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“It took seven minutes for Jamal Khashoggi to die,” a Turkish source tells the pro-government news site Yen Safak. The source claimed to have heard the audio recording of the Saudi dissident’s assassination inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi, the source said, was drugged dismembered while still alive according to the unconfirmed report

Mounting scrutiny of the 15 men identified by Turkey as members of the Saudi team involved in the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi link the hit squad to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. One of the suspects was a frequent companion of MBS, says the New York Times. The Washington Post says 11 men on the list have ties to the Saudi security services.

The smile of Mike Pompeo while meeting with MBS said rather more than his mild demand for an investigation. He probably wasn’t laught at the Saudis’ emerging cover story: Khashoggi’s detetention is the moral equivalent of America’s rendition of terror suspects, that accidentally result in death. This may suffice for Trump. Recall that when asked about assassinations in Russia, Trump said, “You think our country’s so innocent?”

Israel has fallen silent. Usually quick to condemn the crimes of Arab governments but recent Twitter feeds of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren include not a word about the murder of Khashoggi.

The one, the only, beneficiary of the rendition of Khashohggi is Iran, nemesis of the target of the U.S.-Saudi-Israeli alliance that is now in damage control mode. The state-controlled Iranian press is having a field day covering all things Khashoggi.

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