Is this the story? There is a lot that is hard to figure about the apparent killing of Jamal Khashoggi. But one of the biggest for me is, why? He was a critic and a dissident. But he actually didn’t oppose the regime itself. He wasn’t calling for a change of government. He even supported a number of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s initiatives. Consolidating autocrats don’t like critics, period. But still it doesn’t quite fit. If Khashoggi died as described, it was an incredibly high stakes and visible move to silence someone who just doesn’t seem to have been that much of a threat.
This story, however, says that Khashoggi was in the final stages of launching a string of new pro-democracy groups bringing together secular reformists and moderate Islamists. It still doesn’t seem to really add up. There are lots of these groups and, unfortunately, the autocracies seem to keep chugging along no problem. Still, it’s maybe the beginning of an explanation.