Jamal Khashoggi
February 25, 2021

President Biden spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Thursday, their first phone call since Biden's inauguration.

The conversation took place before the expected release of a U.S. intelligence report on the killing of Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi. In 2018, Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, with his body dismembered by Saudi agents. It was reported soon after that the CIA concluded with high confidence that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the country's de facto leader, ordered the murder. The Saudi government and former President Donald Trump pinned the blame on "rogue" agents.

The White House readout of Thursday's call does not mention Khashoggi, but says Biden "affirmed the importance the United States places on universal human rights and the rule of law" and told King Salman "he would work to make the bilateral relationship as strong and transparent as possible." Catherine Garcia

October 2, 2019

On Oct. 2, 2018, "one year ago, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman thought he could end a debate with a bone saw," and "he did succeed in ending a life and silencing a voice — that of our brave and distinguished colleague, Jamal Khashoggi," Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt wrote, introducing a special section to mark the first anniversary of Khashoggi's murder inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. But "the quests that animated Khashoggi’s life — for freedom, democracy, tolerance and greater understanding across cultures — cannot be so easily defeated."

There was a memorial service for Khashoggi in Istanbul on Wednesday — Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos was among those that attended — and Khashoggi's Washington Post editor Karen Attiah posted audio of his final words before he was killed and dismembered. In the Netherlands, Amnesty International renamed the street in The Hague where the Saudi embassy is located after Khashoggi.

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And Merriam-Webster dictionary made Wednesday's word of the day "sawbones," calling it "an evocative term that calls to mind the saws that 19th-century surgeons used to perform amputations."

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, launched a huge ad campaign to encourage tourists to visit the kingdom. The campaign included giant billboards in New York and London and full-page ads in U.S. newspapers — though not, presumably, The Washington Post.

The Saudi crown prince vaguely took responsibility for Khashoggi's murder in a 60 Minutes interview broadcast on Sunday, but denied he ordered the critical journalist murdered. The United Nations concluded that there is, in fact, "credible evidence" that bin Salman mastermind the murder, and the CIA determined that he almost certainly ordered the killing. Peter Weber

September 10, 2019

A Turkish newspaper with close ties to the government is reporting what it says were the final words of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi was murdered on Oct. 2, 2018, inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He was killed by a Saudi hit squad, as his fiancée waited outside of the building. The Sabah newspaper reports that a recording of the incident was obtained by Turkey's intelligence agency, and Khashoggi is heard speaking with several of his killers.

Per the transcript, one of the members of the hit squad is heard telling Khashoggi that Interpol has ordered his arrest and he will be returned to Riyadh. Khashoggi responds that he knows this isn't true, and reminds the man that his fiancée is waiting for him. Khashoggi is also heard being pressured to send his son a message saying if he doesn't hear from him, not to worry, Sabah reports. "I will write nothing," Khashoggi responds.

One of the men is heard threatening Khashoggi, telling him if he doesn't willingly go to Saudi Arabia, "you know what will happen in the end." Khashoggi was then apparently drugged, Sabah reports, and before he lost consciousness, he said, "Don't cover my mouth. I have asthma, don't do it. You'll suffocate me."

Some of these details were included in a United Nations report released this June, which calls for an investigation into Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's possible role in Khashoggi's death; he has denied being involved. Saudi Arabia couldn't stick to one story about what happened to Khashoggi, and after putting forward several different scenarios, the kingdowm put the blame on a group of rogue officers. Catherine Garcia

February 7, 2019

During a September 2017 conversation with an aide, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said if he could not get journalist Jamal Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia, either on his own accord or by force, he would go after him "with a bullet," current and former U.S. and foreign officials told The New York Times.

This intercepted conversation between the crown prince and Turki Aldakhil was included in a December intelligence report that has been circulated around spy agencies and the White House, the Times reports. The National Security Agency and other U.S. spy agencies have been going through years of the crown prince's text and voice communications, the Times reports, and analysts have determined that he may not have literally meant he would shoot him, but would have him killed another way.

Khashoggi was critical of the Saudi government, and after going into self-exile in the U.S, he began writing columns for The Washington Post in 2017. In another intercepted conversation, the crown prince reportedly complained to aide Saud al-Qahtani that Khashoggi held too much sway over people and was ruining his reputation as a reformer.

