Former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia says the kingdom is lying about Khashoggi killing: 'You don’t bring a bone saw to a negotiation'

Associated Press/Virginia Mayo; Nicolas Asfouri – Pool/GettyA composite image of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
  • The former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia said the kingdom’s latest claims about the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are “absolutely absurd” and not credible whatsoever.
  • “You don’t bring a bone saw to a negotiation,” former Ambassador Robert Jordan told CNN.
  • Saudi Arabia on Thursday claimed Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 via a lethal injection after a brief struggle.
  • The public prosecutors office said the team originally planned to coerce Khashoggi into coming back to Saudi Arabia, but decided to kill him after he resisted.

The former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia said the kingdom’s latest claims about the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are “absolutely absurd” and not credible whatsoever, adding that a more “thorough,” international investigation is required.

Saudi Arabia on Thursday claimed Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 via a lethal injection after a brief struggle. The public prosecutors office said the team originally planned to coerce Khashoggi into coming back to Saudi Arabia, but decided to kill him after he resisted.

The prosecution said Khashoggi was dismembered and his body parts were given to a local collaborator. Additionally, prosecutors said they have indicted 11 men in connection with the killing, and have requested the death penalty for five.


Read more: How the Saudi government’s story on slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi has shifted over time

This marked yet another shift in the Saudi narrative on his killing, though the kingdom yet again claimed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had nothing to do with the operation.

Robert Jordan, who served as ambassador to Saudi Arabia under former President George W. Bush, on Thursday said he did not find the kingdom’s new claims credible.

“You don’t bring a bone saw to a negotiation,” Jordan told CNN. “This is an absolutely absurd explanation. It follows, of course, on the heels of many other absurd explanations.”

“What they have got now are a number of people who’ve been sentenced to death. They clearly are also witnesses, by the way, who might be able to provide evidence to an international investigation team. But that, of course, is now not going to happen,” Jordan added. “This requires a much more thorough investigation, and not simply by the Saudis.”

The Saudi foreign minister on Thursday rejected calls for an international investigation, claiming it was an “internal Saudi affair” despite the fact the killing occurred at the consulate in Turkey and Khashoggi was a US resident.

Jordan said more people, including figures close to Prince Mohammed, need to be held accountable.

The former Saudi ambassador also said he thinks the Trump administration has made “every effort to smooth this over and to conduct business as usual.” Jordan said the international community needs to ramp up pressure and “step in and say not so fast.”


Read more: Here’s everything we know about the troubling disappearance and death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

President Donald Trump initially expressed concern over Khashoggi’s killing, but quickly shifted to defending the Saudis while touting the purported importance of arms sales and the strategic partnership the US has with the kingdom.

The US Treasury Department on Thursday announced sanctions against 17 people connected to Khashoggi’s killing, but some critics feel this does not go far enough.

“Sanctions will not fix this. It’s not enough,” Karen Attiah, who was Khashoggi’s editor at The Washington Post before he disappeared, tweeted on Thursday.

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