Following months without any sort of response to a plethora of questions regarding the whereabouts of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), the man who many strongly believe is behind the murder of the dissident Saudi journalist, claimed that there have been some "misunderstandings" regarding the case.
This latest remark by the royal family has done nothing but continue the Saudi kingdom's policy of overlooking the evidence at hand.
MBS asserted in an interview with the Saudi-funded newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat yesterday that Saudi Arabia has been doing its best to reveal the truth regarding the case. He also expressed that they are trying to fix the "misunderstandings" of some people in the U.S. and other countries.
To be clear, the crown prince made the issue about U.S.-Saudi relations instead of acknowledging the human rights dimensions of it.
He further expressed that they, as the Saudi kingdom, put great emphasis on their "strategic" relations with the U.S., adding that they are prioritizing their national interests over anything. He underlined his belief over the fact that their relations with the U.S. would not be affected by any smear campaign.
Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul by a 15 member Saudi hit squad in Oct. 2. After weeks of denying any involvement in the crime, Saudi Arabia later admitted that Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate but denied that the royal family and the crown prince had any prior knowledge of or responsibility for Khashoggi's killing.
The incident was blamed on lower-level officials, including five that are now facing the death penalty over their involvement. A Saudi public prosecutor said last week that they would seek the death penalty for five suspects among the 21 involved in the case. Ankara has said the statement is not satisfactory and demanded genuine cooperation from Riyadh.
The CIA concluded in October that MBS ordered the assassination of Khashoggi. However, U.S. President Donald Trump disputed the CIA report and told reporters, "The CIA points it both ways. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't," a phrase he had used in a controversial statement released on the incident.
When a reporter asked who should be held responsible for the killing, Trump responded, "Maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a vicious place."