‘People acting beyond their authority’ responsible for Khashoggi’s death, says Saudi FM

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told FOX News on Sunday that the individuals responsible in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi were 'out of the scope of their authority.' (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 31 October 2018

‘People acting beyond their authority’ responsible for Khashoggi’s death, says Saudi FM

  • Senior Saudi official reveals new details of operation that led to journalist’s death in Istanbul
  • The Kingdom was working on finding out location of the body and determining full details

JEDDAH: The death of Saudi  journalist Jamal Khashoggi was the result of a “rogue operation” by people acting beyond the scope of their authority, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Sunday.

“This is a terrible mistake. This is a terrible tragedy,” he said, offering sympathy to the Khashoggi family. “Our condolences go out to them. We feel their pain. I assure them that those responsible will be held accountable.

“The individuals did this out of the scope of their authority,” Al-Jubeir told Fox News in the US, and none of those involved had close ties to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “There were not people closely tied to him. This was an operation that was a rogue operation.”

Khashoggi died in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 6 when he visited to complete some paperwork related to his divorce. Saudi Arabia said on Saturday that 18 Saudis had been arrested in connection with his death.

Conflicting reports about whether Khashoggi had left the consulate prompted the investigation, and Saudi Arabia would continue to provide information on the case “as it becomes available,” Al-Jubeir said on Sunday.

Separately, an unindentified Saudi official told the Reuters news agency that the initial account of Khashoggi’s disappearance had been based on “false information reported internally at the time.”

“Once it became clear these initial mission reports were false, the government launched an internal investigation and refrained from further public comment,” the official said.

He said the deputy head of the General Intelligence Presidency, Ahmed Al-Asiri, had assembled a 15-member team to meet Khashoggi at the consulate and try to convince him to return to Saudi Arabia.

Things went wrong from the start, the official said. When Khashoggi raised his voice, the team panicked. They placed him in a chokehold and covered his mouth. “They tried to prevent him from shouting, but he died,” the official said. “The intention was not to kill him.”

To cover up their misdeed, the team rolled up Khashoggi’s body in a rug, took it out in a consular vehicle and handed it over to a “local cooperator.” A team member donned Khashoggi’s clothes and left through the back door of the consulate in an attempt to make it look as if Khashoggi had walked out of the building.

The official said the team then wrote a false report for their superiors.

Saudi political analyst and international relations scholar Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri told Arab News: “This should put an end to all the spurious stories that were being dished out by different media outlets. Today’s explanation should put all the conspiracy theories to rest.”

Ronaldinho plans Saudi Arabia football academy in Jeddah

Updated 38 min 21 sec ago

Ronaldinho plans Saudi Arabia football academy in Jeddah

  • Backstage at Misk Global Forum, Brazilian football legend reveals intention to open school some time next year
  • Player offered advice for audience, speaking about the value of teamwork, learning from failure and the rewards of giving back

RIYADH: Ronaldinho plans to open a football academy in Jeddah some time next year, the Brazilian football legend revealed to Arab News backstage in an exclusive interview after his appearance at the Misk Global Forum on Wednesday.

“First of all, I want to say thank you for a warm reception and kindness which I have received from the Saudi people,” he told Arab News. “As for the kids, those who want to be a player some day, dedicate as much as you can and follow your dreams.”

Earlier, Ronaldinho appeared on stage to a chorus of cheers at the end of the day’s sessions, where he gave a talk titled the Discipline – and Fun – of Teamwork. 

”I was lucky enough to be on a team with stars,” he said of his career with European clubs Paris St-Germain, Barcelona and AC Milan, and a World Cup win in 2002 with the Brazilian national team. “We all respected each other.

“For me it was wonderful, because my history with this team and players was a beautiful one: To idolize them and later play with them and later win titles again…”

Ronaldinho said he feels grateful for his God-given talent. “Throughout my career we had a plan, and I always worked hard. God gave me the privilege to play football. It was fun, not a sacrifice.”

“I’ve always liked to have a ball around me, to have contact with the ball.”

His advice for the audience? “Prepare yourself and help your colleague or team member,” he said. “Humility is important. Try to stay humble.”

He also said to train hard, read as much as you can and don’t fear failure. “I failed a lot of times,” he said. “Football is like that. You can’t always win. You have to seek lessons from the defeats and not lose hope.” 

Now that he’s retired, Ronaldinho is more concerned with giving back. “After I stopped playing, I have soccer academies. That’s what I’m proud of, and it has given me pleasure. To give something back (as a)  thanks to football and everything it have given me.”