Jamal Khashoggi’s death leaves Saudi regime with nowhere to hide

Not the type to risk a fight with a bunch of goons behind closed doors in a consulate, or anywhere else for that matter.

For those who met and knew him, the latest storyline out of Riyadh is preposterous.

It also contradicts the shrill Saudi denials of the past two weeks that anything untoward happened in the consulate, leaving the credibility of the Saudi government in shreds.

The most likely explanation must remain Mr Khashoggi’s killing was ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Second most likely is an interrogation, intimidation or rendition operation, authorised or not by the prince, that went badly wrong.

If that was the case it is unthinkable the Crown Prince did not know what happened. He is after all Crown Prince and defence minister: intelligence agencies answer to him. He would have been told.

So he was either complicit in the killing and ordered it.

Or it was a botched operation which he soon learned about.

If that was the case, inexplicably he waited two and a half weeks before letting the world know.

Two and a half weeks of damaging diplomatic fallout.

In that time his government, and supporters in the media angrily denied claims the writer died in the consulate. Claims they now say are true. The fortnight damaged both Saudi credibility and relations with allies.

That would make him incompetent.

So either a rash impetuous ruler who dispatches assassins to kill journalists or an inept one. Neither are what America or Britain seek as a partner in this crucial region.

Critics say this is the price America pays for giving the young prince free rein.

Mr Trump’s amoral foreign policy has led to an immoral one as the administration scrambles to give cover to its ally. A rogue ally that has caused considerable damage but is now too important to lose.

In his short time in office, MBS has presented himself as a twenty first century form of enlightened despot.

An absolute ruler but one who wants to use his authoritarian power to reform and modernise his country.

That image may well have died with Jamal Khashoggi at considerable cost to his country and support from the west.

Newsdesk

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