LONDON - New book on the Khashoggi assassination titled, KHASHOGGI AND THE CROWN PRINCE - WHAT DID KHASHOGGI KNOW, by Owen Wilson is to be published on 14 March, by GIBSON SQUARE.


There was more to the death of Jamal Khashoggi than the simple gagging of a persistent critic of Saudi Crown-Prince bin Salman. For many years, Khashoggi had been a favoured insider. He had been privy to many Saudi secrets as high-level advisor to the previous King Salman and a confidant of Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s long-standing intelligence chief, whose adviser he was as ambassador to first London then Washington. He had a deeply-informed insight into the kingdom’s long-held desire to develop a nuclear capability, as a counterweight to the nuclear bomb ambitions of Iran, its number one enemy, and other nations in the region – including Turkey.

Khashoggi knew too much. Saudi authorities first banned Khashoggi from publishing or appearing on TV there after he was mildly critical of Trump two days after his election victory in 2016 at a sleepy Washington think tank. The Saudi government saw the vain and volatile billionaire and soon-to-be president as their quarry. Saudi Arabia not only forbade him from public speaking, but it also issued an official government press release that Khashoggi didn’t speak for Saudi Arabia – an act of bizarre massive overkill as Khashoggi had lost his official status in the kingdom after King Salman rose to power in 2015. But he knew about Trump and about Saudi Arabia was so sensitive that his credibility had to be undermined at all cost.


When Khashoggi went in voluntary exile a year after his ban, he chose a familiar path for elite Saudis. But when he chose to write for the Washington Post he tripped Saudi security wires. The Post was avid opponent of Trump, and owned by Jeff Bezos whose wealth dwarfed many Saudi princes as well as the president’s. He had become a person of interest to Saudi security.


Khashoggi’s death sentence came in March 2018. Nuclear capability, an area in which Saudi Arabia lagged other Middle Eastern nations, was suddenly within striking reach further to Trump’s desire to sell nuclear technology. It could vault the other nations.

But in March 2018 the 59-year-old Khashoggi fell head over heels in love with 36-year-old Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish PhD student at university in Istanbul. Khashoggi was at the same time courting president Tayyip Erdogan, Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival in the power politics of the Middle East, getting close to Erdogan’s inner circle. Khashoggi planned to marry and move to Istanbul. Saudi top secrets now moved outside of the reach of Saudi Arabia or its ally the United States into hostile territory.

Due to his growing closeness to Erdogan, Khashoggi had become a ‘traitor’ — the word that recordings reveal was hurled at him by one of his attackers as they were cutting him to pieces. His intended marriage — it would have been his fourth — pulled the trigger in Riyadh. He had to be eliminated to avoid jeopardy to Saudi’s nuclear prospects.


The assassination of Khashoggi on hostile soil was meticulously planned, like operation Neptune Spear against bin Laden. In 15 minutes he was suffocated (bag over his head), throttled, fingers snipped off (probably while still alive), head and limbs hacked away by a forensic doctor wielding a bone saw (possibly while still alive), his corpse quartered then sliced into 15 pieces to be incinerated at 1000 degrees in a newly installed tandoori oven in the Saudi consul’s garden.

Khashoggi efficient disposal would have cleared a major headache for Crown Prince bin Salman in Saudi Arabia and his ally Donald Trump in the United States. The disposal could not happen anywhere on US soil and US intelligence wanted to know as little as possible to have plausible deniability how Khashoggi had vanished.

Instead, the world erupted in indignation when it found out the massive overkill of the operation to disappear him. We were not supposed to know any of the grisly details. The rest is history.