The prince, a friend of Khashoggi’s, has been following the case closely since the disappearance of the prominent Saudi journalist after he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Under massive pressure, Saudi Arabia confirmed on October 19 the death of the journalist during a “fistfight” in the consulate.
A first cousin of King Mohammed VI, Prince Moulay Hicham said in his latest interview with Al Quds Al Araby that the Trump administration is collaborating with Saudi Arabia to save Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) from being implicated in the case.
However, saving MBS would seem to be an impossible mission because the murder took place in a “diplomatic representation and required many logistics that included planes and various teams including the crime team and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” said the prince.
According to Moulay Hicham, none of it could have happened without a “green light from the highest power pyramid.”
Moulay Hicham believes that Turkey is the main barrier to saving MBS’ reputation because the country refuses to “enter into the Trump-Saudi strategy and cleverly undermines any US-Saudi narrative that disguises what happened through a systematic leak of data about the crime.”
Throughout the month, several news outlets have reported that Turkey might have audio recordings and evidence of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the murder. However, Turkey allegedly refuses to present the evidence in order to avoid espionage accusations from the international community.
However, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan promised to give more details on the murder on Tuesday.
For the prince, Saudi Arabia cannot shrink from its responsibility in the murder because Khashoggi is a US resident and a “reformist voice defending freedom of expression and was adopted by a large media organization, the Washington Post.”
The way he was killed, according to the prince, led many voices from the US and EU political systems to demand “clarifications and sanctions against those responsible for the crime.
“We do not forget that this is a crime that took place openly in a consulate that is supposed to be a place of safety and not a secret murder in a secret location,” the prince added.
Too many years of silence
Moulay Hicham, who is also a cousin of Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, said that there is high tension within the Saudi royal family as the crown prince “violated all written laws and customs and traditions.”
He said that besides the Saudi blockade of Qatar and the Ritz Carlton case, Saudi Arabia is facing pressure due to what he called a “heinous crime in which the dismembering of the body of a peaceful citizen is an act against the Islamic religion and traditions in force within the Saudi society. This crime created terror within the country, and everyone became afraid of a similar fate.”
The crime, according to Moulay Hicham, is the result of a long internal and international silence on “the terrible mistakes” in Saudi Arabia. Morocco itself has not yet officially reacted to the death of the Saudi journalist.
Moulay Hicham said that the Saudi crown prince is responsible for the war in Yemen, and yet nobody has reacted despite the many killed and displaced in the country.
“[Mohammed bin Salman] blockades Qatar [and] Washington has not moved … this has been a serious turning point in international relations.”
However, Moulay Hicham is certain that the Saudi King “was not aware of all the details of the [Khashoggi] file.” The prince speculated that the Saudi King was briefed about it after the visit of Prince Khaled Al Faisal to Turkey and his meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The King then knew about the seriousness of the case after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Saudi Arabia and “made him face the fait accompli.”
The prince has been sharing tweets on the case since Khashoggi’s disappearance. The prince wrote that if the death of the journalist is confirmed it should be regarded as a “political assassination conducted on Saudi soil. This violates international law, human rights and the very tenets of Islamic law.”