In 2017, the Saudi government hit 100 beheadings by October 3. Unwilling to let that record stand, they powered into 2018 with 48 head-body separation proceedings in just the first four months of the year. Which actually lends some believability to Donald Trump’s otherwise incredulous Tuesday afternoon tweet.
When he’s knocking off people in wholesale lots, Mohammed bin Salman doesn’t have time to get stuck in the details. So it’s actually possible that he didn’t know what took place inside the consulate … though he probably knew the goal. In any case, Trump followed up by saying that bin Salman has promised “a full and complete investigation into this matter.” An investigation that’s sure to be just as thorough and complete as the Devin Nunes-led House investigation into the Trump campaign.
Perhaps Trump could lend the Saudis the crack team that conducted the FBI check on Brett Kavanaugh—and the crack staff that wrote limitations restricting them from talking to the principal witnesses. Besides, Mohammed bin Salman can probably find 65 journalists willing to sign a letter saying he hasn’t had them murdered and hacked into pieces. Yet.
Unless Turkey is itself creating false evidence (which is not beyond the pale, considering that it’s also run by a undemocratic, torture-loving autocrat) a team of Saudi officials flew to Istanbul, intercepted journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate, detained him, beat him, tortured him, and murdered him in sight of the Saudi consul. The Saudis then continued to lie for days, insisting that Khashoggi left the building shortly after he came in.
That’s not a mistake. It’s not an accident. And it’s not something that bin Salman didn’t know about before, during, and after it happened.