As the list grows of individuals and organizations pulling out of Saudi Arabia’s big deal “Davos in the Desert” continues to grow, the Saudi government appears to be honing in on who will be the scapegoat for the kidnap-torture-murder-dismemberment of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Fox Business and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin withdrew from the conference Thursday joining, among others, Bloomberg, “The Financial Times,” CNN, “The New York Times,” and Al Aribiya News Channel.
And the Saudi government is now weighing whether to blame a top intelligence official close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS to his close friends) for the killing of Khashoggi.
Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, a high-ranking adviser to the crown prince, seems to be the unlucky winner of the “patsy” sweepstakes.
Blaming General Assiri could also provide a plausible explanation for the killing and help deflect blame from the crown prince, which will be more than welcomed in certain corners of the Beltway.
But not in the US intelligence community, which firmly believes that nothing happens without the approval and direction from MBS.
Which is why Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stepping aside to give the Saudis time to investigate themselves and come up with a story, is like having Donald Trump, Jr. conduct the Russia probe.