and the actions it has taken and all the efforts being made in the case of Jamal Khashoggi."
Jamal's son never met the fiance. Khashoggi family supports the Saudi government.
This reaction, as well as the circulation over Twitter of news stories about the murders of a Kuwaiti businessman and the leader of an Iranian opposition television channel, aim to portray Turkey as a lawless, Islamist-led country - and Khashoggi's disappearance as a consequence of that environment, rather than part of a Saudi plot.
Duelling divisive narratives..
Qatari and Turkish interests have become increasingly aligned as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE cut off ties with Qatar in June of last year        

Some commentators in Saudi Arabia and the UAE have also attempted to link Khashoggi's disappearance to a "Qatari-Turkish Islamist smear campaign", claiming that either Qatari or Turkish leaderships would have better information about Khashoggi's location than the Saudis in whose consulate he was last seen.

On the Qatari media side of the rift, the report from Turkish police about Khashoggi's death continues to be circulated, as well as concern about assaults on free speech in Saudi Arabia.
Employees at Al Jazeera English posed with photos of Khashoggi and signs in support of his release.

Importantly, and not coincidentally, Qatari and Turkish interests have become increasingly aligned as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE cut off ties with Qatar in June of last year, thus leading to claims on the Saudi side of the rift of "collusion" between Ankara and Doha.

Much like many other stories since the start of the rift, then, depending on what you read, you have a completely different perception of what has happened since Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate last week.

Unlike in other stories where some middle narrative is likely to be true, however, the options here are very stark.

Whether or not the facts come out about what has happened, regional fallout will likely follow, and the existing camps of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, versus Qatar and Turkey are likely to become even more entrenched
His disappearance has both revealed and heightened tensions between the two sides of the Gulf crisis        

Concerns about political Islam - especially on the Saudi-Bahrain-UAE side - are never far from the surface. Ideology, namely sympathy for Islamists (broadly speaking), is given by them as the primary reason for the Qatari-Turkish relationship, ignoring the regional dynamics that actually make the relationship pragmatic, especially for a blockaded Qatar.

As long as lines continue to be drawn isolating - and considering fundamentally untrustworthy - countries that do not view the Brotherhood as threatening, tensions will continue to play out in the media, yet hopefully not at a major human cost.

Dr Courtney Freer is a senior advisor at Gulf State Analytics and a research officer for the Kuwait Programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Still from CCTV footage released by Turkey→

Wondering where Khashoggi’s fiancé is.
Khashoggi seems quite alone as he entered the premises
No farewell kiss outside the door before he, unknowingly, exits her life?

(Yes, I know she could be out of the frame- I’m just pullin’ heart strings)
Competing unsubstantiated narratives :Khashoggi alive and held captive by Saudis
“The source said that after entering the embassy Khashoggi was taken in a black Mercedes S-500 and a white minivan with four Saudi officials to Istanbul airport, where he was flown on a private jet to Dubai and then Riyadh, where he is now being held.
Flight records show that a Gulf Stream IV private jet, tail number HZ-SK2, landed in Istanbul at 3am on October 2, the day Khashoggi disappeared.

The jet left later that day, stopping in Dubai and then flying on to Riyadh. Khashoggi was driven from there to Riyadh, and was held there, the source said.

The source was told Khashoggi is still alive, contradicting the claims he was murdered in the Istanbul embassy.
The different version of events cannot be independently verified. “

Alive or dead and dismembered?

While neither story can be validated, can't help but notice in both versions we have some persons originating from Saudi Arabia...  A group of people, we are told. Arriving at Ataturk airport prior to Khashoggi’s arrival at the embassy. Coming into some sort of contact with Khashoggi. And then Khashoggi disappearing. 

Was Khashoggi kidnapped or had he arranged this event himself? 

As a means of going back to Saudi Arabia, for some reason known to himself,  that he could later spin or twist into some politically expedient narrative?  After all he's been presented as being dead set against MBS. And living in self imposed exile. What a great way to take care of business in Saudi Arabia, while appearing as if you were there against your will?

 Given Khasshoggi’s propensity for story telling. I’m expecting he’ll turn up alive with some fantastic tale to tell. Will it be reality? Or the reality you and I are  to believe?

Sort of like his time spent traveling with Osama Bin Laden....

