Saudi king tries to ease pressure over Khashoggi
King Salman of Saudi Arabia was due to embark on an unusual tour of his country yesterday as the kingdom's international reputation continued to be battered by the fallout from the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
The 82-year-old was due to leave the capital Riyadh and visit several other provinces during the week-long trip, his first domestic tour since taking the throne in 2015.
The king's trip was announced with great fanfare and appeared to be an effort to project confidence and reassure ordinary Saudis amid the most intense international criticism of Saudi Arabia since the 9/11 attacks.
"It is timely and does send a signal to the domestic audience that the king is in touch with the population and remains the kingdom's leader and he continues to value the old ways of communicating with his people," said Dr Neil Quilliam, senior research fellow at Chatham House.
Meanwhile, several dozen members of the Saudi elite are believed to still be imprisoned one year after Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince, ordered arrests of princes and business leaders.
The crown prince said last month that only eight people were still being held but the actual figure is closer to 45, according to the 'Washington Post'. Many of the high-profile detainees were released after handing over millions of dollars but senior figures, including Prince Turki bin Abdullah, a son of the former king, are still missing. A military aide to the prince was reportedly tortured to death, a claim that Saudi Arabia denies.
Turkey's government continued a campaign to keep pressure on the crown prince over Mr Khashoggi's death. Several times in recent days, senior officials, including Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president, have said his death was ordered at "the highest levels of the Saudi government". (© Daily Telegraph London)