To ease the international pressure on Riyadh, local newspapers and TV point to Doha as scapegoat. Qatar plotted to undermine relations between Riyadh and Ankara. Suspicions cast also on his partner, "totally unknown" to the journalist's family.
Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The disappearance of Saudi journalist and intellectual Jamal Khashoggi, critical voice of the government of Riyadh and of the hereditary prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), is increasingly shrouded in mystery.
Turkey accuses Riyadh of having wanted to annihilate a critical voice of the regime, with a targeted execution that took place inside the consulate in Istanbul; the body was reportedly dismembered at a later time, the remains hidden. The international community, led by the United States, are demanding clarification. Hence the choice of the Saudi press to counterattack, accusing Qatar of involvement.
In the aftermath of the journalist's disappearance, the main newspapers of the kingdom have limited themselves to telling the story without giving particular information on (alleged) perpetrators. In the last two days there has been a clear reversal of trend, with the publication of a series of articles in the main newspapers in which Qatar, with whom a diplomatic, economic and commercial war has been underway for some time, is accused.
Saudi Arabia is 169th out of 180 nations in the world for freedom of the press according to Reporters Without Borders. It’s newspapers and televisions now point the finger at Doha, claiming it is behind the mysterious disappearance of the journalist and intellectual. Qatar thus becomes the ideal scapegoat to avoid confrontation with Turkey (ally and partner of Doha) and the international community, especially the United States, which insist on obtaining information from the Saudi ally.
Khashoggi had gone to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get the necessary documents to get married to his partner Hatice Cengiz, a woman of Turkish nationality who first reported his disappearance. The man had asked his partner to contact the Turkish authorities [in particular to contact a Recep Tayyip Erdogan adviser] in case he did not return.
Colleagues and friends launched the #JamalKhashoggiDisappeared campaign, in Arabic and English, which has collected thousands of followers.
The Saudi intellectual and journalist had gone into exile last year in the United States, fearing a possible arrest by the authorities of the kingdom for criticizing some decisions of the crown prince and strongman of the Mbs country. These include Riyadh's military intervention in Yemen and the campaign of internal repression targeteing Essam Al-Zamel among others.
Yesterday, the al-Riyadh newspaper accused the satellite channel of Qatar al-Jazeera of spreading false information on the matter. Al-Arabya, interviewed a communications expert at the University of Saud of Riyadh who accuses Doha of wanting to undermine relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi satellite chain does not even spare the Turkish girlfriend of Khashoggi, stating that she is "totally unknown" to the journalist's family and would have "played a central role" in his disappearance.