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The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi becomes more brutal and horrific every day. Since killing Khashoggi, Riyadh has engaged in a transparent and offensive attempt to cover up the crime. The question is how far other governments will go in the pursuit of a “realist” foreign policy, overlooking a crime to protect so-called national interests. The Saudi government may be called to some — but not much — account.

Khashoggi was a long-time vocal critic of the Saudi government. As a contributing columnist for The Washington Post, he had a commanding position to level comments against Riyadh and it had attempted to co-opt or silence him, through inducements and intimidation. The plot to kill him was set in motion Sept. 28 when Khashoggi visited the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents so he could marry. He returned, as directed, on Oct. 2 for the paperwork. Unbeknownst to him, the day before a team of 18 agents had reportedly been dispatched to Turkey to murder him and dispose of the body. He went to the consulate with his fiance, told her to wait outside and walked in to his death.

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