Berlin(ANN)-As the diplomatic fallout triggered by the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi intensified last month, Germany became the first country to step up and ban arms sales to the kingdom, effectively cancelling a sale worth some $500 million Now, Europe’s biggest economy is again leading the Continent’s push to “hold the Saudis accountable” by barring 18 Saudis suspected of being involved in Khashoggi’s murder from entering the EU’s passport-free travel area, according to Bloomberg.


While a complete list of the people banned wasn’t released, Bloomberg said it includes the 15 members of the suspected Saudi hit squad (many of whom have been arrested by the Kingdom’s public prosecutor) as well as Saud al-Qahtani, formerly a senior aide and confidant to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman who is believed to have overseen the killing. Al-Qahtani was also included in a list of 17 Saudis who were sanctioned by the US Treasury Department.

Coordinated with France and the U.K., the notice applies to the European Union’s so-called Schengen area, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in Brussels. The list includes Saud al-Qahtani, a senior adviser to Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and a 15-member team suspected of carrying out the murder, a German government official said.

“There are more questions than answers in the clarification of this case, both regarding the act itself and who is behind it,” Maas told reporters on Monday. EU member states will consider additional measures, he said.

Khashoggi’s murder and the ensuing scandal once again put a damper on Saudi-German relations following a recent thaw that culminated with the arms deal. Germany’s decision also followed reports that the CIA has determined that Saudi de facto ruler MbS likely gave the order that led to Khashoggi’s execution (though, to be sure, the report specified that the circumstances, as well as MbS’s motivations, remained murky).

Back in May, MbS ordered that all Saudi government contracts with Germany be cancelled after Germany announced its intentions to stand by Iran while the US prepared to reimpose sanctions. That decision jeopardized several massive contracts with German companies, including Siemens, which had just signed a contract worth around $400 million to deliver five gas turbines for a new Saudi power plant, and Daimler, which had secured an order to supply 600 Mercedes‑Benz Citaro buses from Saudi bus operator SAPTCO.


By the Saudis own admission, Khashoggi was murdered on Oct. 2 inside the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul after he visited the consulate to retrieve paperwork that would have allowed him to marry his fiance. Despite increasingly fierce accusations from Turkey that the Saudi involvement in the killing goes all the way to the top, the Kingdom has blamed the crime on a handful of operatives and intelligence officials, several of whom could face the death penalty. Meanwhile, President Trump has said that MbS has denied his involvement in the murder at least five times during talks between the two.

As the Kingdom closes ranks around MbS, the prince’s father King Salman said Monday in his first televised address since the killing that the kingdom’s prosecutors were “carrying out their duty in the service of justice” – but didn’t directly address Khashoggi’s killing, according to Al Jazeera.

As we said above, Germany didn’t release the full list of names, we imagine there is one notable omission.

Bet you 100 rials that list doesn’t include MBS.

— Spencer Jakab (@Spencerjakab) November 19, 2018

Palisade Research’s blog.