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  HOME PAGE 24/01/2019 16:56 
17.10.2018 13:28 News >> Prince Salman Can't Quash Murder Probe': W.Post Column

Prince Salman Can't Quash Murder Probe': W.Post Column

Case of missing journalist has put Saudi prince's 'future in question,' argues Washington Post columnist David Ignatius.

Whitewashing the disappearance and possible killing of a Saudi journalist "won't be easy," even for the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, wrote a Washington Post columnist Wednesday.

"Putting a lid on a murder investigation won't be easy, even for the brashly confident crown prince," wrote Post columnist David Ignatius in "MBS's rampaging anger will not silence questions about Jamal Khashoggi," a piece harshly critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, called MBS in the piece.

Khashoggi, also a columnist for the Washington Post, is feared killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul after he entered on Oct. 2 and was never seen exiting.

As the "brave journalist" Khashoggi entered the consulate, he also started a "catastrophic process" which put Salman's "own future in question," wrote Ignatius.

"Surrounded by yes-men who saw suppressing dissent as part of a media war, and rattled by the reversal of his dreams for economic reform, MBS moved toward the fateful moment when Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul," he wrote.

"The darkening mood inside MBS's palace in recent months shows a crown prince facing economic pressure and tightening his circle of advisers," Ignatius added.

Saud al-Qahtani, Salman's media advisor, is also increasingly his "consigliere in the kingdom's battles with foreign adversaries such as Qatar and Iran as well as domestic critics."

"U.S. officials believe that, in addition to seeking dominance in social media, Qahtani and other advisers have helped MBS use the latest and most aggressive hacking techniques against adversaries," he said, adding that Qahtani urged Saudi to report "enemies of the kingdom" on his Twitter account, which has 1.3 million followers.

"MBS's tight inner circle has helped him push modernization efforts, such as reducing the power of the religious police, allowing women to drive and opening movie theaters and other public entertainment. But his team of palace advisers has often amplified, rather than challenged, the crown prince's worst impulses," he said.

The crown prince "went into a funk for several days after learning of Khashoggi's death before re-emerging on a rampage of anger around what happened and trying to figure out a response," Ignatius said, citing an anonymous "knowledgeable source."

On Monday, Turkish and Saudi officials searched the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul after the start of a joint probe into the disappearance.

Saudi authorities have yet to give a clear explanation of what happened to Khashoggi, while several countries -- particularly Turkey, the U.S., and the U.K. -- are pressing for the mystery to be cleared up as soon as possible. -



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