Did Khashoggi Really Die?
By F. William Engdahl
23 January 2019
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I have not been convinced about the claims coming from Turkey and from the Washington Post and others regarding the allegations of a gruesome murder of intelligence asset, Jamal Khashoggi, in October, 2018. There are too many anomalies as it was portrayed by various statements from Turkey President Erdogan, and echoed by a chorus of the Western mainstream media. Recent research suggests that perhaps Khashoggi was never in that Saudi Consulate in Istanbul that day, and in fact may still be quite alive and in hiding. If so, it suggests a far larger story behind the affair. Let’s consider the following .
The best way to outline this is to go back to the events around the surprise arrest and detention of numerous Saudi high-ranking persons in late 2017, by Prince Mohammed bin Salman or MBS as he is known. On November 4, 2017 MBS announced via state TV that numerous leading Saudis including one of the wealthiest, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, had been arrested on charges of corruption, and were being detained in the Riyadh Ritz Carlton hotel. Prince Alwaleed is clearly the critical person.
The son-in-law of President Trump had reportedly made a non-publicized visit to Riyadh for private talks with MBS just days before the mass arrests. A report in the UK Mail newspaper in 2018 claimed that Jared Kushner, representing the President, had informed MBS of a rival Saudi Royals plot to eliminate the Crown Prince. Prince Alwaleed was reported to be at the center of the plotters.
After three months imprisonment, Alwaleed was released from detention on 27 January 2018, following a reported financial settlement. In March 2018 he dropped out from Forbes’ World’s Billionaires’ list. Before his arrest Alwaleed was the largest shareholder in Citibank, a major owner of Twitter, once partner of Bill Gates in Gates Foundation vaccine programs, and generous donor to select Democrats such as Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. According to media reports, Hillary campaign aide Huma Abedin’s brother, Hassan Abedin, Muslim Brotherhood member, worked with Bin Talal on a project called “Spreading Islam to the West.” Bin Talal and other Saudi sources donated as much as $25 million to the Clinton Foundation as she was preparing her Presidential bid. The Prince was also an open foe of Donald Trump.
Who was Khashoggi Really?
Jamal Khashoggi was no ordinary journalist. He actually worked for Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. In an interview in the Gulf Times in November last year Alwaleed stated, “Jamal wasn’t only my friend. He was working with me. Actually, his last job in Saudi Arabia was with me…” Jamal was, or is, nephew of CIA-linked asset, the recently deceased Adnan Khashoggi, a nefarious arms dealer involved in the CIA-Saudi BCCI bank and Iran-Contra. Nephew Jamal also worked for the then-Saudi Ambassador in Washington, Prince Bandar, someone so close to the Bush family that George W. nicknamed him “Bandar Bush.” In short, Khashoggi was part of Saudi circles close to the Bush-Clinton group. When King Abdullah decided to skip over Alwaleed’s father, Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, dubbed “The Red Prince” for his reformist views, in his succession, a move that led to Salman, father of MBS, as successor, Alwaleed was on the outs in the Saudi power calculus of King Salman and Crown Prince MBS.
The Saudi government as well as the Brookings Institution confirm that Khashoggi had been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood was banned from Saudi Arabia in 2011 following the Obama-Hillary Clinton Arab Spring, when the Saudi monarch, King Abdullah, and those around him realized that the royal house itself was a potential target for brotherhood regime change, as in Egypt and Tunisia.
The Obama Administration, as I detail in Manifest Destiny, working with the CIA, planned a drastic series of regime changes across the Islamic world to install Muslim Brotherhood regimes “friendly” with the CIA and the Obama administration. Key members of the Obama Administration, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s special assistant, Huma Abedin, had deep ties to the Saudi part of the Muslim Brotherhood where Abedin’s mother lives. Her mother, Saleha Abedin– an academic in Saudi Arabia where Huma grew up– according to a report on Al Jazeera and other Arab media, is a prominent member of the womens’ organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Huma’s brother is also reported linked to the organization. Notably, the late John McCain, whose ties to leading members of ISIS and Al Qaeda is public record, tried to discredit fellow Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann for pointing to Abedin’s Muslim Brotherhood ties. This is the faction within Saudi Arabia that Khashoggi was tied to.