Khashoggi was killed in October 2018, with Saudi operatives strangling and dismembering him inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The CIA has reportedly concluded that the crown prince ordered the killing, something Saudi Arabia has denied. In a statement, a Saudi official told the Times that the kingdom is "focused on uncovering the full truth" about Khashoggi's murder and "ensuring complete accountability." Catherine Garcia

December 31, 2018

A Turkish television station, A-Haber, has broadcast footage of men carrying five suitcases and two other bags to the home of Saudi Arabia's consul general in Istanbul. Citing unnamed Turkish sources, A-Haber reports the luggage contained the dismembered body of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi consulate in October.

The residence is close to the diplomatic facility and was among the locations searched by Turkish authorities soon after Khashoggi's death. His body has not been found, and some reports suggest it was dissolved in acid after dismemberment. The CCTV footage screened by A-Haber is a brief clip showing the bags being moved from a minibus to the home.

The Wall Street Journal reported this month the CIA has concluded with "medium-to-high confidence" that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "personally targeted" Khashoggi, likely ordering his death, but cannot present "direct reporting of the crown prince issuing a kill order." Read The Week's coverage of the murder and its aftermath here. Bonnie Kristian

December 3, 2018

On Tuesday, CIA Director Gina Haspel will meet with the leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senate Intelligence Committee and brief them on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a person with knowledge of the matter told Politico Monday. The briefing was confirmed by Sen. Bob. Corker (R-Tenn.), who said it will take place at 11 a.m.

Last week, senators were briefed on the Khashoggi matter by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Democrats and Republicans alike were mad that Haspel wasn't there. In October, Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul; it's been reported that the CIA has concluded his murder was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

After last week's briefing, the Senate voted to advance a bill that pulls U.S. support for Saudi forces fighting in Yemen. Corker said the Senate could start debating that measure as early as Thursday, but it likely won't happen until next week. Catherine Garcia

December 2, 2018

Exiled Saudi activist Omar Abdulaziz has shared more than 400 WhatsApp messages he exchanged with Jamal Khashoggi, showing that the slain journalist was privately highly critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, CNN reports.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was killed in October inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and the CIA has reportedly concluded that the crown prince ordered his murder. From October 2017 to August 2018, Khashoggi and Abdulaziz, now based in Montreal, sent each other text, video, and photo messages almost every day. Abdulaziz told CNN they were planning to start an online youth movement to debunk Saudi state propaganda and inspire activists inside the kingdom. "We have no parliament, we just have Twitter," he said.

Khashoggi and Abdulaziz discussed how to get untraceable SIM cards to dissidents inside Saudi Arabia and ways to get monetary donations. In August, Abdulaziz was tipped off that their messages were intercepted by the Saudi government, he told CNN. This occurred just three months after Abdulaziz was asked to meet with two Saudi government officials, who told him bin Salman wanted to offer him a job. They said he needed to go to the Saudi embassy to get paperwork, but Khashoggi told him "not to go and to only meet them in public places," Abdulaziz said.

In November, researchers from the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab told Abdulaziz his phone was hacked by spyware created by the Israeli firm NSO Group, at the direction of the Saudi regime. On Sunday, Abdulaziz filed a lawsuit against the Israeli company, arguing that they broke international laws by selling to a government known for human rights abuses. "The hacking of my phone played a major role in what happened to Jamal, I am really sorry to say," Abdulaziz told CNN. "The guilt is killing me." Catherine Garcia

December 1, 2018

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) sent at least 11 text messages to his "closest adviser" — who directed the team that killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul — while the murder took place, The Wall Street Journal reported early Saturday, citing a classified CIA assessment.

The CIA also reportedly found MBS told associates last year he "could possibly lure [Khashoggi] outside Saudi Arabia and make arrangements" if the dissident journalist did not change his behavior. The assessment notes this "seems to foreshadow the Saudi operation launched against Khashoggi."

The Journal says the CIA assessment concludes with "medium-to-high confidence" MBS "personally targeted" Khashoggi, likely ordering his death, but cannot present "direct reporting of the crown prince issuing a kill order."

President Trump has expressed doubts about the CIA's previously reported suspicion of MBS and has indicated he will not take significant action against Saudi Arabia — like canceling U.S. arms deals with the regime — in response to the murder.

Read the full story at The Wall Street Journal. Bonnie Kristian

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