The brutal killing of Saudi-born political operative Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi diplomatic facility in Turkey, and the subsequent dismemberment and disposal of his body, caused quite a stir in American political circles. In the Gulf, Saudi Arabia is a vital ally against the Islamic theocracy of Iran and important to the Trump administration’s policy of confrontation and containment of the mullahs in Tehran.
So it comes with much shock and embarrassment for the State Department and the White House that the mastermind of the killing, former deputy head of Saudi intelligence Ahmad Asiri, has been found at home enjoying life inside the Kingdom rather than in jail, as promised by the Saudi government.
The revelation came Friday when Assiri‘s niece, Lama, tweeted a smiling photo of her uncle at his palatial Riyadh home with his nephew, Lama’s brother Omar, who graduated from King Faisal Air Academy in Riyadh last Wednesday, per recent reports by Ali al-Ahmed of The Gulf Institute in Washington, D.C.
Lama’s tweet attracted substantial online response, which led her to close her account @l_assiri50 on May 4th, but not before she revealed her uncle’s photo was recent, and that he was in fact at home with his children and not facing trial, emphasized al-Ahmed.
Eli Lopez, senior editor of Global Opinions at the Washington Post where Khashoggi worked, said in a statement: “If this is in fact true, it’s further proof that Saudi Arabia is not interested in justice and accountability. They have been purposefully opaque about this entire process. Our reporting has revealed that several people linked to the monstrous murder of our colleague Jamal Khashoggi are in fact free. We have demanded full transparency in this so-called trial – but they have refused to allow international media and observers to cover the proceedings. Until this happens, we will continue to hold the Crown Prince responsible for silencing an honest journalist for simply doing his job.”
The fact is that Khashoggi was not just a part-time columnist, but an Islamist activist and not necessarily pro-American. The Post is being disengenuous about Khasshogi’s real activities; they were not altruistic. However, this does not take away from the fact that his murder seems to be taken very lightly within the Saudi kingdom.