UPDATE: October 10/2018 5:35 EDT
Another TWIST😲

A Saudi source, with information from British Intelligence is suggesting that there was an attempt to drug Khashoggi that culminated in an accidental overdose

"A Saudi source told Reuters that British intelligence believed there had been an attempt to drug Khashoggi inside the consulate that culminated in an overdose. He said the information came from a British intelligence source. Contacted by Reuters, British intelligence did not comment. Asked about this account, a Saudi official said: "This death is not true."


  1. This strangely reminds me of the disappearance last year of Lebanon's Hariri, then his reappearance on Saudi TV to resign as leader - and then his later renunciation of his resignation.

    "Why Saad Hariri Had That Strange Sojourn in Saudi Arabia"

    Could it be that the Saudis brought Khashoggi in for a little mental tweaking?

  2. Hey Yaya:

    J had left that same observation regarding similarities to Hariri..
    Could be?

    But, for myself, I'm less inclined to see Khashoggi's disappearance in that same light

    Hariri is more servile to the elite structure of Saudi Arabia
    In my mind I see Khashoggi as part of that elite structure- so I don't so much perceive him as in need of 'tweaking'

    Rather I see him in a leadership aka starring role in this drama-

    The alleged fiance has an op ed in Washington Post.

    Titled "Please, President Trump, shed light on my fiance’s disappearance"

    Asking Trump to get involved?

    Feeling like were being psyoped in some way.

  3. Sorry, Penny, I hadn't noticed someone else made the same comment.

    Geez, the WashPost, eh? Font of all BS. She even asked Melania to help! So you think his "self-imposed exile" was actually in aid of the Saudis while attempting to appear otherwise? He apparently had no good to say about MBS. Was that a cover while he acted, say, as some sort of spy in the US? I sure don't see Trump taking up his cause. Since 9/11, the US has never seemed to want to offend the Saudis. Could Khashoggi maybe be in a process of debriefing and receiving further orders? Maybe he'll show up claiming to have a made a brilliant escape, or maybe the WashPost journalists who love him so much will spirit him away and into a US consolate, and get the scoop on the breaking story - heroes all of them! Life is so much stranger than fiction these days.

  4. I have a problem with Khashoggi's fiancée Hatice Cengiz and what she tells us in her article in the WaPo ( )

    There she says:
    "After seeing how relaxed he was, I waited patiently and full of hope. But after three hours I was overcome with fear and concern. I texted a few friends to inform them, and I asked about Jamal at the consular building. I received an answer that further fueled my fears: Jamal had already left, they told me, possibly without my noticing".

    We know that Khashoggi had his appointment at the embassy at 1:30 pm of that day. (see: )
    We also know the office hours of the " Consulate General" in Istanbul: "OFFICE HOURS
    09.00 - 15.00" - see: .
    So when Mrs. Cengiz said that "But after three hours I was overcome with fear and concern. I texted a few friends to inform them, and I asked about Jamal at the consular building" it was already 4:30 pm. The consulate was already closed for the public since 3:00 pm - that is since 1½ hour before. Then Mrs. Cengiz "texted a few friends" and then she went/drove to the consular building. Let's make this "texted" and her trip to the consular Building a minimum of ½ an hour more. Then it was 5:00 pm. But the consulate had already closed to public since 3:00 pm. And at 5:00 pm probably every one, who worked in the consulate, had already headed home.
    Also Mrs. Cengiz information is very meagre: Whom did she ask at 5:00 pm plus at the consulate? Why was someone there ready to talk to her since the "office hours" had ended already at 3:00 pm = at least two hours before?

    Also this: As I predicted ( ) the facts of the story we are told is already changing dramatically - like the Skripal-story changed from day to day!
    First the Guardian (and also German MSM) told us ( ):
    "Khashoggi has been missing since he entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul after midday on Tuesday. His fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, waited outside until midnight."

    And now Mrs. Cengiz tells us "But after three hours …", which is 4:30 pm. So no more "midnight" - instead suddenly it's only late afternoon!
    I predict more mending and changes of this story to come!


  5. Thanks Yaya and J!

    You wanna talk about more twists then a twizzler!
    I've just updated with information the Saudi's are claiming British intelligence informed them that Khashoggi was drugged resulting in an accidental overdose!

  6. Thanks for You hard work, Penny!


  7. Khashoggi lived in Virginia, USA and he wrote articles for the WaPo. Seems he mostly toed the US government line.

    1. Hi Unknown- Virginia eh?
      I expect he's CIA affiliated- so not surprising.
      And yes, he was most definitely not a challenger of Saudi Arabia- not from what I saw, despite the non stop spin of the 5 eyes media