What’s a state-sponsored assassination between friends? Reckoning with the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and its implications for US-Saudi relations two years later


On the eve of the second anniversary of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, QI and Showtime Documentary Films will host a discussion about the implications of the assassination for U.S.-Saudi relations past, present, and future.

The discussion offers a sneak peak at Showtime’s Kingdom of Silence, the upcoming documentary that provides an in-depth look into the Washington Post journalist’s life, work, and murder against the backdrop of complex U.S.-Saudi relations.

Journalist Lawrence Wright and Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman, both featured in the film, will join with Quincy Institute’s Annelle Sheline, in a conversation about the important questions the film raises about the future of the U.S.-Saudi relationship in the era of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s consolidation of power.


Lawrence Wright

Lawrence Wright is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, screenwriter, playwright, and a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine. He is a graduate of Tulane University, in New Orleans, and the American University in Cairo. He began his writing career at The Race Relations Reporter in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1971. In 1980, Wright went to work for Texas Monthly. He also became a contributing editor to Rolling Stone. In 1992, he joined the staff of The New Yorker, where he has published a number of prize-winning articles, including two which won National Magazine Awards.

Tawakkol Karman

Tawakkol Karman is the co-founder of Women Journalists Without Chains, which promotes freedom of expression and democratic rights. From 2007 to 2010, she led demonstrations and sit-ins in Tahrir Square, Sana'a and participated in the 2011 protests against ruling regimes that took place in a number of Arab countries. Her involvement in demonstrations and actions critical of the Yemeni regime led to her arrest and murder threats. She has promoted the struggle for democracy and human rights in Yemen at the international level, including at the UN and is a co-recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

Annelle Sheline

Annelle Sheline is a Research Fellow in the Middle East program at the Quincy Institute and an expert on religious and political authority in the Middle East and North Africa. Sheline is completing a book manuscript on the strategic use of religious authority in the Arab monarchies since 9/11, focusing on the cases of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, and Oman. Her non-academic writing has appeared in The Nation, Politico, and Foreign Policy.

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, Moderator

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is a Senior Advisor at the Quincy Institute and a Contributing Editor at ResponsibleStatecraft.org. For the past three years, Vlahos served as The American Conservative’s executive editor and co-hosted the Empire Has No Clothes podcast. She also organized the magazine’s major annual foreign policy conference. Vlahos previously served as a contributing editor to the magazine, reporting and publishing regular articles on U.S. war policy, civil liberties, foreign policy, veterans, and Washington politics since 2007.