Even the rich and powerful are mortal. Since the reported ‘disappearance’ of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and exile from Saudi Arabia, on October 2, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) has intensified his personal security and now only goes to bed aboard his $500 million yacht, the Serene, which is one of the world’s largest private superyachts. It is guarded by Saudi Arabian Navy flotilla.
The crown prince who is also deputy prime minister, president of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs and minister of defense of Saudi Arabia, is accompanied by interior minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, a cousin’s son.
Already on board are his security advisors Dabae Aldhiyb and Jihaz Thaelab, both trained at Erik Prince’s Academi, the security company formerly called Blackwater USA… who is brother of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
The crown prince’s body language shows that he is unhappy that none of the stories they have floated about the Khashoggi episode seem to hold.
Discerning the situation, Aldhiyb offers, “Your Royal Highnesses, I must say that our public relations consultants advised us poorly all along that we say that Jamal was killed in an argument at our consulate that degenerated into a brawl. This was too far-fetched. He never looked like a fighter.”
The crown prince angrily adds, “I don’t know why [Turkish president] Erdogan has to poke his nose into our internal affairs. Is he still in the trance that we are one of his [Ottoman] provinces and he is obliged to care about a citizen? I should ask [British prime minister Theresa] May to call his ambassador in London and update him that we have been free from the Turks since our honorable Colonel T. E. Lawrence granted us this kingdom.”
Thaelab quickly adds his voice, “Dabae is so right, our public relations consultants kept on making wrong suggestions. First they told us to deny knowledge of his whereabouts; when this did not work, they told us to admit that he was murdered at our consulate [in Istanbul] by rogue agents. They kept advising us to offer one new excuse after the other.
“I wouldn’t pay them for this work.”
Interior minister Prince Abdulaziz offers a word of cheer, “I am sure all this will be forgotten soon. See the WWE [World Wrestling Entertainment] has refused to back out of their November 2 show in Riyadh.
“The enlightened Saudi citizen are overjoyed at what we are providing them, especially the WWE shows, which are a natural fit for the Saudi mind. I must say [Royal Court advisor] Turki Al-Sheikh was the right choice to do the signing with WWE. He has things going.”
Aldhiyb, seeks permission to speak, and continues, “Your Royal Highnesses, we only got one bad advice after the other. Saying that neither His Majesty [King Salman] nor Your Royal Highness [MBS] knew anything sort of showed our royal family was not in full control.”
Thaelab adds his part, “Yet another bad advice was that our prosecutor admit that Khashoggi’s murder was premeditated.
“Your Royal Highnesses, it is your sublime wisdom that you sent us for training with Mr. Erik [Prince]. He has been kind to give us open to access to him. Both of us consult him periodically.
“Your Royal Highnesses, after studying Mr. Erik’s suggestions, we have come up with a plan. It will surely be a winner.
“The plan is to completely wipe out this Jamal from the face of the earth. So how could we disappear or kill someone who never existed… yes, there never was a Jamal who could be or needed to be removed!”
Finally the crown prince cheered up, “Indeed, Dabae and Jihaz you have the capital idea. I wonder why we consulted with our public relations consultants in London and Washington, D.C. when have great thinkers in our kingdom.
“Let us hear the full plan and get going.”
Thaelab gets on with his presentation, “His Royal Highness [the minister of interior] will order his department to wipe off all his records… his Biṭāgat Al-ʼaḥwāl [the Saudi Arabian identity card and proof of citizenship] never existed. Every trace of his life will be wiped out. Scrubbed clean. Ditto for his children… his family… they can live in America like Johnny Kash or something.
“Your Royal Highness [MBS], both you and His Majesty have assured people, even this nosy Erdogan, that we will present a report after we complete our investigation.
“We will have [Saudi attorney general] Saud al-Mojeb hold a press conference …”
Aldhiyb swiftly corrects him, “Not a press conference but he will issue a press release that our investigation has revealed that the possibility of any disappearance or dying does not arise, when any such person was never even conceived.
The two royals high five, and MBS declares, “I am calling my brother Jared [Kushner] to share our findings with his father-in-law, our dear Abu Ivanka [Trump] that there never was any Jamal Khashoggi.”
They down their finjan of qahwa and retire to their bedrooms.