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The New York Times reports that Saudi Arabia may be close to coming up with an official alibi for how 15 men climbed onto planes, flew to Istanbul, ambushed Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and literally took him apart under the watchful eyes of the Saudi consul. With a bone saw. In the great tradition of murderous despots everywhere, they’ve selected a fall guy.

The rulers of Saudi Arabia are considering blaming a top intelligence official close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, three people with knowledge of the Saudi plans said Thursday.

The feeling among the Saudi royals is that blaming General Ahmed al-Assiri would provide a “plausible” high level official behind the ghastly murder and dismemberment, while allowing crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to claim shock and ignorance.

But the Saudis aren’t the only ones looking for a way to keep any blood from staining bin Salman’s robe. Senior White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner has been “urging the president to stand by Prince Mohammed.”

Kushner doesn’t have a complicated alibi for his friend bin Salman. Because he doesn’t think he needs one. Kushner is just arguing that Trump should stall. If they wait long enough, according to Kusher, it’ll all just blow over.

Mr. Kushner has argued that the outrage over Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance and possible killing will pass, just as it did after other Saudi errors like the kidnapping of the prime minister of Lebanon and the killing of a busload of children in Yemen by a Saudi airstrike.

Sure. Everybody let the Saudi royals get away with kidnapping a prime minister and bombing a bus load of kids. Which were, after all, just “errors.” So just wait and the press will get distracted and they’ll forget one Trump-hating journalist. It’s the kind of plan that could only come from Kushner’s “special genius.”

Would be fall guy al-Assiri is high enough ranking that he could plausibly have been the one who actually pushed the buttons to send the hit team after Khashoggi. As long as everyone ignores the fact that he’s also one of bin Salman’s advisers and would never have taken action such as the consulate murder without the direct approval of his boss, he works just fine as a sacrifice.

And, of course, there’s nothing to say: al-Assiri will join the greater than 100 people who have been deprived of their heads by official execution in Saudi Arabia over the last year. Bin Salman might only order his handy general jailed, in a nice place, until everyone stops looking. Just like Jared says.

In fact, the Saudis aren’t even trying to deny that al-Assiri was acting on bin Salman’s orders

The Saudi rulers are expected to say that General Assiri received verbal authorization from Prince Mohammed to capture Mr. Khashoggi for an interrogation in Saudi Arabia, but either misunderstood his instructions or overstepped that authorization and took the dissident’s life, according to two of the people familiar with the Saudi plans.

Yes. They were going to bring him back. It’s just that the crown prince neglected to tell them how many pieces he wanted. That makes it all okay.

Or, bin Salman could just do nothing. After all, Trump has done nothing and Mike Pompeo is urging everyone to do nothing. And if everyone just keeps doing nothing … then Jared’s right. After all, the Saudi royal family gets away with murdering opponents every day. What’s one more?

He can just wait. It’ll blow over. Just like every other horrible thing he’s done.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I want to throw up. I’m done reading about this kind of crap everyday. I don’t want to hear anymore. I’m leaving this doomed country as soon as I can.

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