FILE - In this April 12, 2018, file photo, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman prepares to leave after a signing ceremony with Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in Madrid, Spain. The killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018, is unlikely to halt Salman’s rise to power, but could cause irreparable harm to relations with Western governments and businesses, potentially endangering his ambitious reform plans. (AP Photo/Paul White, File)
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul is unlikely to halt Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's rise to power, but could cause irreparable harm to relations with Western governments and businesses, potentially endangering his ambitious reform plans.
International outrage over Khashoggi's Oct. 2 slaying at the hands of Saudi officials, under still-disputed circumstances, has marked the greatest crisis in the 33-year-old's rapid rise, already tarnished by a catastrophic war in Yemen and a sweeping roundup of Saudi businessmen and activists.
The prince had hoped to galvanize world support for his efforts to revamp the country's oil-dependent economy, but now the monarchy faces possible sanctions over the killing. Saudi Arabia has threatened to retaliate against any punitive action, but analysts say that wielding its main weapon — oil production — could backfire, putting the prince's economic goals even further out of reach.
"The issue now is how Western governments coordinate a response and to what extent they wish to escalate this in a coordinated fashion," said Michael Stephens, a senior research fellow who focuses on the Mideast at London's Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies.
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