Global attention turned to Riyadh after the Turkish government began investigating the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi from the kingdom’s consulate in Istabul. Khashoggi was a strong critic of the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS), who ordered the imprisonment and torture of business leaders as part of an anti-corruption campaign. In October, reports emerged that 15 Saudis took two chartered planes to Istanbul to either kill Khashoggi or take him back to Saudi Arabia to be imprisoned – or worse. Turkish sources reported that there were tapes of the journalist screaming as each of his fingers was cut off. The MBS administration initially denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance before admitting that he died “in a fist fight” within the consulate. Both statements were widely dismissed as countries began pulling out of international events to be held in Saudi Arabia and US legislators threatened sanctions. At risk are more than $100bn in US arms deals and the possibility that Riyadh could try to use its oil production as a weapon.
Protesters outside the Saudi embassy in Washington DC