It would not seem possible for the story of former Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi to get uglier, but it has. Al Jazeera is reporting that the mystery location of the murdered journalist’s body may have been solved—in the form of ash from a very large oven.
A United States resident, Khashoggi was lured to the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in October, 2018. The journalist thought this was a happy occasion. He was just going inside to pick up some papers necessary for an upcoming marriage.
But once through the door, a team of assassins under the direction of Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ambushed the journalist and took him prisoner. Over the course of several hours, he was beaten, stripped naked, tortured, and dismembered—then he was killed. In that order. Meanwhile, as Khashoggi suffered, one of the team sent by bin Salman strolled around the city wearing his clothes in an attempt to plant a false alibi that the journalist had left shortly after arriving.
For days following Khashoggi’s disappearance, the Saudi authorities claimed that he had left the consulate unharmed. Then came a rapid series of excuses, all of them designed to deflect blame from bin Salman. As it stands, eleven men identified as being members of the hit team sent to Turkey are supposedly under arrest in Saudi Arabia, but bin Salman has dodged all blame. And as more and more evidence pours out, including horrifying audio of the torture and murder, one question has remained unanswered—what happened to Jamal Khashoggi’s body? It wasn’t found at the consulate. It didn’t seem to go out with the killers who left that day by plane. So … how did the Saudi team dispose of the body?
According to a documentary report from al Jazeera the Saudi consul in Istanbul had a large, high temperature outdoor oven built at his home shortly after arrangements were made with Khashoggi. On the day of his disappearance, several members of the murder squad were seen entering the home with large suitcases. And Turkish investigators confirmed that the oven was used in the three days following Khashoggi’s visit to the consulate.
It was already known that the team that came to murder Khashoggi brought along a bone saw. It was also known that the saw, or some similar tool, was used on the journalist before he died. Now it appears that the bone saw, along with the oven, were parts of a carefully worked out plan to make the Washington Post columnist disappear.
There was the oven, the bone saw, the body double, and more than enough force to make sure Khashoggi never stepped from the consulate alive. Instead his fiancee was left waiting outside to wonder what had happened.
In the wake of the murder, U.S. politicians called into doubt the close relationship between Donald Trump and Jared Kushner with Mohammed bin Salman. Both Trump and Kushner had visited with bin Salman even before he became crown prince. Kushner has made at least two more “private” visits with the prince, including one in which it is thought he used his top secret clearance to obtain and provide to bin Salman a list of those who opposed him — a list that bin Salman used in jailing and killing those who failed to acknowledge his leadership. It is not known whether Khashoggi’s name was on that list. The journalist was already a well known critic of some policies within the kingdom.
Multiple reports stated that Kushner, who was desperately in need of a $1.8 billion loan, was considered “susceptible to Saudi manipulation.” Reports from Saudi Arabia stated that bin Salman said he had Kushner “in my pocket.”
Following the murder, Kushner continued to exchange frequent talks and texts with bin Salman, including some on apps designed to keep their exchanges hidden, even from U.S. officials. Kushner defended bin Salman against plans to isolate the Saudi leader.
“The relationship between Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman constitutes the foundation of the Trump policy not just toward Saudi Arabia but toward the region,” said Martin Indyk, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Middle East envoy.
Kushner’s advice to bin Salman on how to handle the brutal murder of a journalist was simple: Wait. He suggested that bin Salman spend some time out of the headlines and hunker down until things blew over. Since then, Kushner has already been back to Riyadh to visit with bin Salman on another private visit, supposedly as part of his Middle East peace plan.
The idea that Jared Kushner is working with a man who had a special oven built to burn an opponent to ash as part of his plan to bring peace to Israel … is far too dark to be called irony.