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Security Council Situation Report 24 October 2018

Situation Report on Matters Pertaining to International Peace and Security

This update complements the brief background notes already published in the Issues at AMUN handbook. Please read the Issues at AMUN book before turning to this update.


Jamal Khashoggi was a journalist and citizen of Saudi Arabia. He was also a resident of the United States and a writer for the Washington Post. For many years, Mr. Khashoggi had been an outspoken critic of the Saudi royal family as well as Saudi Arabia’s actions in Yemen. He originally fled to the United States in June 2017 because he feared the ongoing crackdown on dissent in his home country. On 2 October 2018, Mr. Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain marriage paperwork to formally divorce his ex-wife. He was not seen in public for days following this event. For several days, however, authorities from Saudi Arabia at first maintained that Mr. Khashoggi left the consulate through the back door a few hours after he arrived but did not produce any evidence of his whereabouts.

Turkish authorities claimed that Mr. Khashoggi was murdered. Yasin Aktay, an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, believes Mr. Khashoggi was murdered inside the compound by a Saudi hit squad that entered and left Istanbul that same day. Sources close to Turkish authorities have told multiple news agencies that they possess an audio recording of Mr. Khashoggi’s death.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an independent Saudi investigation into Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance, and Turkish police have been allowed to search both the Saudi consulate and the Saudi consul’s residence. To protest Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance, corporations and government finance ministers from around the world pulled out of attending this year’s Future Investment Institute in Riyadh, a financial conference known as “Davos in the Desert” scheduled to take place in late October 2018.

On 16-17 October, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and President Erdogan to discuss the matter. The United States is a close military and economic partner of Saudi Arabia. Fallout from this incident threatens to heighten diplomatic and military tensions throughout the region.

On 19 October, the Saudi government admitted that Mr. Khashoggi had died in the consulate, but claimed that he had been involved in a fistfight. At least 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested in connection with the matter, and two senior intelligence officials in Saudi Arabia have been dismissed from their posts. United States Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been outspoken on the matter, tweeted: “To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr Khashoggi is an understatement.”

This story is fast developing. Representatives are encouraged to supplement this update with their own research on this matter as it continues to unfold.

Russia & The United States

United States President Donald Trump announced on 20 October that the United States will withdraw from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia, citing Russian non-compliance. The INF is an arms control agreement between the United States and the former Soviet Union (now the Russian Federation) that eliminated land based short-range and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles (500-5500 km)  and their launchers in both countries.

The United States has accused Russia of developing a new land-based missile in violation of the treaty, which has been in place since 1987. European leaders have joined the United States in calling for more transparency from Russia regarding the development of new weapons, but have come out strongly against the United States abandoning the INF treaty; many European Union leaders have cited the role of the treaty in destroying thousands of nuclear weapons and have expressed concern about a new nuclear arms race in response to its termination.

The Russian Federation denies any violation of the INF treaty, though Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov agrees that Russia does have concerns with the treaty as it is written. Peskov has warned that the world will become a “more dangerous place” if the United States abandons the INF treaty, and that, should the United States begin developing new missile systems, the Russian government will be “forced to take measures.”



Al Jazeera (2018). Khashoggi case: A timeline. 17 October.

Borger, Julian & Roth, Andrew (2018). EU warns Trump of nuclear arms race risk after INF withdrawal move. The Guardian. 22 October.

Dewan, Angela & Ilyushina, Mary (2018). Russia fires back after Trump threatens to ditch nuclear arms treaty. CNN. October 22.

Karadeniz, Tulay (2018). Pompeo meets Erdogan after talks with Saudis on missing journalist. Reuters. 17 October.

Kramer, Andrew E (2018). The I.N.F. Treaty, Explained. The New York Times. 23 October.

Yaakoubi, El Aziz (2018). Saudi Arabia admits Khashoggi died in consulate, fires two senior officials. 19 October.

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