Forensic officials arrive to examine the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, October 2018.
Osman Orsai / REUTERS

Since the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a rapt global audience has followed in real time a spectacle usually reserved for the most senior levels of government: the fashioning of an exculpatory fig leaf for an atrocity. 

That work is almost done. Saudi Arabia appears on the verge of getting its story straight, about how an interrogation went horribly wrong but had nothing to do with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MbS. U.S. President Donald Trump has nearly nailed down a pretext for continuing to sell arms to Riyadh and maintaining the close embrace of the Saudi leadership. Turkey may yet get an infusion of cash for its ailing economy in return for locking away damning evidence of the murder in the Istanbul consulate. But however loud the protestations of innocence, only the most willfully blind could believe that the man who effectively rules Saudi

To read the full article

  • DANIEL BENJAMIN is Director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College. He served as Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the State Department from 2009 to 2012.
  • More By Daniel Benjamin