Turkish Media Identifies 15 Saudis Allegedly Involved in Journalist’s Disappearance

12 October, 2018, 02:20 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • Khashoggi case should not be politicized, says UN expert

USA intelligence intercepted communications between Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture journalist Jamal Khashoggi prior to his disappearance last week in Turkey in a case now roiling global investigators and threatening to damage relations between Washington and Riyadh. "That's why I want to say, we don't want to make any judgments about what happened, and we call for a thorough and transparent investigation". But senior members of Congress with access to US intelligence reporting feared the worst.

Bob Corker, a Republican Senator who chairs the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Thursday that "significant sanctions" would have to be imposed at the "highest levels" of the Saudi government if Khashoggi was the victim of a state-sponsored killing, AP reported.

Security guards stand outside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Oct. 11, 2018.

Trump also appeared for an interview on Fox News Wednesday night, were he was reluctant to say he would cut off arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the disappearance and possible murder of Khashoggi.

Jamal Khashoggi was killed on the orders of Saudi leadership, Turkish officials revealed to the New York Times. "Everything points to them". It's been alleged that a Saudi hit team ambushed him in the embassy, killed him, and dismembered his body because of his criticisms of his government.

Earlier, the Washington Post reported that U.S. intelligence intercepts outlined a Saudi plan to detain Khashoggi.

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Global pressure has mounted on close USA ally Saudi Arabia over the whereabouts of Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi policies who entered the consulate on October 2 to get documents for his planned marriage. Asked about a Washington Post report that United States intelligence had intercepted top Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture Khashoggi, Trump told Fox, "It would be a very sad thing".

President Trump revealed the USA has investigators looking into how a journalist went missing last week after entering the Saudi Consulate in Turkey and said it would be a "very sad thing" if the kingdom's crown prince hatched the plot.

President Donald Trump talked to "Fox & Friends" about the missing Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the possibility of Saudi Arabia's involvement, telling the show's hosts, "I don't like it at all".

After Khashoggi's fiance wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post, pleading for Trump and his wife Melania's help, the president said that the first lady's office was working on inviting her to the White House.

One of the co-authors of the letter, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), said he has seen intelligence reports indicating Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to lure Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia so he could be arrested. Lawmakers could also throw a wrench into arms sales that require their approval and demand the USA scale back support for the Saudi military campaign against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.

The Washington Post on Wednesday reported US intelligence intercepted communications from Saudi officials over the past four months indicating Crown Prince bin Salman ordered an operation to lure Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia so he could be arrested.

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Khashoggi's Turkish fiance, Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside, said he never re-appeared.

On Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged the Saudi Consulate to prove whether or not Khashoggi exited the building after entering, saying the consulate officials "can't get away with (simply) saying "he left the building".

By 7 p.m., six of the Saudis left by the newly arrived private plane, flying on to Cairo and remaining overnight until heading back to Riyadh, according to Sabah and other media reports. That's unlikely to change, said Robin Wright, a scholar at the Wilson Center think tank and close friend of the missing writer. The administration also relies on Saudi support for its Middle East agenda to counter Iranian influence, fight extremism and support an expected peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians. The crown prince's grand economic promises and social reforms, such as allowing women to drive, won him praise internationally but were accompanied by a sharp crackdown on dissent. "This is the right time to suspend our military support for the disastrous bombing campaign in Yemen".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo followed up with his own call to the crown prince, who had forged close ties to the administration, especially Kushner. Even under the Obama administration, which had hard relations with Riyadh compared with Trump, there were some $65 billion in completed arms sales.

The Saudi ambassador to Turkey was summoned to the ministry to request Riyadh's cooperation in the investigation, a Turkish official said. "It's about shared security interests".

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