Snowden's revelations: Has Israel been involved in the assassination of Khashoggi?

08.11.2018

The news about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul seemed to be spreading through the world media and social networks, although the media resonance did not turn into a political one, as it was in the much more mysterious “Scripal case”. Europe was frightening, but did not impose an arms embargo against Riyadh. Turkey also did not impose strict measures, although it has all the cards on hand - the Turkish police thoroughly know the details of what happened. Donald Trump does not risk either. The last time he asked journalists was a week-long pause to formulate his position. The Gulf countries, the League of Arab States, the USA and Israel are also silent.

Meanwhile, there are all new and new details of the murder. One of them was revealed by the famous whistleblower Edward Snowden, a former analyst at the US National Security Agency, who talked about how Washington had tapped Angela Merkel and other world leaders.

On November 7, Snowden spoke in a videoconference format to the Israeli public, including the topic of the Khashoggi assassination.

According to him, Saudi intelligence has used the Pegasus spy program of the NSO Group. It was downloaded to the phone of Hashkadzhi's friend, Omer Abdulaziz, who lives in Canada. And so the Saudi special services knew about every step of the journalist.

Does the use of Israeli software mean Israel’s interest in killing Khashoggi? On the one hand, this journalist was a minion of the Muslim Brotherhood, hated by Tel Aviv, who shocked Benjamin Netanyahu when he came to power in neighboring Egypt in 2012-2013. However, the “dirty murder” of Khashoggi is a time bomb against those whom he criticized: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and King Salman. And with them, Israel maintains a great relationship.

Despite the statement of Edward Snowden about the direct responsibility of the Israeli intelligence services for the elimination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, one can hardly agree that Tel Aviv was so unwise as to endanger bilateral relations with Riyadh. In the end, between Israel and Saudi Arabia has recently formed, if not sufficiently strong, then at least a cynically loyal alliance, which could not be destroyed by Tel Aviv. Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has repeatedly publicly expressed his view that Israel is an ally of Riyadh against Iran. In turn, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and United Arab Emirates President Caliph ibn Zayed al-Nahyan, was one of the intercessors of the Crown Prince in the US administration.

The only "exception" could be the leader of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, who repeatedly sought the help of the Saudis. Although this could irritate the Israeli leadership, it would not have been a reason to expose Riyadh by killing an opposition journalist.

“Cons” from such a scam was more for Tel Aviv than for the Saudi monarchy. As a result of the killing of Khashoggi, King Salman removed from his post the deputy director of foreign intelligence, Ahmad Al-Asiri, who was a special attorney in resolving the sensitive issues that arise between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

So if Saudi specialists used Israeli software, this is a consequence of Tel Aviv and Riyadh’s allied relations, but not Israel’s direct interest in removing the Washington Post columnist.