Saudi crown prince aide named in Khashoggi death threat story appointed as UAE envoy

Saudi crown prince aide named in Khashoggi death threat story appointed as UAE envoy
Saudi Arabia has appointed Turki Aldakhil as envoy to the UAE, just days after a report named him as being privy to Prince Mohammed's threats against Jamal Khashoggi's life.
3 min read
11 February, 2019
Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October [NurPhoto]

Saudi Arabia has appointed a former media chief as its envoy to the United Arab Emirates, just days after it was revealed that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had told him he would "use a bullet" on slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Turki Aldakhil, the former general manager of Saudi-owned al-Arabiya, was sworn in as ambassador to the UAE at a ceremony officiated by King Salman, Saudi Arabia's official SPA news agency reported on Sunday.

"Aldakhil fiercely defended Mohammed bin Salman against the background of khashoggi’s murder and he even published an article threatening the US. Besides being in the inner circle of MBS, Aldakhil is known to be one of the many UAE's men in Saudi Arabia through which Abu-Dhabi managed to exert influence inside the desert kingdom on the public and at official levels during the last decade or so," Dr Ali Bakeer, an analyst and researcher, told The New Arab.

"The relations between Aldakhil and the senior officials in UAE date back to the period before the rise of MBS in Saudi Arabia. This highlights the fact that Abu Dhabi is playing an important role in shaping many of Saudi Arabia's internal and foreign policy positions in the last few years."

Citing US intelligence sources, The New York Times had on Thursday reported that Aldakhil was privy to a conversation with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, when he threatened to forcibly bring Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia. 

In a conversation that was intercepted by US intelligence, Prince Mohammed is heard telling top aide Aldakhil that Khashoggi should return to Saudi Arabia or be brought back forcefully. If these two scenarios did not occur, he would kill Khashoggi with "a bullet".

Khashoggi, a critic of the powerful crown prince, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October - around a year after the intercepted conversation occured.

Despite denials from Aldakhil about the remarks, his appointment indicates the continuation of Prince Mohammed's brazen foreign policy - both before and after Khashoggi's murder.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who wrote critically about the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, likely at the orders of the young but powerful royal, intelligence services have said.

The CIA believe Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to kill Khashoggi and say his body was dismembered and removed to a location still publicly unknown.

Earlier this month, a UN Special rapporteur leading an independent inquiry into the Khashoggi killing called the act a "brutal and premeditated killing" planned and perpetrated by Saudi officials.

The whereabouts of Khashoggi's body are still unknown.