As President, Trump’s first foreign trip was to meet MBS and the Saudi King, a trip sharply criticized by Democrat Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. Once a Trump Presidency moved to rebuild the frayed relations that had developed between Obama and the Saudi monarchy under King Abdullah and later King Salman, father of Crown Prince MBS, the faction around pro-Obama Prince Bin Talal Alwaleed was out of favor, to put it mildly, especially after Hillary Clinton lost. In June 2017 Alwaleed’s former employee, Jamal Khashoggi, fled into self-imposed exile in the US where he had studied earlier, after the government banned his twitter account in Saudi.
Once MBS acted to arrest Alwaleed and numerous others, the future of the money flows between Alwaleed to not only Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation and to other Democrats he had “supported” with Saudi millions, was in jeopardy. While it is difficult to confirm, a BBC Turkish journalist in Istanbul reportedly told an arab language paper after the alleged gruesome murder and dismemberment of Khashoggi that, in fact, Jamal Khashoggi was alive and well, somewhere in hiding.
It is a fact that former CIA head and now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, along with then-Defense Secretary James Mattis, gave a briefing to the US Senate in which they told the senators that there was no evidence to suggest MBS was behind this alleged crime. They added that they couldn’t even confirm a crime had happened! Only CIA head Gina Haspel, former CIA London station chief, disputed their claims. The Erdogan claims that the body was chopped up and then dissolved in acid for disposal without trace harkens back to the account of the Navy Seal disposal of the dead body allegedly of Osama bin Laden, which the Obama Administration claimed they dumped at sea “according to Muslim tradition.” Conveniently in both cases there was no body to forensically confirm.
Indeed the allegations to world media around the Khashoggi affair were tightly controlled by Turkey’s President Erdogan who repeatedly promised then failed to reveal, what he said were secret Turkish intelligence tapes of the alleged murder. Erdogan is reported very close to the Muslim Brotherhood if not a hidden member, one reason for his close support of Qatar after MBS and the Saudi king declared economic sanctions on Qatar for support of terrorism, in fact Qatari support of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Here we are dealing with shifting political alliances with huge consequences potentially for US and world politics given the enormous size of the Saudi financial resources. It’s also bizarre that Khashoggi allegedly agreed to go to a Saudi Consulate in Turkey and to supposedly get divorce papers. Further, his reported fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, seems to be equally mysterious, with some asking whether she in fact is an agent of Turkish intelligence used to discredit Saudi Arabia.
The claims of Erdogan of the assassination of Jamal by a Saudi team were buttressed by a mysterious Khaled Saffuri, who told Yahoo News reporter, Michael Isikoff, that Khashoggi became a bitter foe of MBS for his articles in the media criticizing the arrests of Prince Bin Talal and others. Research reveals that Saffuri, media source on the Khashoggi alleged murder, also has had close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood front organization, American Muslim Council, and to Qatar, host to the exiled Brotherhood for years. Qatari support for the Muslim Brotherhood was a factor in the break between MBS and Qatar two years ago.
Saffuri is also the protégé of al-Qaeda fundraiser Abdurahman Alamoudi, reportedly also an influential Muslim Brotherhood supporter who before 2004 met with both G.W. Bush and Hillary Clinton. Alamoudi is currently in US federal prison since 2004 for his role as bagman for a Libyan/Al-Qaeda assassination plot to assassinate then- Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. In brief, the prime sources on the Khashoggi murder are few and hardly without bias.
At this point it is difficult to go beyond speculation. Clear is that Jamal Khashoggi is missing from public view since early October. But until the Turkish government or someone else presents serious forensic evidence, habeas corpus, that indeed shows Alwaleed’s former employee, Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by a Saudi assassination team, let alone by one commanded by Crown Prince bin Salman, the situation warrants more serious examination. It is curious that the same liberal media such as Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post that attacks MBS for the alleged murder of their reporter, Khashoggi, fails to criticize previous Saudi executions or even subsequent ones.
Did Khashoggi really die at the Istanbul Consulate or was something else going on? To stage a fake execution of Khashoggi to discredit and even possibly topple MBS might possibly have appeared to Alwaleed and his CIA friends in Washington to be a clever way of restoring their power and financial influence. If so, it seems to have failed.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”