The last known image of Jamal Khashoggi as he enters the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Oct 2.(Hurriyet via AP)

Khashoggi mystery: international reaction limited to “concern”

Some media outlets are reporting alleged new and horrific details regarding the mysterious disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Circumstantial evidence would seem to indicate a murder inside the embassy, something the Saudis have denied.

International reaction has been muted, and may stay that way.

Elliot Tepper (PhD) is a professor of International Relations at Carleton University   Senior Research Fellow  Centre for Security, Intelligence and Defence Studies, NPSIA, Carleton University.


What we know for certain is that Jamal Khasogghi, who has been a critic of the Saudi regime, entered the Saudi embassy in Instanbul, Turkey, two weeks ago  (Oct 2) to get a document related to his marriage and hasn’t been seen since.

Elliot Tepper (PhD) professor of International relations Carleton University, Ottawa ( CBC-Power and Politics)

Turkish authorities claim to have evidence of a brutal murder.  A group of 15 Saudis, some connected with the state security service, arrived at the embassy prior to Khasoggi’s arrival, one allegedly carrying a surgical bone saw, and left shortly afterward to return the same day to Saudi Arabia.

In the face of mounting circumstantial evidence, world leaders have expressed concern, but not much else.

Canada’s Prime Minister earlier this week said, “”We have real concern about the reports coming out on the situation of this journalist. We’re very much working with our allies in the international community to try and bring forward a concerted, or at least an aligned, response as we learn more about this situation”. Canada has also called for an investigation.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the Fortune Global Forum in Toronto on Monday. Trudeau said Canada has concerns about Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance. Canada is calling for an investigation. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Turkish forensic teams have been investigating this week.

US President Trump has been criticised for expressing a sort of ‘wait and see” attitude noting that the Saudis are huge buyers of American technology, much of it military in nature.   The G7 nations foreign ministers have signed a statement demanding answers about the disappearance.

Members of a human rights association demonstrate outside the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul on Oct 9, and speak to reporters about the disappearance of the journalist a week earlier. (AP- Lefteris Pitarakis)

Some media outlets are saying the Saudi officials are apparently changing the story apparently saying Khashoggi died during an interrogation.

Professor Tepper, points out that the Saudis are fully aware of their economic power by controlling a significant percentage of the west’s oil needs.  As such he suggests this has given them a sense of  impunity, while other countries weigh their potential ability to respond in light of oil needs and other economic interests.

Prime Minister Trudeau has allowed the continued $15-billion sale of armoured vehicles to the Saudis

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