Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Trump vows to "get to bottom" of Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance

The image taken from Turkey's Daily Sabah shows 15 Saudi operatives suspected of having killed Kamal Khashoggi upon his arrival at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul Report: U.S. Knew of Saudi Plan to Capture WaPo Columnist, Failed to Stop It
Kelvin Reese | 11 October, 2018, 23:00

Saudi Arabia officials said that he had left the building, but have not provided evidence.

Previously, the kingdom's ambassador to the United States, Prince Khalid bin Salman, said reports suggesting Khashoggi went missing in the Istanbul consulate or that Saudi Arabia had killed him "are absolutely false and baseless" and a product of "malicious leaks and grim rumors".

Vice President Mike Pence expressed fresh concern Wednesday over the case Wednesday, saying "violence against journalists should be condemned" and that the US may be prepared to send Federal Bureau of Investigation officials to help investigate the case.

Khashoggi had first left Saudi Arabia a year ago, saying he feared retribution for his criticism of Saudi policy in the Yemen war and its crackdown on dissent.

Before Khashoggi's disappearance, US intelligence intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture him, according to a person familiar with the information.

He also questioned assertions by Saudi authorities that the consulate does not have footage of Khashoggi leaving the building as the mission's security cameras only provide live footage and do not record images.

A source told the Post that prior to Khashoggi going missing, USA intelligence intercepted Saudi officials' communications, which revealed a plan to capture Khashoggi and get him to Saudi Arabia.

The fiancée of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has asked President Donald Trump to help uncover what happened to the Riyadh critic who she said had "been fighting for his principles".

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The Washington Post reports that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered an "operation" against government supporter-turned-critic Jamal Khoshoggi, which would see him lured back to the kingdom and arrested.

Khashoggi, 59, has not been seen since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

Turkish officials believe that Khashoggi was murdered inside the consulate, but USA officials observed that the way the operation was conducted looked more like a kidnapping. Politicians in the United States, Riyadh's main ally, have warned that any harm done to the Washington Post contributor will jeopardize America's relations with the world's largest oil exporter.

"I'd have to find out really before I discuss this, I'd have to find out what happened", Trump told Fox News. A senior Turkish official told the Times that they think Khashoggi was killed within two hours of entering the consulate, and that a team of Saudi agents then destroyed his body.

Khashoggi, who had been living in self-imposed exile for the past year, vanished on October 2 after he entered the consulate to obtain a document. There is no footage of Khashoggi leaving the consulate, where his Turkish fiancee was waiting for him. The Trump administration's Middle East policy, ranging from issues of Iran, Syria and Israel, has been built around the Saudi alliance despite criticism of the kingdom's abysmal human rights record and the war in Yemen.

"I think that would be hurting us", Trump said. They claimed that senior Saudi officials had approached the journalist with offers of protection - including a government job in at least one case - if he would return to his native country. I received an answer that further fueled my fears: Jamal had already left, they told me, possibly without my noticing. 'Although my hope slowly fades away each passing day, I remain confident that Jamal is still alive, ' she added.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his department called on Saudi Arabia to "support a thorough investigation. and to be transparent about the results".

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