Oh, sweet revenge.
Remember how, back in the summer of 2017, the Saudis “succeeded” in engineering all kinds of turmoil in Qatar by blockading the sheikdom ostensibly in response to Doha’s support for extremism?
Yeah, well now, thanks to Riyadh’s bungled assassination of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the efforts of Doha’s ally in Ankara to keep the story in the news, 3M Saibor has risen for 20 consecutive days and is now higher than 3M Qubior. As you can see (top pane below), this is a relative rarity and happened last late in September.
This comes amid ongoing international pressure on Riyadh to demonstrate that the Kingdom is serious about punishing those responsible for the extrajudicial killing.
On Thursday, the Saudi prosecutor released the results of the Kingdom’s farcical investigation into the murder and (surprise!) Crown Prince bin Salman was found to have played no part. In fact, if you ask the monarchy, bin Salman didn’t even know about the operation.
Clearly, the deteriorating market sentiment (which also manifested itself in a mass exodus of foreign money from Saudi stocks in October) is tied to the threat of U.S. sanctions. Late last week, The New York Times reported that Steve Mnuchin’s Treasury department was set to punish the Saudis and sure enough, the Trump administration has sanctioned 17 people for the Khashoggi killing.
Included in the list is Saud al-Qahtani, a senior official. Also sanctioned, Maher Mutreb, the man who can be overheard on an audio tape possessed by Turkish intelligence making a phone call to Riyadh and telling the person on the other end of the line that “the deed is done, tell your boss.” Obviously, the “boss” is Mohammed bin Salman, but it appears the U.S. (and likely the Saudis) are going to try and blame Saud al-Qahtani.
Also on the list: Salah Tubaigy, the chief of forensic evidence and autopsy expert, who reportedly put in headphones and advised everyone else in the room to do the same as he went to work on Khashoggi’s body with his infamous bone saw.
“The United States continues to diligently work to ascertain all of the facts and will hold accountable each of those we find responsible in order to achieve justice for Khashoggi’s fiancée, children, and the family he leaves behind,” Mnuchin said in the statement.
That is of course laughable. The person responsible is the Crown Prince and the only question now is whether Erdogan has irrefutable proof of that.
Full release from Treasury
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Saud al-Qahtani, his subordinate Maher Mutreb, Saudi Consul General Mohammed Alotaibi, and 14 other members of an operations team for having a role in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. These individuals are designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, to target perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption.
“The Saudi officials we are sanctioning were involved in the abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi. These individuals who targeted and brutally killed a journalist who resided and worked in the United States must face consequences for their actions. The United States continues to diligently work to ascertain all of the facts and will hold accountable each of those we find responsible in order to achieve justice for Khashoggi’s fiancée, children, and the family he leaves behind,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “The Government of Saudi Arabia must take appropriate steps to end any targeting of political dissidents or journalists.”
Saud Al-Qahtani is a senior official of the Government of Saudi Arabia who was part of the planning and execution of the operation that led to the killing of Mr. Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2, 2018. This operation was coordinated and executed by his subordinate Maher Mutreb, and involved participation of at least 14 other Saudi government officials: Salah Tubaigy; Meshal Albostani; Naif Alarifi; Mohammed Alzahrani; Mansour Abahussain; Khalid Alotaibi; Abdulaziz Alhawsawi; Waleed Alsehri; Thaar Alharbi; Fahad Albalawi; Badr Alotaibi; Mustafa Almadani; Saif Alqahtani; and Turki Alsehri. The Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where Mr. Khashoggi was killed, was overseen by Consul General Mohammed Alotaibi. All of these individuals are designated for being responsible for, or complicit in, or having directly or indirectly engaged in serious human rights abuse.
As a result of these designations, any property or interests in property of the individuals designated today within or transiting U.S. jurisdiction is blocked. Additionally, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with blocked persons, including entities 50 percent or more owned by designated persons.