The awful disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi

Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi writer, ...

Posted: Oct 8, 2018 5:52 PM
Updated: Oct 8, 2018 5:52 PM

Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi writer, vanished on Tuesday after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain paperwork so he could marry his Turkish fiancée. He has not been seen or heard from since.

As a columnist for the Washington Post, Khashoggi was a frequent critic of the Saudi regime. Khashoggi was living in self-imposed exile in the United States.

Continents and regions

Embassies and consulates

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government departments and authorities

International relations

International relations and national security

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

Misc people

Osama Bin Laden

Saudi Arabia

State departments and diplomatic services

North America

The Americas

United States

On Saturday, Turkish officials told the Washington Post that Khashoggi was murdered at the Saudi consulate.

CNN has not been able to independently confirm these reports and a Saudi official has denied them.

Earlier in the week, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had told Bloomberg News that Khashoggi had left the consulate unmolested, but if that was the case, why hasn't he contacted anyone?

Media outlets around the world have reported on Khashoggi's mysterious disappearance. If Khashoggi had left the consulate unharmed, it's inconceivable he wouldn't have informed his fiancée, family, friends and colleagues at the Washington Post.

I have known Khashoggi for more than a decade and am appalled at the possibility that the Saudi government would engineer the disappearance of a writer who worked tirelessly to promote civilized, humane values.

Khashoggi and bin Laden's paths diverged

I first came to know Khashoggi when I was reporting on Osama bin Laden. As young men, Khashoggi and bin Laden knew each other well because Khashoggi was the first journalist from a major Arab news organization to profile bin Laden when he was fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan in the late 1980s. Both men were idealistic and religious and were opposed to the communist invasion of a Muslim country and the brutal tactics of the Soviet military.

On May 4, 1988, Khashoggi wrote a story for Arab News that quoted bin Laden as saying, "It was God alone who protected us from the Russians during their offensive last year. Reliance upon God is the main source of our strength."

Seven years later, when bin Laden was based in Sudan, Khashoggi visited him there. Bin Laden told his old friend that that he was thinking of returning to Saudi Arabia and renouncing his war against the Saudi regime. That, of course, didn't happen -- and in 1996 bin Laden moved to Afghanistan, where he launched his war against the United States.

While bin Laden became the world's most wanted terrorist, Khashoggi went on to have a distinguished career as a writer and editor and also an adviser to Prince Turki al-Faisal, who was the Saudi ambassador to both the United Kingdom and the United States.

The totalitarian regime in Saudi Arabia

The disappearance of Khashoggi is of a piece with much that the Saudi regime of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is doing.

In 2015, bin Salman, who is often referred to as MBS, launched a war in Yemen in which at least 6,500 civilians have been killed, many of them from Saudi munitions, according to the United Nations in a report that was released in August.

The UN report noted that, "air strikes have hit residential areas, markets, funerals, weddings, detention facilities, civilian boats and even medical facilities."

The Saudis have also arrested a range of civil society activists and conservative clerics, including some who may face death sentences.

Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a 29-year-old Shia female activist accused of organizing demonstrations for greater Shia rights who was arrested in December.

Similarly, the Saudis are seeking the death penalty for a prominent, reformist cleric, Salman Al-Oudah, who has called for elections in the Saudi kingdom.

Saudi Arabia was once a consensus-based absolute monarchy, but under MBS's direction it is increasingly becoming a secularizing totalitarian dictatorship.

While there is much to praise in some of what MBS has done, such as removing the feared religious police from the streets and making real efforts to reform the heavily oil-dependent Saudi economy, there is also much that is inexcusable.

There is no hard evidence as yet that Khashoggi was murdered, but if such evidence were to emerge and the Saudis are found to be responsible, the United States should impose sanctions on the Saudis just as the Trump administration did in August against the Russians following their use of a nerve agent to attempt to kill a former Russian agent and his daughter in the United Kingdom.

Khashoggi, after all, was both a legal resident of the United States and was employed by a major American media institution.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 593622

Reported Deaths: 7379
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1228171731
Ramsey51446875
Dakota45976452
Anoka41782439
Washington26948283
Stearns22266222
St. Louis17787304
Scott17296124
Wright16082140
Olmsted1325598
Sherburne1173087
Carver1050745
Clay816392
Rice8063107
Blue Earth751541
Crow Wing666290
Kandiyohi656283
Chisago601351
Otter Tail575478
Benton571697
Goodhue478572
Douglas468575
Mower466232
Winona455050
Itasca439156
McLeod424559
Isanti422464
Morrison419660
Nobles408048
Beltrami397059
Steele388715
Polk384868
Becker380953
Lyon361051
Carlton345654
Freeborn342029
Pine329022
Nicollet326243
Brown305440
Mille Lacs305053
Le Sueur292423
Todd282432
Cass273428
Meeker256640
Waseca236322
Martin230732
Roseau209419
Wabasha20613
Hubbard190041
Dodge18513
Renville180343
Redwood174337
Houston171916
Cottonwood165823
Fillmore156510
Wadena155922
Pennington153719
Faribault152419
Chippewa152338
Kanabec144726
Sibley143810
Aitkin135036
Watonwan13289
Rock128319
Jackson121812
Pipestone115926
Yellow Medicine114120
Pope11056
Murray10639
Swift105618
Stevens91411
Marshall88117
Clearwater86916
Koochiching83615
Wilkin81612
Lake81120
Lac qui Parle75322
Big Stone6004
Lincoln5813
Grant5788
Mahnomen5539
Norman5399
Unassigned49293
Kittson48622
Red Lake3977
Traverse3705
Lake of the Woods3253
Cook1640

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 367236

Reported Deaths: 5940
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57666626
Linn20892335
Scott20060241
Black Hawk15824308
Woodbury15138228
Johnson1449183
Dubuque13380208
Dallas1118398
Pottawattamie11132168
Story1062348
Warren577988
Clinton555893
Cerro Gordo540689
Sioux514474
Webster512293
Marshall483075
Muscatine481399
Des Moines458066
Wapello4303122
Buena Vista424840
Jasper419372
Plymouth401280
Lee376055
Marion362875
Jones299057
Henry291937
Carroll285752
Bremer284860
Crawford266240
Boone265034
Benton256655
Washington254050
Dickinson248543
Mahaska230451
Jackson222142
Clay215725
Kossuth215564
Tama209871
Delaware209741
Winneshiek196835
Page192722
Buchanan191432
Cedar190023
Hardin185643
Fayette185141
Wright184737
Hamilton180049
Harrison179673
Clayton169556
Butler165034
Madison162519
Mills162422
Floyd161142
Cherokee158938
Lyon158241
Poweshiek154934
Allamakee151451
Iowa148824
Hancock148434
Winnebago142531
Cass138654
Calhoun138513
Grundy136333
Emmet134240
Jefferson132435
Shelby131137
Sac130419
Union128333
Louisa128149
Appanoose128049
Mitchell126442
Chickasaw124116
Guthrie121530
Franklin120721
Humboldt119126
Palo Alto112823
Howard104622
Montgomery103338
Clarke100224
Unassigned9710
Keokuk96031
Monroe95329
Ida90435
Adair86532
Pocahontas85522
Davis83024
Monona82730
Osceola78716
Greene77710
Lucas77223
Worth7478
Taylor66012
Fremont6229
Decatur6089
Ringgold55824
Van Buren55818
Wayne53923
Audubon51010
Adams3384
Rochester
Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 63°
Mason City
Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 60°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 63°
Austin
Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 64°
Charles City
Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: °
Warmer conditions for the weekend
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events