Saudi Arabia economy ‘to be OBLITERATED’ as Khashoggi murder faces global BACKLASH

Eurasia Group macro analyst Leon Levy made the explosive remarks, arguing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MbS) attempts to re-brand his nation as a “modern and diversified economy” could prove futile as a result of the killing and subsequent botched cover-up.

Writing for CNN Business, he said: “The perpetrator (or perpetrators) made a critical mistake in assuming that having the power to reach across borders and permanently silence a well-known critic meant they were free to do so without fear of repercussions.

“It’s a miscalculation that will haunt Saudi Arabia for years.”

Mr Levy contended the most significant fallout for Saudi Arabia from the highly-publicised Khashoggi murder would be a decrease in foreign investment after a surge in interest following MbS’s ambitious Vision 2030 reform agenda.

The analyst said: “The world proved willing to overlook plenty to protect the investment gold rush — until the Khashoggi murder (and the political drama Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan masterfully drew out) made it impossible to do so any longer.”

MbS, who is the de-facto Saudi Arabian leader, a year ago allowed Saudi women to drive – a right they had been denied previously.

In April this year, he also allowed his people to visit public cinemas, which had been banned in the country for 35 years.

Previously Saudis wishing to watch movies had done so via satellite television, DVD or video.

But in the wake of the Khashoggi scandal, Saudi Arabia’s self-styled reforms may have little impact on foreign investors’ willingness to plough their money into the Gulf state.

In an apparent indication of the international backlash, last month key politicians and global businesses withdrew from a Saudi investment trade fair

Mr Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

The Riyadh dissident was going there to collect divorce papers so he could legally wed his fiancé who was waiting outside.

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Details of Mr Khashoggi’s grim demise were slow to emerge after Turkey was quick to assert he had been murdered in a heinous ISIS-style attack.

Of the murder, Saudi dissident and acquaintance of Mr Khashoggi, Ali Al-Ahmed, told “This really is the true nature of the Saudi monarchy.

“This is the picture: the ISIS-style killing of a man who was their servant, to be honest – he was their mouthpiece for many years.

“He veered away from them and they decided to send a message and commit what was essentially a public execution.”